Day At The Track

December 22, 2018 - Saturday harness racing V75 action in Sweden was at Mantorptravet with the STL Gold (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) going to 1.6/1 Lionel (8m Look de Star-Aurora Sign-Smok’n Lantern), timed in 1.13.5kr and driven by his owner Goran Antonsen for trainer Daniel Reden. Lionel, by a good FR sire (and a son of Coktail Jet foaled in 1999) and bred in Norway, now has recorded 24 wins in 72 career starts for 16,143,083SEK earned. He has four wins in 14 starts during 2018. He won an elimination to the 2018 Elitloppet timed in 1.09.7kr and then finished fifth in the final. 1 2/1 Whitehouse Express (7m Yankee Glide-Miss Garland-Garland Lobell) was second this day for driver Orjan Kihlstrom and 2.9/1 On Track Piraten (10g Kool du Caux) was third for Oskar J. Andersson. Thomas H. Hicks  

December 22, 2018 - Today at Paris Vincennes featured three harness racing Groupe contests and a host of other competitive races. The Prix de Luynes (purse 58,000€, 2700 meters, 15 four-year old male starters) opened the Paris-Vincennes action this day and 4/1 Eden de Banville (4m Look de Star-Oh Manon) scored for David Thomain timed in 1.13.8kr. J.P. Thomain trains and Ecurie de Haras d’Erable owns the winner. 7.3/1 Epson d’Ariane (4m Uppercut du Rib) was second with Jean Michel Bazire driving and 7.1/1 Etailo d’Eam (4m Coktail Jet) took the third check for driver Gabriele Gelormini. Perhaps the most interesting groupe race of the day was the Gr. II Prix Une de Mai (purse 120,000€, 2175 meters, 11 starters two-year olds) with the upset score earned by 15/1 odds Greenpeace (2f Memphis du Rib-Quelle Aventure) timed in 1.14.2kr. Matthieu Abrivard was the pilot for trainer Yves Boireau, owner Jean Pierre Dubois and breeder Ecurie D. This filly recorded her third career win in six starts, now for 76,690€ earned.  The 9/10 favorite Girls Talk (2f Brillantissime-Be My Girl) was second for Eric Raffin and trainer Philippe Allaire, this filly having won four of her first five outings before today. 29/1 Gemme de Buiset (2f Brillantissime) was third with David Thomain up for trainer Allaire. The well-regarded 4.7/1 Green Grass was a dq. Top flight monte trotteurs faced the start in the Gr. II Prix Jules Lemonnier (purse 120,000€, 2175 meters, nine starters) and three were on the line together timed in 1.11kr when the leading 5/10 favorite Arlington Dream was off-stride late stretch. Thus, 8/1 Virgious du Maza (9g Prodigious-Pocket Edition) prevailed for jockey Damien Bonne to record his 18th career win in 72 starts for 795,995€ earned. Sebastien Ernault trains this one for breeder/owner Ecurie du Maza. Place second from the dq of 10/1 Une Serenade was 4.4/1 Dexter Fromentro (5m Qwerty) with Camille Levesque in the irons for training brother Thomas and owner father Pierre. 21/1 Alpha Saltor was placed third. The day’s Quinte+ was the Prix Constant Horvieu (Gr. II, purse 105,000€, 2700 meters, 14 starters) and the impressive, well-rated winner was 1.8/1 favorite Coach Franbleu (6g Prince d’Espace-Olydra) reined by Jean-Michel Bazire for trainer/owner Franck Leblanc. Coach now has 11 career wins in 47 starts for 433,770€, with this 1.14.3kr timed score. 22/1 Dragon des Racques (5m Love You) gained second for Alexandre Abrivard, ahead of 45/1 Clack Sotho (6g Oiseau de Feux) and driver Guillaume Martin. The next two home in the exact order five, that paid 8,856.20€ for the 2€ wager, were fourth finishing and 11/1 Captain Sparrow (6m Ready Cash) and the fifth finishing 16/1 Cocktail Julino (6g Pagalor). The Prix de Strasbourg (purse 88,000€, 2700 meters, 15 starters) completed the upper level action today with 2.4/1 second choice Vertige de Chenu (9g Lynx de Bellouet) scoring timed in 1.13.2kr with Eric Raffin driving for owner/trainer J-M Baudouin. This one scored for the 18th time in an active career and increased his earnings to 442,980€. 3.1/1 Abydos du Vivier (8g Diamant Gede) was second for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire. Third in a battle for several checks was 2.1/1 favorite Alama du Goutier (8g Quido du Goutier) with Vincent Hebert the owner/trainer/driver. Thomas H. Hicks

