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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

HERVÉ FILION

Inducted in 1969

Member Details

Date of Birth: February 1, 1940
Place of Birth: Angers, Quebec
Date of Passing: June 22, 2017
Sport: Horse Racing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1968-2003

Won 15,017 races and more than $86 million in prize money

1968

First driver to win more than 400 races in a single season with 407 victories

1970

Won World Championship

In a single day, drove five winners at Brandywine Raceway

1971

Lou Marsh Trophy

Officer, Order of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

1989

Career high of 814 wins in a single season

Honoured Member HERVÉ FILION
Inspire

Story

Herve Filion was Canada's most prolific and inexhaustible harness racer. Between 1968 and 2003, he was victorious in 15,017 races and claimed more than $86 million in prize money. While most young French-Canadian boys grew up on the hockey rink, Filion spent much of his childhood in his father's stables. Harness racing soon became an all-consuming passion for the young Filion, who turned professional while still a teenager. In 1968, Filion became the first driver in the world to win more than 400 races in a single season. He surpassed this mark in 1972 with 605 wins, and again in 1974 with 637 victories. In 1988, he raised the bar to 798, only to break it once more in 1989 with 814 victories, a record which stood until 1992. Filion's scores of victories were due not only to his exceptional skills as a driver but also to the sheer number of races in which he was able to compete. In the early 1970s, he bought a helicopter to fly between racing tracks throughout the New York City area, then upgraded to a private jet in order to take in races in southern Canada as well. With this greatly reduced travel time, Filion was able to compete in an average of eight races a day in 1974. At one point, he won eleven races in a single day. For this reason, Filion was deservedly dubbed the "Iron Man" of harness racing. When not race-hopping, Filion kept up his winning record by claiming multiple victories at a single track. He drove five winners, each in less than two minutes, in a single day at the Brandywine Raceway in 1970, and eight winners in one day at Hinsdale in 1978. Filion's record also includes 110 wins in major stakes races. He twice won the Little Brown Jug, the Cane Pace, and the Breeders Crown. In 1970, Filion was crowned World Champion, and in 1971 he was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete of the year. Filion approached his sport with boundless energy and extreme devotion. He was still winning races well into his fifties and sixties. Among many honours, Filion received ten Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year awards and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1971.


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