Lucien Laurin was born March 18, 1912 in Joliette, Quebec, Canada, and began his career with Thoroughbreds as a jockey in 1929 at Blue Bonnets Raceway in Montreal. He won 161 races as a rider, including the 1935 King’s Plate aboard Sir Michael.
Laurin turned to training when making weight became too difficult to sustain his career as a jockey. He sent out his first stakes winner in 1945, and two years later his career took off when he claimed a Count Fleet Mare for owner Reginald Webster. The mare, Quick Touch, produced Quill, the 1958 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly, as well as three other stakes winners, all of which were conditioned by Laurin.
In 1966, Laurin saddled his first classic winner when Amberoid won the Belmont Stakes for Webster. Three years later, Laurin sent out Claiborne Farm’s talented colt Dike to win the Wood Memorial and run third in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont.
Laurin found his greatest success with Meadow Stable. In 1971, he sent out future Hall of Famer Riva Ridge, the Champion-2-Year-Old Colt. The next year, Riva Ridge won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes en route to Champion 3-Year-Old Colt honors. Laurin won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 1972.
Also in 1972, Laurin began training the great Secretariat. At 2, Secretariat won the Sanford Stakes, Hopeful Stakes, Futurity Stakes, Laurel Futurity, and Garden State Futurity en route to Champion 2-Year-Old Colt honors. The next year, he was named Horse of the Year as he became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. Secretariat set track records in winning both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, the latter of which he dominated the field by 31 lengths.
Along with his six victories in classic races, Laurin won the Matron Stakes, Acorn Stakes, Mother Goose Stakes, Delaware Handicap, Saratoga Special, Hopeful Stakes (2), Wood Memorial Stakes (4), Carter Handicap, Gotham Stakes (2), Belmont Futurity (2), Laurel Futurity (2), Blue Grass Stakes, Florida Derby, Hollywood Derby, Sanford Stakes, Man o’ War Stakes, Brooklyn Handicap, and Canadian International Stakes, among others.
Laurin stepped away from training in 1976 but returned in 1983 as trainer and part owner of Evergreen Stable. In all, he trained a total of 36 stakes winners.
Lucien Laurin was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1977 and was enshrined in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame the following year.
Laurin with Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge
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