An Orillia racehorse owner is on the brink of galloping into the history books.
Mike Langlois is the proud owner of Paramount Prince, who has qualified for the prestigious King’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on Aug. 20.
Langlois, 65, admits that he wasn’t really into horse racing until one of his three sons, Roger, passed away six years ago at 30 years old.
“When Roger was a child, his best friend Jamie (Attard) was always at our house, he travelled with us, and they spent a lot of time together,” he explained. “They were like brothers.”
Attard’s father, Sid Attard, is a Canadian Hall of Fame trainer; young Jamie always talked about wanting to follow in his father's footsteps.
“When they went to high school they went their own separate ways,” Langlois explained. “When Roger died in 2017, we reconnected with Jamie at the funeral, and it was nice because it made me feel close to my late son again.”
At the funeral Langlois learned that Attard had started his own training business, so he and his wife decided to purchase a horse to work with him and help in his business.
At the CTHS Yearling Sale at Woodbine, nobody met the minimum bid for Paramount Prince. The breeder approached Attard to see if he had any owners interested in buying a “great horse.”
“We ended up buying the horse for $21,000, which is not a lot,” Langlois explained. “When he finally got ready in November of 2022, Jamie was like 'Mike, I don’t want to get your hopes up, but he’s pretty good.'”
Paramount Prince destroyed the field by nine lengths in his first race at Woodbine in November of 2022. The next day, Langlois received a phone call from an agent in the U.S. whose client wanted to offer him a “significant amount of money” to purchase Paramount Prince.
“It was an awful lot of money,” Langlois said. “We said no because we got the horse to help Jamie in his business.”
Langlois, a Brampton native, received a call back the following day from the agent who said his client wanted to make another offer of $140,000 for just a 50 per cent stake in the horse. The client would have the horse trained by one of the top trainers in North America, Marc Casse.
“We felt that changing trainers was a deal breaker for us because we started this venture to help Jamie,” Langlois explained. “After talking with Jamie, he convinced us that this was a good deal for us and a great opportunity for Paramount Prince.”
One of the biggest benefits was working with an award-winning trainer, and Paramount Prince would be able to train in Florida for the winter.
Langlois agreed to the deal with his new partner, Gary Barber, a world-famous film producer and co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment.
Paramount Prince finished second at Woodbine’s Optional Claiming race in April, and second again at the Queenston Stakes in June. At the Plate Trial Stakes in July, Paramount Prince finished first by five lengths.
“All of a sudden he’s one of the favourites for the King’s Plate,” Langlois said of Canada's oldest and most prestigious thoroughbred race. “It’s amazing that with only one horse we have managed to not only qualify for the King’s Plate but possibly have a shot to win.”
Langlois knows he’s caught “lightning in a bottle” with Paramount Prince.
“I see how much fun my family has had going to watch him run,” he said. “With a new trainer, a rookie jockey, we went into our first race and won by nine lengths. It’s unheard of.”
Every time Paramount Prince races, Langlois asks himself if the dream is about to be over and if it could be the end of the ride.
“It never has been yet,” he told OrilliaMatters. “If he wins the King’s Plate, then you’ll have a story.”
Langlois has had around 50 friends and family members purchase tickets to the King’s Plate to be a part of the journey.
“You don’t get into the horse business for money because it’s expensive,” he said. “The fun that my grandkids and friends have had with this has been worth every penny.”
In the five races Paramount Prince has competed in, he has never finished out of the money with two wins, two-second place finishes, and one-third. currently ninth in Canada in total winnings and is the fourth-ranked horse going into the King’s Plate.