December 21, 2018 - Today’s monte Gr. III Prix Sans Dire Oui (purse 105,000€, 2850 meters, seven European starters) went to the game 5/2 second wagering choice Mindyourvalue WF (5g Hovding Lavec-Mind Your Manners) at Vincennes with harness racing Eric Raffin in the irons for owner Christer Englund and trainer Robert Bergh. The winner was timed in 1.14kr and recorded his seventh win in nine starts in France to raise his career earnings to 439,983€. 2/5 favorite Clegs des Champs (6g Legs du Clos-Proserpine) was second with David Thomain up for trainer Thierry Raffegeau and owner J-Y Roze. A distant third was the 29/1 outsider Clara du Ponseuil (6f Mich Phili-Osaka d’Occagnes) with P-Y Verva the jockey. The day’s Quinte+ race was on the card in the Prix d’Amboise (purse 55,000€, 2700 meters, 18 European starters). Longshots prevailed with victory to the 10/1 Contree d’Erable (6f Prince Gede-Soiree d’Erable) driven by David Thomain for trainer Jean Pierre Thomain and owner Ecurie du Haras d’Erable. The victory was the 13th in the career of the winner, now with 227,130€ earned. 61/1 Coumba Kuky (6f Matador de Vrie) was second for trainer/driver Gabriel Angel Pou Pou, and third was 27/1 Tooltime (8f Carmody Lobell) with trainer Bjorn Goop up. 13/1 Costa Haufor and 19/1 Croix du Buisson completed the top five and paved the way for an exact order payoff of 352,674.40€ payoff for the 2€ wager. Race time was a good 1.13kr. The Prix de Pierrefonds (purse 58,000€, 2700 meters, 14 starters all four-year old mares) saw 3.4/1 odds Etonne de Carsi (4f Okapi de Fad-Ophelie du Pommeau) score with Anthony Barrier driving for trainer Franck Leblanc. This mare recorded her fifth career win in 18 starts, now for 111,140€ earned. 7/2 odds Erolina (4f Prodigious) was second with Eric Raffin piloting for breeder/owner/trainer Alphonse Vanberghen. The 3.1/1 Exciting Lady (4f Sam Bourbon) was third for owner/trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire. Action on the weekend at Vincennes features the Criterium Continental and Prix Tenor de Baune, with those winners receiving an invitation to the Prix d’Amerique 2019. Thomas H. Hicks  

December 21, 2018 - Gotland (2m Ready Cash-Sanawa) remained unbeaten in five starts winning today’s Gr. II Prix Emmanuel Margouty (purse 120,000€, 2175 meters, eight starters all two-year old colts) at Vincennes clocked in 1.14.9kr and with harness racing driver Eric Raffin up. This 7/10 favorite is owned and trained by Philippe Allaire and was bred by J-P Guay. He now has earnings of 161,100€. 5.8/1 General du Parc (2m Lajacque l’Houlbec-Amazone du Parc) was a gaining second for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Frederic Pratt. The race winner’s stablemates followed, with third to 4.9/1 Gatsby Perrine (2m Bird Parker-Unabella Perrine) with Anthony Barrier up for trainer Allaire and breeder/owner J-F Mary; and fourth to 8.8/1 Get Happy (2m Bird Parker-Rasta Perrine) that J.Ph. Monclin reined for Allaire and owner Elisabeth Allaire. J-F Mary bred this one as well. Thomas H. Hicks

