Louis-Philippe Roy would love to make a ‘Fashion’ statement on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
When the field of 11 top-rank standouts line up behind the starter car for the $810,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot Final just past 10:00 p.m., Roy will find himself in rein to a multiple stakes winner and Canadian champion, a horse that he knows inside and out.
Winning the heavyweight tilt with Richard Moreau trainee Fashion Frenzie, he admitted, would certainly be fitting.
“He is a very talented horse and has so many good qualities,” started Roy, of the 5-1 fourth choice in the morning line. “I’ve driven him a lot and he’s become smarter and better as he’s gotten older. He’s just one of the horses you just love to partner with.”
A double Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final champion – he won his division’s Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final in both years of eligibility at two and three – Fashion Frenzie has designed an outstanding career for Quebec-based Ecurie Francis Richard, Pierre Guillemette, and Sylvain Richard, who co-own with Mario Bourgea of Stanbridge East.
The son of Archangel-Striking Fashion is 18-for-27 lifetime and is less than $55,000 away from joining the millionaire ranks. The four-year-old is a two-time Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final champion, an O'Brien Award winner in 2021, and victor in the 2022 Earl Rowe Memorial Trot.
Not bad for a $7,000 purchase at the 2019 London Select Sale.
Now, the horse with the modest price tag will test his mettle against some of the sport’s top trotters on Saturday night, a group that includes 5-2 morning line choice Ecurie D, fellow millionaire Jujubee, Maple Leaf Trot winner and $1.5 million earner Back of the Neck, and multiple stakes winner Forbidden Treasure, who has over $2.3 million in earnings.
Although the competition is steep, Roy has unwavering faith in the brown gelding bred by John Petrik of Moorefield, Ontario, who sports a 7-0-0 mark from eight starts this season.
“He definitely belongs, and I couldn’t be happier for the ownership group,” said the driver closing in on 2,100 lifetime wins. “This is the type of race you always dreamt about being in, and I can’t wait to get out there.”
While he hasn’t seen it up close himself, Roy has heard the stories about Fashion Frenzie’s tough-as-nails personality.
“When Francis and the group bought him, there was a sign outside of the stall at the sale that read something like, ‘Be careful!’ I don’t know what he’s like at the barn, but he’s definitely up for the challenge when he’s on the racetrack. He’s got that competitive edge you like to see in a horse.”
A horse that doesn’t need to be on the lead to be dangerous.
While he’s no stranger to trotting on the front end, Fashion Frenzie can bring his A-game regardless of where he finds himself.
“That’s another great thing about him,” praised Roy. “He likes to pass horses, to battle with them, so you know that you are going to get all his best no matter what unfolds.”
Fashion Frenzie arrives at his latest engagement in top condition.
“I would say he’s at 100 percent,” offered Roy. “He’s definitely ready to go.”
So too is the man who will sit in the race bike.
Life, on and off the racetrack, is indeed good these days for the native of Mont-Joli, a town of just over 6,600 people located about 350 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
Roy, in search of his first Breeders Crown triumph, recently became a first-time father, welcoming a son, Simon.
“It’s a great feeling to be a dad,” he said. “He’s doing really well, and we couldn’t be happier.”
While Roy had to whisper on the call while his son slept nearby, he’d undoubtedly have a far different tone if he were to notch a Breeders Crown triumph with Fashion Frenzie.
“That would be amazing,” said Roy. “The closer the race gets, the more excited you get. I can’t wait to get out there with him.”
A horse who is undeniably well-suited for success on the biggest stage.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms