Sports Outside the Beltway

Harness driver Yannick Gingras donates Friday earnings to Toys For Tots

The French Canadian horseman ranks #8 in North American earnings for 2008. From

A charitable pledge proved to be good luck for driver Yannick Gingras on Friday night at the Meadowlands as he landed in the winner’s circle twice after announcing he would donate his earnings for the night to the track’s annual Toys For Tots drive for the United States Marine Corps.

By the end of the 12-race card, Gingras had picked up checks in seven races and earned $1,436 for the charity. Purse money is paid out to the top five finishers in a race; harness drivers receive five percent of a horse’s earnings.

Gingras netted $600 as he piloted Go On BB to a 1:52.4 victory in the $24,000 preferred mare pace, race three, for trainer Ronnie Burke and owner Frank Baldachino of Clarksburg, N.J. He was back in the winner’s circle a race later with longshot Levitys Pride in a $14,000 conditioned trot, adding another $350 to the donation. Gingras also picked up checks in five other races with Crystal Bliss (second, $175) in the first, Rusty Again (third, $68) in the fifth, Victors Vicky (fourth, $96) in the ninth, No Money No Fun (fifth, $35) in the 11th and The Maniac (third, $78) in the 12th.

“I read on the web site earlier this week that they were having Toys for Tots Night and that you could also give money (in addition to toys),” Gingras said, “so I decided to donate my five percent earnings tonight just for the kids. I’ve been really lucky with my children. They are both healthy. We’re lucky in life, my wife and I, so I decided to give something back.”

Gingras and his wife, trainer Vicki Mosher, have a 3-year-old son, Jaiden, and 11-month-old daughter, Addison. The 29-year-old Quebec native is a third generation horsemen who now resides in Freehold, N.J. He has ranked among the Top 10 drivers since he began driving full-time at the Meadowlands in 2004. Gingras currently ranks eighth in earnings among all drivers in North America with $9.5 million through Dec. 12.

Thank you for generosity Yannick. I am sure you made some children very happy.

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