December 18, 2018 - Harness racing two-year-olds contested the Prix des Iris (purse 35,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 15 starters) on Tuesday at Vincennes with victory to 14/1 Granaggiolo (2m Timoko-Manille du Lec) with Alexis Prat aboard for his second career win in four outings. Race time was 1.15.6kr for the Frederic Prat trainee that Ecueie du Liamore owns. Even-money favorite Giant Cash (2m Ready Cash-Richyly) was second for J.Ph. Monclin and trainer Philippe Allaire, with 148/1 outsider Gregorio (2m Quarlos) taking the third check. The Prix de la Tremblade (purse 65,000€, 2850 meters, 18 starters) saw 2.9/1 Archbald (8g Meaulnes du Corta) score impressively timed in 1.13.8kr with trainer Thomas Levesque driving. Pierre Levesque owns and bred this now 11 time career winner in 61 starts. 27/1 Vixel (9g Quido du Goutier) was second for Franck Ouvrie and 46/1 Orlando Beji (10g Orlando Vici) held third. Later in the program 6/1 Julio de Luxe (9g Juliano Star) took the Prix Pierre Giffard (purse 82,000€, 2850 meters, 15 European starters –monte) timed in 1.13.7kr. Alexandre Abrivard was in the irons for trainer Bjorn Goop and BS Stables AB. 3.3/1 Ange de Lube (8g Laetenter Diem) was second for owner/trainer/jockey Matthieu Abrivard and 7.5/1 Banjo del a Noemie (7g Flambeau des Pins) was with Anthony Barrier up. Stallion Coktail Jet has passed On a sad note the great racehorse and stallion Coktail Jet has passed. The 1990 son of Quouky Williams-Armbro Glamour-Super Bowl was the result of one of those few occasions when the FR stud book admitted Franco-American matings and this one help re-charge the FR bloodstock. Coktail Jet won 24 times in 62 starts for 1,896,774€ earned, taking a 1.11.2kr speed mark for trainer/driver Jean Etienne Dubois and owner Daniel Wildenstein. Coktail Jet has a sensational 1996 winning the Prix d’Amerique. Prix de France and the Elitloppet Final with a stirring stretch burst. As a sire he led the FR production for seven years, was widely used throughout Europe and left the sport with his successor Love You (a 1999 foal) along with The Best Madrik and Naglo. His racing accomplishments, pedigree and sire stats follow along with several memorable videos. Coktail Jet will appear on pedigree pages for years to come through his 1,801 FR foals so far and nearly 1,200 in other countries. Coktail Jet on the track - At 4, Winner of Gran Premio d'Europa, second in Prix de Sélection, third in Prix René Ballière. At 5, Winner of Criterium de Vitesse de Basse Normandie, Criterium des 5 ans, Prix René Ballière, Prix Jockey, Prix de Washington, Prix de l'Etoile, second in Criterium de Vitesse de la Côte d'Azur, Prix du Plateau de Gravelle, Prix du Bois de Vincennes, Prix de la Marne, third in Prix du Luxembourg, Prix de Bourgogne, Prix Chambon P. At 6, Winner of Prix de l'Atlantique, Prix de Washington, Prix d'Europe (Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère), Prix de France, Prix d'Amerique, Elitloppet, second in Prix des Ducs de Normandie, Prix d'Eté, Prix de Bourgogne. Coktail Jet Quouky Williams (FR) 1982 Fakir du Vivier (FR) (89 0,96) 1971 At 3, Winner of Criterium des 3 ans. At 4, Winner of Criterium des 4 ans, Prix de Sélection, Gran Premio d'Europa. At 5, Winner of Prix de Sélection, third in Prix du Bourbonnais. At 7, second in Preis der Besten, Prix d'Amerique, third in Prix de France, Gran Premio Della Lotteria. At 8, third in Prix d'Amerique. Sabi Pas (FR) Carioca II (FR) Mousko Williams (FR)   Quovaria (FR)   Infante II (FR) Hernani III (FR)   Sa Bourbonnaise (FR)   Ua Uka (FR) Kerjacques (FR) Quinio (FR)   Arlette III (FR)   Flicka (FR) Ibarra (FR)   Va Sylva (FR)   Dolly Williams (FR) 1969 At 3, third in Criterium des Jeunes. Pacha Grandchamp (FR) Fandango (FR) Loudeac (FR)   Tombelaine (FR)   Atalante de Grand. (FR) Mistral (FR)   Naive Etoile (FR)   Quassia Williams (FR) Ogaden (FR) The Great McKinney (US)   Uranie (FR)   Tanagra (FR) Sam Williams (US)   Ernee (FR)   Armbro Glamour (CA) (92 0,75) 1985 Super Bowl (US) (93 0,99) 1969 At 2, Winner of International Stallion Stake, Walnut Hall Cup. At 3, Winner of American-National, Colonial Trot, Hambletonian, Horseman Futurity, Kentucky Futurity, Review Stakes, Yonkers Trot. Star's Pride (US) Worthy Boy (US) Volomite (US)   Warwell Worthy (US)   Stardrift (US) Mr McElwyn (US)   Dillcisco (US)   Pillow Talk (US) Rodney (US) Spencer Scott (US)   Earls Princ.Martha (US)   Bewitch (US) Volomite (US)   Bexley (US)   Speedy Sug (US) 1979 Speedy Count (US) Speedster (US) Rodney (US)   Mimi Hanover (US)   Countess Song (US) Victory Song (US)   The Viscountess (US)   Sug (US) Hickory Smoke (US) Titan Hanover (US)   Misty Hanover (US)   Cassin Hanover (US) Hoot Mon (US)       Replays: Elitloppet 1996 Final https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP_Y615RE0U Prix d’Amerique 1996 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQfUBGTBBV8 Interview w Jean Etienne Dubois https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_Jftk7w9aU Prix de France 1996 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3fUg7NHs4k   Thomas H. Hicks

