“I WANT TO LIVE comfortable,” says Hervé Filion, superman of the trots. “I think if I make six more years like I been doing I’ll be a millionaire. I’m working on it anyway.” Which is a magnificent understatement.
Filion, 28, married a year and due to become a father about now, has made more, faster than most people in the exploding harness-racing business. Last year he set out to better the North American record of 312 winner^. He whizzed around 16 major tracks in the northeast corner of the continent throughout the wearying February-to-Christmas season, often driving at one in the afternoon and at another in the evening. Once he finished racing at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at 4 p.m. and started again at 8 p.m. — 300 miles away in Boston. By early November he was the new North American champion. By Christmas he was the new world champion, having driven home 407 winners, topping the previous record of 384. In total he won more than $900,000 in purse money.
A third of this — $300,000 — was for himself, since he won it with horses he either partly or wholly owns. Of the remaining $600,000 won for other owners, he took 10 percent in driver’s fees. Result: gross earnings
from driving and owning of $360,000, of which he says about $200,000 was net income.
The next record try is for this year. “I’ll make a million in prize money maybe,” says Filion, one of a trucker’s eight boys who began harness racing in Angers, Quebec, at 13.
Much of his money is securely invested. He has also put $35,000 into a 30-acre farm at Lachute, near Montreal, which is now his home and headquarters of his Capital Hill Farms racing stable. At Lachute he keeps six broodmares and runs a 38stall barn and a full-size training track as part of the harness-horse breeding and training operation which is, says his accountant, “another good source of income.” He meets a $7,000-amonth payroll.
“You’ve got to do right with the money,” says Filion. “I have good advice. I drive to be good at it and the money just comes. Right now I don’t have time to spend it, but I’ve got ambition. I want to have a really top racehorse, a real champion like Best of All or Nevele Pride, and breed from him.”
Which means Hervé Filion will probably have to make a million: even a half-decent racehorse costs around $50,000 today.
IT’S . HERVE FILION
A hard'driving harness racer from Angers, Quebec, tops the big'inoney scorers with $360,000 a year. On the following pages: How Filion stacks up against other stars -and how they score with their winnings
Jean Beliveau: from fame on the ice to a brewery’s boardroom?
BREWERIES OFTEN hire a sports star, call him a “sales and public-relations representative” and bundle him off on tour — to open garden parties, judge beauty shows, visit stores and taverns and earn his pay by being big and grinning and glamorous and able to sign autographs.
Sixteen years ago, when he was on his way up from the Quebec Aces to the Montreal Canadiens, Jean Beliveau was signed up for $10,000 by Molson’s. He returned from his first glamour-boy tour and startled brewery officials by suggesting how they could improve their organization and sales in several regions.
He was right, too. Today he is special assistant to the president at $20,000 a year, and Molson VicePresident Zotique Lesperance says, “It is not unreasonable to suggest Jean will one day be president of our Quebec division. He knows his brewing business almost as well as he knows his hockey. He is fluently bilingual, his human relations are warm and admirable, he has great humility, his image is towering . . . well, he’s out of this world, eh?”
Soon after joining Molson’s, Beliveau also joined the Canadiens, who now pay him $50,000 a year. After a few years on the off-season beerpromotion circuit, Molson’s gave him their Quebec City distribution operation to run. He increased their share of the local market by five percent.
Now, as special presidential assistant, he even chooses his own offseason projects. Last year, for instance, he produced a survey of manpower and wages for the company, evaluated the organization’s public-relations and sales program and among other things (and a little closer to home) assessed the value of NHL hockey TV sponsorship to the company.
He is, says Lesperance, “something special.”
Soon Beliveau, now 37, may be faced with the sort of dilemma that too many professional athletes can only dream about. He may have to decide whether to become a hockey coach, or a brewery executive with an earning potential of $60,000 a year.
Either way, they won’t need to run tag days for Jean Beliveau.
