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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

JEAN-LOUIS LEVESQUE

Inducted in 1986

Member Details

Date of Birth: April 13, 1911
Place of Birth: Nouvelle, Quebec
Date of Passing: December 28, 1994
Sport: Horse Racing
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1970

Sovereign Award, Jockey Club of Canada - Horse of the Year (Fanfreluche)

1972

Sovereign Award, Jockey Club of Canada - Horse of the Year (La Prevoyante)

1974

Sovereign Award, Jockey Club of Canada - Horse of the Year (L’Enjoleur)

1975

Queen’s Plate winner (L'Enjoleur)

Sovereign Award, Jockey Club of Canada - Horse of the Year (L'Enjoleur)

1977

Sovereign Award, Jockey Club of Canada - Horse of the Year (L'Alezane)

1982

Sovereign Award, Jockey Club of Canada - Man of the Year

Honoured Member JEAN-LOUIS LEVESQUE
Inspire

Story

Jean-Louis Levesque had a talent for hard work, knowing the odds, and making winners out of longshots - and that's even before he became a prominent owner and breeder of thoroughbred horses. In less than 20 years, he built one of Canada's most successful stables, winning the Queen's Plate and five Canadian horse-of-the-year awards. Growing up in Gaspe, Levesque went to school in Prince Edward Island and Laval, Quebec. He began his career with a job in a bank before moving into sales at a brokerage firm. Soon he was buying and selling small companies, often merging them into larger ones. Before his professional career was finished, Levesque had become one of French-Canada's most accomplished businessmen and merged his securities firm with another to form Levesque, Beaubien Inc., which was the largest francophone brokerage in Canada. Such success allowed him to pursue his passion for horse racing. In 1958, Levesque's holding company, Transcanada Funds, bought Blue Bonnets Raceway in Montreal for $4.5 million. At the time, Blue Bonnets featured only harness racing, but Levesque re-introduced thoroughbred racing to Montreal—eventually purchasing Richelieu Raceway near Montreal and Windsor, Ontario's Windsor Racetrack—and began his quest to produce champion thoroughbred horses. Levesque's success as a breeder began in 1962 when he bought the filly Ciboulette. She won four stakes races and was mated with Northern Dancer to produce Fanfreluche, named Canadian Horse of the Year in 1970. Fanfreluche was the dam of Levesque's most successful thoroughbred, L'Enjoleur. Despite his many successes, victory at the Queen's Plate, North America's oldest race, eluded Levesque. Between 1963 and 1972, his horses achieved one fifth, one fourth, one third, and three second-place finishes. It wasn't until 1975 that L'Enjoleur finally captured the elusive prize for Levesque. His other successful horses included the filly La Prevoyante, who won all 12 of her starts in 1972, ten of them stakes races, earning $417,109. In 1973, Levesque was one of the founding members of The Jockey Club of Canada and in 1976 he was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Besides horse racing, Levesque was a supporter of women's golf in Canada and dedicated himself to a variety of philanthropic causes, primarily health care and education. For all of his contributions, he was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1977.


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