December 16, 2018 - The Prix de Briare (purse 55,000€, 2700 meters, 15 European starters) kept the winning streak going for 1.1/1 favorite Valokaja Hindo (7m Great Challenger-Jindo Enghave) and harness racing trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire. Eirik Djuve (Norway) owns the winner now of five straight in seven starts in France. His career earnings increased to 231,504€. Race time was 1.13.9kr. 14/1 Casting de Chenu (6m Baccarat du Pont) was second for Tony Le Beller and trainer/owner J-M Baudouin. The Prix de Cancale (purse 48,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) saw the excellent performance of Florence Bourbon (3f Ready Cash-Urgentissime-Coktail Jet-Ivre de Victoire) continue. Off at 3.7/1 Bjorn Goop piloted the winner for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Ecurie du Haras de Saint Martin. Race time was 1.15.5kr for the nose winner that now has five career wins in six starts, for 77,260€ earned. 6.4/1 Feen du Goutier (3f Un Mec d’Heripre-Queen Bourbon-Love You-Urika Speed) was an almost dead-heat second with Yoann Lebourgeois up for trainer Guarato and Ecurie Saint Martin. Fairy White (3f Ouragon de Celland) was third for Anthony Barrier. Monte specialists battled in the Prix de Limeil (purse 70,000€, 2850 meters, eight European starters) with 6.8/1 Crepe de Satin (6f Le Retour-Ina d’Avril) prevailing for jockey Mlle. Mathilde Collet and trainer Bruno Marie. Race time was 1.15.2kr. The 2/5 favorite Carla du Chatelets (6f Jag de Bellouet) held second for Mlle. Oceane Briand and third was 8.1/1 Brainstorm (7m Polerol de Laumac) with Matthieu Abrivard in the irons. At Milano le Maura (Italy) was the Palio dei Proprietari (purse 36,300€, 2700 meters, 12 starters) with the 1.16.5kr timed victory to Tornado del Vento (6m Light Kronos-Gara del Vento-Toss Out) reined by Giuseppe de Filippis. Seleniost (7m Varenne-LeFirst-Indro Park) was second ahead of Umberto Axe (5m Love You-La Furiosa Spin-Angus Hall). Well regarded Severino raced at or near the front early before fading badly. Thomas H. Hicks  

December 16, 2018 - The sensational Face Time Bourbon (3m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon-Love You) easily won today’s harness racing Gr. I Criterium des 3Ans at Paris-Vincennes (purse 240,000€, 2700 meters, 15 starters). Bjorn Goop was the pilot of this Sebastien Guarato trainee that is owned by Scuderia Bivans Srl and was bred by SARL Haras Saint Martin. Race time was 1.14.4kr off relaxed fractions (a quick last 500 after the 500 to go time of 1.15.2kr). Face Time Bourbon now has nine wins in 10 career starts, the last six in a row, now good for 317,150€ earned. The lightly rigged, unchecked colt, off today as the 2/5 favorite, appears to be on route to a superb career with his superb gait and manners. 32/1 Favorite Fligny (3f Rockefeller Center-Africa Fligny) was second driven by Sylvain Deudonne for trainer Gregory Thorel and Ecurie le Pinsonniere. Third was 51/1 Fanina des Racques (3f Ready Cash) with Franck Nivard up, and ahead of 75/1 Fakir du Lorault (3m Vaillant Cash) and 66/1 Fighter Smart (3m Uniclove). The well-regarded Fly With Us and Faithful were dq’s. The undercard’s top race was the Gr. III Prix Jean Dumouch (purse 115,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap, 11 European starters) with victory to the rallying 29/1 Balbir (7g Ganymede-Manzir) that was reined by trainer Mickael Cormy for Ecurie du Vieux Chene. Race time was 1.14kr. The winning Balbir took his second straight victory and the 27th in his career, good now for 605,290 earned. The 48/1 Bolide Jenilou (7g Kesaco Phedo) was second for Anthony Barrier and trainer Gregory Thorel. The 2/1 favorite Carabinieri (7m Wellino Boko) was third for Franck Nivard and fourth was 13/1 Valko Jenilat (9m Kepler) with Eric Raffin up and this one faced a 25 meter handicap. Thomas H. Hicks

December 15, 2018 - Saturday’s snowy Kincsem Park trots featured the Ketevcsek Versenye for harness racing two year olds (800,000Huf purse, 1960 meters distance handicap). The 40 meter handicapped and even-money favorite did not disappoint as Ann Bella M (2f Cigar Dan-Malhana Serey-Malhana Sascha) scored for trainer/driver Branislav Mukity timed in 1.26.6kr. This filly now has four wins and two placings in six career starts. Stablemate Atomantic M (2m Cigar Dan-Step By Step-Allison Hollow) was second at 4.6/1 with Sandor Varga teaming for trainer Mukity. 16/1 Alom Szepe (2f Calypso Capar) took third for Andrea Nagyvary. The co-featured Mikulasgyar DIJ (800,000Huf purse, 1800 meters repulostart – no starting gate). The 1.19.8kr timed winner was 30.6/1 Rocky HR (6m Roc de Montfort-Times-SJs Photo) with Andrea Fazekas driving for trainer Balazs Juhasz. This consistent campaigner earned his seventh win in 17 starts this year, plus seven placings. 5.1/1 Villeneuve (4m Pilgrims Taj) and 7.6/1 Under World (5g Racino) trailed the winner. Thomas H. Hicks