Richard Grubb: a jockey comes on strong in the Toronto Property Stakes
RICHARD GRUBB is 19, shy, not long on formal education and a jockey so talented that the more lyrical sports writers say he looks complete only when on horseback.
He is also scared — appalled even
— by his estimated $110,000 income last year.
“I’ve got all my statements at home but I don’t want to add them up,” he says. “I know it’s over $100,000 last year, but I’m afraid to add up how much. It scares me.” Which is understandable in someone who only six years ago was a track urchin, hanging around the Fort Erie track near his home in Ridgeway, Ontario. Success, when it comes to a jockey, comes early, and with numbing speed.
Grubb was Canada’s top jockey with 225 wins in 1967. Last year he didn’t have as many wins, but 24 of those he did have were stakes races with purses of more than $10,000 each
— of which jockeys collect 10 percent.
In 1967 Grubb’s lawyer guided him into buying mortgages. “D’you know,” says Grubb in wonderment, “you can get as much as 14 percent on some of them.” By mid-1968 he held mort-
gages on four Toronto houses, and was contributing to a pension plan to pay him $250,000 at 65.
But mortgages, pension policies — even gilt-edged stocks — aren’t really substantial: they don’t feel or even look like money. Grubb wanted more. So he bought a triplex on Avenue Road in Toronto for $60,000 and became a landlord. “A good solid building, that,” he says, with satisfaction.
It’s hard to calculate a jockey’s net income. They pay 20 percent to agents who book mounts for them. They are expected to shell out generously to many track personnel — for instance, when they ride a big winner it is de rigueur that they reward the stable hands who prepared the winner and the valets who handled their equipment and clothes between races.
Still a little bemused by it all, Grubb says, “Income taxes, for instance — that and the fees really stagger you. The other day I got a cheque from Windfields [E. P. Taylor’s racing stable] for $4,900. I pay my agent and look after the valet and the backstretch boys, and I hope I’ve got three G’s left.”
It’s a hard life.
John Barrow: football, bowling, steakhouses...
FOR REASONS OF gentility, player politics and (presumably) the incometax man, John Barrow is guarded when talking money.
A Hamilton Tiger Cats tackle for the past 12 years, he reportedly makes about $22,000 a season. He won’t discuss his pay, however, because “it’s a lot more than other players get, and that could cause trouble on the team.”
He won’t talk about his income from outside business activities, either.
And he won’t reveal his financial ambitions (“That would be bad taste”) beyond saying that by 35, in two years, he wants to be “financially independent” with “something over $50,000 a year.” That is, $50,000 excluding football pay: he already owns, or partly owns, three businesses and if the newest, a steakhouse, is successful he may quit football this year.
When 23 he became co-owner of a now-flourishing 24-lane five-pin bowling alley. Four years ago he set up his own company which, though young in the business of sales promotion gimmickry, is a potential milliondollar business, producing promotional books and picture cards and premiums — the kind you get with the kids’ favorite Super - Duper - Nutty - SugarCrunchy Munch breakfast cereal.
The new venture is a Hamilton steakhouse. Says Barrow: “I wanted an idea that would capitalize on my 12 years in football. We did two years’ research and found the specialty-food business could produce a 20 percent return, but the problem was getting to be known. Well, we call it John Barrow’s Huddle, and I’m known so it should be all right.
“It will be a pilot for a chain throughout southern Ontario. The sign is an abstract sculpture of a football huddle. In the lobby there are sporting caricatures. In the restaurant itself are paintings of great emotional moments in sport to give the dining area a sports flavor at a very high level.
“It’s extremely hard to find the right emotional moments. It took me two months to get the first. It is a painting of Babe Ruth two months before his death, standing, in his old uniform, at a reunion at the Yankee Stadium. It is quite a lovely thing.”
To stay in Canada — and in business — Florida-born Barrow has turned down big money offers from the U.S., including a $40,000 twoyear no-cut contract from the Detroit Lions and, more recently, a threeyear, no-cut $100,000 from the San Diego Chargers.
But then $50,000 a year would make any expatriate feel at home. □
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