As Paramount Prince flew through the Woodbine stretch in his first career start, putting nine horse lengths between himself and his next closest rival, his human team was overcome with emotion. There were plenty of cheers, and some tears, as the big chestnut returned to the winner’s circle with leading apprentice jockey Slade Jones riding.
The two-year-old was the first horse bought at auction by Brampton-born Mike Langlois and his wife Charmaine, purchased through trainer Jamie Attard, a close family friend from a long line of horse trainers in Ontario. Attard was school buddies with the Langloises’ son Roger, who passed away suddenly five and a half years ago. The two school chums had often talked about getting a racehorse together.
And as emotional as the victory by Paramount Prince was for the Langlois family, including the couple’s five grandkids, the next few days would take them on a wild ride that resulted in them selling half of their prized gelding to movie producer Gary Barber.
“We were blown away when Paramount Prince won like that,” said Langlois, a financial advisor. “I don’t think we realized what he actually did until the phone started ringing two days later.”
The Langlois family met Jamie Attard’s parents, Sid Attard, a Hall of Fame horse trainer, and wife Janice, a horse owner, when Jamie and Roger were inseparable in grade school. Jamie spent so much time with Roger that he was invited to go to Hawaii with the Langloises and their three sons as a teenager.
Once high school was complete for the boys, they pursued their own interests. Attard was at Woodbine racetrack learning how to train racehorses while his friend Roger was excelling in acting, hockey and a litany of other activities.
When Attard received the news that Roger had passed away suddenly in 2017 at the age of 30, he was at the track. “My mom called to tell me. I was so shocked and saddened. I got close to the family again.”
Attard was a few years into his training career, managing a small but successful stable, and early in 2021 received a call from Mike Langlois.
“We never really thought about owning a racehorse,” said Langlois. “But I knew that Jamie was beginning his training career and I wanted to help him out. Jamie has always been like a son to me.”
Attard was given the green light to seek out a horse for the Langloises to claim at Woodbine and in August of 2021 scooped up Magic Spin from leading trainer Mark Casse for $40,000. The Langlois family fell ins love with the Twirling Candy bay gelding.
“As much as Sid Attard told us, ‘Whatever you do, don’t fall in love with your horses’, Magic Spin was wonderful,” said Langlois. “Charmaine was the worst, she loved him, and our grandkids could go right in the stall with him.”
Magic Spin had 12 starts through the fall of 2022 before he finally won his maiden, providing the Langlois family with their first win as owners. It was a thrilling moment even if the horse was winning for one-third of the price he was claimed for.
By that time, the couple already had their first yearling purchase getting broken to saddle at Paul Buttigieg’s farm in Egbert, ON.
“I had looked at a couple of yearlings for them,” said Attard. “But then breeder Ericka Rusnak came over to me and said she had just bought her yearling by Society’s Chairman back and wanted me to look at him. I saw this big, gorgeous colt, he looked like a Quarter Horse. His x-rays and scope looked good, so I called Mike and we made a deal with Ericka and bought him for $21,000.”
The Langlois family made trips to Buttigieg’s farm to watch the progress of their new horse as he learned to be a racehorse. When it came to naming the precocious youngster, the family juggled dozens of possibilities before Charmaine came up with Paramount Prince.
The Next Chapter
It took some time to get the energetic gelding to the races, but Attard, less than 10 years into his training career, was excited about the horse and wanted to take his time.
“He came to my barn at Woodbine in April,” said Attard. “He had a few workouts but then I backed off on him, he was just going through he growing process. He was in light training and then a month or so later he came back around.”
Attard liked what he saw, “He showed he had speed early on, and doing it easily. I don’t like to work my horses fast but he was fast and he was coming back to the barn like he had more.”
A few weeks after Magic Spin gave the Langlois family their first win, Paramount Prince debuted in a maiden race and was favoured at 3-to-1.
“Did I think he was going to win by nine lengths? No. It was incredible,” said Attard.
The fun was just beginning.
In a couple of days, Rusnak received a call from an agent for Barber, one of North America’s most prominent owners in racing. Barber wanted to buy the gelding but the Langloises turned him down. “It wasn’t about money,” said Langlois. “We wanted to see where this guy would take us.”
Barber was persistent, however, and offered the family a price in the range of $140,000 to purchase half of the gelding.
“Charmaine did the negotiating. We wanted to keep Jamie as trainer but Barber’s trainer is Mark Casse and Jamie encouraged us to take the deal.”
Attard was able to start the gelding once more for Langlois and Barber, in the $150,000 Clarendon Stakes, and Paramount Prince finished a good third.
Paramount Prince left Canada for Ocala, Florida where he will begin training early in 2023 for Casse, who has been Woodbine’s perennial leading trainer.
“I had a talk with my grandkids,” said Langlois. “At first they were a bit upset. They love the horse. Logan, who is eight, is the most excited. He gets the program as soon as we get to the track and likes betting french fries with the others on the races. Jessica has a stuffed horse she has named Paramount Prince, and Nathan, Lauren and Lila love him, too.
“I told them that Prince could be a special horse and he deserved to try big races.”
Langlois and Attard will get regular updates on Paramount Prince as he gets ready for his three-year-old campaign, a journey that could lead him to the August 20th King’s Plate at Woodbine.
“This has been a wonderful experience for us,” said Langlois. “We are still learning about racing as we go along and like other new owners, you have to go into the sport not expecting to win big money.
“But when I see what we have got out of horse racing so far, the experience and memories have been invaluable. Just to see the reaction of friends and family and my grandkids when we go to the races has been worth every penny.”