December 15, 2018 - The Saturday V75 Gold was at Aby Sweden in the Legolas Minne (200,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) and victory went to 1.10.6kr timed and 1.3/1 odds Nadal Broline (8g Yankee Glide-Aimee’s Promise-American Winner) with harness racing driver Erik Adielsson up for trainer Reijo Liljendahl. 12.2/1 Torno di Azzurra (6m Love You) was second driven by Peter Ingves for trainer Steen Juul. Third was 15/1 Art On Line (11g Rite On Line-Lass Fleur-Backstreet Guy) handled by Bjorn Goop for Mikko Aho. Probo OP was fourth for Wim Paal. On the undercard, the Belgium invaders Rick Ebbinge (driver) and Jeroen W.M. Engwerda (trainer) were successful with two victories, the first with Velten Versailles (3m Prodigious-Sugar-Pine Chip), his fifth consecutive victory, and then in the V75 Bronze with Tuxedo Bi (6g Love You-Iberia Bi-Supergill), also his fifth win in a row. Thomas H. Hicks  

December 15, 2018 - Today’s Paris-Vincennes harness racing action began with the Prix Jules Lepennetier (purse 60,000€, 2850 meters, four year olds) named after the legendary trainer/driver of multiple classic winner General du Pommeau. Lepennetier recorded 1241 victories (1153 in the sulky and 88 monte) as a pilot. The race honoring him went to 9/2 odds Estebane Sacha (4f Gazouillis) reined by trainer Franck Anne to her sixth career victory in 20 outings for 142,940€ earned. 108/1 East Island (4f Very Pleasant-Queen Along) was second for Pierre Vercruysse and trainer Ron Kuiper. 12/1 Etonique (4f Sam Bourbon) was third in the blanket finish for David Thomain, ahead of even-money favorite Elena Princesse and 52/1 Electra Wind. The Quinte + Prix Michel Thoury (purse 80,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 15 European starters) began a J-M Bazire winning streak this day as he scored with even-money favorite and his trainee Abydos du Vivier (8g Diamant Gede-Osmie du Vivier) clocked in 1.11.2kr. Bred by Jean Yves Lucuyer and owner by Mme. Cl. Minier, the winner now has posted 14 career victories in 60 starts and has earned 378,030€. 6/1 Lover Face (10g Love You) was second for Franck Nivard and third went to 6/1 Titty Jepson (6f Varenne) with Alexandre Abrivard up. 27/1 Ustang Ludois and 29/1 Best du Hardy completed the top five. The Quinte+ 2€ ticket paid 1,001,283.60€ that included a million euro jackpot. The Prix Oscar Collard (purse 95,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 15European starters) went to even-money favorite Dorgos de Guez (5g Romcok de Guez-Lady Fromentro) with trainer Jean Michel Bazire up for owner/breeder Ecurie Vautors. Dorgos won for the 14th time in 33 career starts now for 318,050€ earned. Race time was 1.11.3kr off quick fractions. 22/1 Alcoy (4m Ready Cash-Divann) was second for Christophe Martens and third was 2.6/1 Calle Crown (4m Great Challenger) with J.Ph. Monclin aboard. 7.3/1 Generaal Bianco and 61/1 A Brave Heart completed the top five. Bazire and Ecurie Vautors returned to win the Prix General du Pommeau (purse 42,000€, 2700 meters, 18 starters) with their 3/1 odds Elorius de Guez (4g Look de Star-Quozirette de Guez) timed in 1.13.8kr for his fifth career victory, now for 79,580€ earned. The J-M Bazire trainee was also bred by the owner. 25/1 Elegant Farcap (5g Nil du Rib) was second for owner/trainer/driver Ch.A. Mary, finishing ahead of 13/1 Elencio (4m Love You) with Matthieu Abrivard up. The 2.3/1 favorite Eliopt d’Ambri was fourth and 1/1 Emissoro was fifth. The race was named for the great FR-bred champion General du Pommeau (1994 m, Sebrazac-Actrice du Pommeau), a winner of 3,570,598€ earned from 43 wins in 106 starts. His wins included the Prix d’Amerique, Prix de Paris. Criterium Continental, Criterium des 4Ans and 5Ans and the Aby Stora Pris, among many others. In FR the General won nine Gr. I events and 19 Gr. II contests. His trainer/driver was Jules Lepennetier for owner Jacky Grisanti. Thomas H. Hicks  

