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Herve Filion dies; harness racing legend was 77

Herve Filion, above in 2002, takes part in

Herve Filion, above in 2002, takes part in a harness race at Harrington Raceway in Harrington, Del. The Hall of Famer from Quebec moved to the United States in 1961, winning his first title in 1968. Photo Credit: AP / PAT CROWE II

Herve Filion, the Hall of Fame harness racing driver who retired in 2012 with a then-North American record of 15,179 victories, died Thursday. He was 77.

“God saw you getting tired and a cure not meant to be,” Filion’s family said on Facebook. “So he put his arms around you and whispered ‘come to me.’ Our dad, Herve Filion, crossed the finish line like the champion he is and became our angel today.”

Born in Angers, Quebec, Filion, came to the United States in 1961 and was the North American victory leader 16 times, earning his first title in 1968 and last in 1990. He had career earnings of $88.4 million.

Filion was inducted into harness racing’s U.S. Hall of Fame in 1975 and Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame a year later. His top horses included Grades Singing, the 1986 Maple Leaf Trot, American Trotting Championship and Breeders Crown Mare Trot winner. He won the Little Brown Jug with Nansemond in 1971 and Hot Hitter in 1979, and had multiple stakes victories with Dorunrun Bluegrass.

New York Sports