Most Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotters are bred for harness racing. Thus, understanding how long their careers typically last is essential not just from a product quality perspective but also from an animal welfare perspective, researchers said. Researchers from around the world are conducting studies and learning more about how Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds deal with workloads, how feeding and management can affect their performance, and what factors might influence their career length. But what about local racing breeds? Those produced for Quarter Horse racing in the U.S. or for Icelandic pace racing in Iceland? Or how about the coldblooded, draftlike trotter bred for harness racing in Norway and Sweden? Studying health and welfare in local racing breeds has great importance, especially as people become more attuned to animal well-being, said Brandon Velie, BSc, MSc, PhD, researcher in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, in Uppsala. That’s why Velie; Gabriella Lindgren, MSc, PhD, of the SLU Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics; Eric Strand, MSc, PhD, of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, in Oslo; and colleagues recently investigated risk factors specific to career length in Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotters (NSCT). “Smaller, native populations are often understudied, despite their heightened vulnerability to disease outbreaks, misguided breeding trends, and debilitating disorders,” his group stated in a recent research publication. Local racehorse breeds experience “many, if not all, of the same selection and training pressures as larger racehorse populations.” As such, as part of a larger NSCT industry-driven study, Velie and colleagues evaluated how gender, age at first race start, number of starts (total and as 2- or 3-year-olds), and career earnings were associated with career length in NSCTs. They looked at data from nearly 15,000 NSCTs born over a nine-year period, about half of which raced at least once. They found that this local racing breed had significantly different factors affecting career length than Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, he said. For example, stallions had much longer careers—with higher earnings—than geldings and mares. That is probably related to the fact that NSCTs can be bred via artificial insemination, unlike Thoroughbreds. “Generally speaking, stallions are stallions for a reason—meaning, these are elite horses with a high potential for success,” Velie said. “Across most racing breeds, stallions often achieve a certain level of success and then their career is cut short so they can become breeding stallions. But NSCT stallions can continue to race while still being used as breeding stallions.” In fact, NSCT racehorses can continue to race until they’re 16 years old, he said. As a result, many stallions are still racing even in their teens. And because they are required to compete at levels established according to their previous earnings, they continue to advance their careers as they meet with tougher competition. On the other hand, how the age at which NSCTs made their first starts correlated to career length was similar to larger racehorse populations. Velie and colleagues found that a younger starting age was associated with a longer career on the track—consistent with what other scientists have already observed in Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. “Currently, the vast majority of NSCTs are produced for racing purposes; thus, understanding how long they typically fulfill this purpose is essential not just from a product quality perspective but also from an animal welfare perspective,” he said. The study, “Competition lifespan survival analysis in the Norwegian‐Swedish Coldblooded Trotter racehorse,” was published in the Equine Veterinary Journal.  by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA | Dec 16, 2018 | Horse Care, Sports Medicine, Welfare and Industry Reprinted with permission of The Horse ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

December 14, 2018 - Today’s Quinte+ was the Prix de Tourcoing (purse 70,000€, 2850 meters, 18 starters) at Paris-Vincennes.  A host of harness racing longshots comprised the top five and the result was no exact order ticketholders and the disorder payoff was 14,909€. The 8.6/1 Belle de Rossignol (7f Power Jet-Qualite Castelets) scored for reinsman Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer David Cinier and breeder/owner Denis Rety. The winning mare posted her sixth life victory nor for 178,490€ earned. 161/1 Amaya Djob (8f Mambo King) took second for Mme. Sophie Lorduinat-Descout and third was 15/1 Banco Dry (7g Sancho Panca) with Franck Marty driving. 133/1 Australia Beco was fourth for Maxime Bezier and 23/1 Baychibe des Vents was fifth for Bryan Coppens. The Prix de la Touraine (purse 45,000€, 2700 meters, 17 starters, five year olds) saw 58/1 outsider Django du Bocage (5g Real de Lou-Plume Bleue) score for trainer/driver Stephane Meaunier, his eighth career win now for 112,170€ earned. 8.8/1 Dream Gold (5g Royal Dream-Simplicity) was second for breeder/driver Jean Philippe Dubois. The property of Ecurie Victoria Dreams is conditioned by Philippe Moulin. Third was another longshot, the 88/1 Dernier Tango (5g Neoh Jiel) with Damien Bonne driving. The Prix du Neubourg (monte, purse 70,000€, 2700 meters, nine starters) with a rallying 1.12.9kr timed victory to 1.4/1 Daeilia de Vandel (5f Ready Cash-Maelia de Vandel). Matthieu Abrivard was the pilot for Ecurie la Tour de Vandel and trainer Cedrik Megissier. Her life earnings are now 210,100€. 3.8/1 Diamant de Trea (5g Kuadro Wild) was second for Fabien Gence and third was 6.1/1 Daida de Vandel (5f Real de Lou) with Alexandre Abrivard aboard. Racing on the weekend includes action at Paris-Vincennes and Aby. On Saturday at Vincennes is the 80,000€ Prix Michel Thoury and the Gr. II Prix Oscar Collard for a €95,000 purse comprised of the four and five year-old starters. Sunday action at Vincennes features the Gr. III Prix Jean Dumorch for 115,000€ (the field includes Bilibili, Valko Jenilat and Arlington Dream) and the Gr. I classic Criterium de 3Ans for a purse of 240,000€. Fly With Us, Folelli, Feliciano and Face Time Bourbon will be at the start. Saturday at Aby features the V75 Gold Legolas Minne. Thomas H Hicks

Betting on horse races has declined in several years in France, and a cut in purses was expected. The French governing body for harness racing, Le Trot, has announced that purses in races in 2019 will be cut by 11 percent – that is 26 million Euro. Europe’s richest harness race for elder trotters, the Grand Prix d’Amerique, will now have a total purse of 900,000 Euro – down from one million. The winner will get 405,000 Euro – down from 450,000 Euro. Other big races in the Winter Meeting like the Prix de France and Prix de Paris will now each have a total purse of 350.000, down from 400,000 Euro. The world’s richest under saddle race, Prix de Cornulier, will see a decrease from 700,000 Euro to 650,000. Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent

December 9, 2018 - A superb harness racing card was held Sunday at Napoli that included three classic races. The Gr. II G.P. Royal Mares (purse 88,000€, 1600 meters autostart) began the action and Trendy OK (6f Varenne-Annette Hanover-Sierra Kosmos) went first over to gain the lead and draw clear in the lane for the victory timed in a record 1.11.1kr. Alessandro Gocciadoro teamed his trainee to the score that increased Trendy’s life earnings to 294,701€. “Trendy Trendy OK OK” put away second finishing Pantera del Pino (9f Turbo Sund-Desire’ del Pino) with G.P. Minnucci up and third finishing Sonia (7f Donato Hanover-Ele Code-Uronometro) handled by Rene’ Legati. The featured Gr. I G.P. Mipaaft Open (purse 440,000€, 2100 meters autostart) saw the favored Axl Rose (2m Love You-Linda di Casei-Uronometro) rally to win decisively for driver V.P. Dell’Annunziata. This colt is special, and he defeated another fine one Granon Vedaquais (2m Brilliantissime-Sesteire-Cezio Josselyn) with Andrea Guzzinati up, for trainer Philippe Allaire and breeder J.P. Guay. Third was the filly Anita Roc (2f Filipp Roc-CK Roc-Pine Chip). Well regarded Amelie Grif was fourth. Race time was 1.15kr. The G.P. Mipaaft Filly (Gr. II, purse 88,000€, 1600 meters autostart) saw the game All Wise As (2f Varenne-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall), with Bjorn Goop driving, fend off the battling A Sexygirl PAR (2f Varenne-Fight For Lux-Toss Out) handled by V.P. Dell’Annunziata, clocked in 1.13.9kr. A Sexybomb PAR (2f Yankee Slide-Vivarissima PAR-Harvard Yard) was third. Harvard Yard, a stallion rarely seen on today’s programs, is a 1985 son of Speedy Crown-Somolli, a full-brother to the 1975 foaled Speedy Somolli and others from the mare including Mae Jean’s Crown, Seascape Lobell, and Santana Lobell. Somolli had 14 foals. Harvard Yard earned 114,767€ with a 1.13kr record, and bred mares in Italy from 1992-2003, producing only four winners of over 100,000€. The following news was also reported. Retired now are the well-regarded Twister Bi, Rod Stewart and Voltigeur de Myrt. Readly Express is being prepped for the December 30th Prix de Bourgogne and Villiam for the Criterium Continental, both at Vincennes and both carrying possible invitations to the Prix d’Amerique, the top three in Bourgogne and the winner of the Continental. Thomas H. Hicks

December 12, 2018 - A good harness racing program today at Paris-Vincennes included several upper level contests, a groupe monte test and the Q+ race pf the day. The Quinte+ event was the Prix Poitou-Charentes (purse 88,000€, 2850 meters, 16 starters). 16/1 Baraka de Bougy (7f Honginio-Piccata de Bougy) scored for Frank Nivard timed in 1.14.4kr for trainer Ch. Ecalard and owner Ecurie Brindor. This one recorded her sixth career win in 84 starts, now for 282,750€ earned. 6/1 Blooma d’Heripre (7f Rolling d’Heripre) was a rallying second with Eric Raffin up for trainer Gregory Thorel, ahead of the 34/1 Aribo Mix (8g Reve des Vallees), the 1.6/1 favorite Bacchos d’Ela and 32/1 Aero de Bossens. The exact order Q+ payoff was 19,768.80€ for a 2€play. The afternoon Paris-Vincennes feature was the Prix Auguste Francois (Gr. III monte, purse 110,000€, 2175 meters, 11 starters). 6.5/1 Boss du Meleuc (7g Lucky Blue-Rafales du Meleuc) scored easily timed in a quick 1.10.7kr for jockey Alexandre Abrivard. The Boss recorded career victory 16 in 58 outings for owner/trainer Yannick Alain Briand, to increase his life earnings to 569,100€. 9/1 Une Serenade (10f Gazouillis-Moonlight Serenade) was second for Eric Raffin and 13/1 Alpha Saltor (8m Paris Haufor) took third money with Matthieu Abrivard in the irons. Six-year olds battled in the Prix du Villers (purse 55,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 16 European starters) and the 1.11.4kr timed victory went easily to the 1.4/1 favorite Trinity Lux (6m Love You-Eternidad) in rein to trainer Jean Michel Bazire. Ecurie Connie owns this winner, his first in FR, and now a career winner of 199,595€. 9/1 Mellby Drake (6g Viking Kronos) was second with Matthieu Abrivard driving for Mellby Gard AB and trainer Robert Bergh. The 62/1 Aileron (6g Scarlet Knight) was third, trained by Bergh for In The Zone AB and piloted by Yoann Lebourgeois. The Prix de Blanquefort (purse 58,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 15 European starters) brought out a solid group of aged performers and the 3.9/1 odds winner was Romi Mms (8f Turbo Sund-Goldy LB), reined by Franck Nivard for owner Mitja Slavic and trainer Philippe Billard. The victory was the fifth in FR for the now winner of 255,516€, a mare that began her career in eastern Europe. Race time was 1.12.6kr as Romi Mms sprinted clear in the stretch after a third over trip in the second tier. 12/1 Alexis du Cherisay (8f Le Big Boss-Precious Thing) was second for Eric Raffin, ahead of 2.2/1 favorite Bise du Coglais (7f Prince Gede) with trainer Jean Michel Bazire at the lines. Thomas H. Hicks  

Today’s excellent groupe action at Paris-Vincennes saw Earl Simon (4m Prodigious-Tindrana) take the Gr. II Prix Octave Douesnel (purse 120,000€, 2700 meters, four year olds) as the 2/5 favorite. Franck Ouvrie teamed the winner for trainer Jarmo Niskanen and Ecurie Skytten that was clocked in 1.13kr off even fractions. The 7.1/1 Eridan (4m Ready Cash-Topaze d’Atout) was second, handled by David Thomain for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Philippe Dewulf. Third went to the 5.9/1 Express Jet (4m Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet) that was reined by trainer Pierre Vercruysse and owner Ecurie des As. The winning Earl Simon is a model of consistency, now with 10 career victories in 17 starts, for 498,950€ earned. Three year olds were on stage in the Prix de Mansle (Gr. III, purse 76,000€, 2100 meters autostart). The early fractions were quick and it led to a 1.12.5kr timed victory for 9/1 Fuego de Houelle (3g Rieussec-Pin Up de Houelle) teamed with Adrien Lamy. Franck Leblanc trains the winner for owner Andre Carree. The 6.3/1 Flambeau Royal (3m Look de Star-Rodea Josselyn) was second with Jean Michel Bazire up and the 2/1 favorite Falco d’Heripre (3m Goetmals Wood-Vedeltad d’Heripre) held third for Franck Nivard. The day’s Quinte+ event was the Prix Chinon (purse 50,000€, 2175 meters, 16 starters) and long odds top five finishers created a 149,528€ exact order payoff for the 2€ wager. The race winner was 7.7/1 Erolina (4f Prodigious-Keralda) clocked in 1.12.4kr. Eric Raffin teamed the mare that was bred and is owner/trained by Alphonse Vanberghen. 6.3/1 Etones de Carsi (4f Okepi de Fael) was a good second with Yoann Lebourgeois teaming for trainer Franck Leblanc. The 5.6/1 Eclipse d’Orient (4f Un Mec d’Heripre) was third with J.Ph. Monclin up for trainer Jarmo Niskanen. 49/1 Elite du Lys and 40/1 Endiablee completed the top five to the line. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink