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The colt division of the GP Mipaaf (purse 407,000€, 2100 meters autostart) in Napoli, Italy saw a 1.14.3kr clocked victory by Bristol CR (2m Owen CR- Rapsidia CR-Yankee Slide) with a front end score. Banderas Bi (2m Ganymede-Isa Grandi-Toss Out) was second and Barberesco Grif (2m Conway Hall-Maura Grif-Varenne) was third. Buena Suerte Bi (2f Yankee Glide-No Ifs Here) took this day’s PR Mipaaf Filly (purse 88,000€, 1600 meters autostart) clocked in 1.14.9kr and reined by V.P. Dell’Annunziata for trainer Tiberio Cecere. The winner raced on the front as she recorded her fifth victory in seven starts in this her two-year old season. Betta Indal (2f Varenne-Isabeau Volo) was second with Rene Legati up with third to Brezzapura Ferm (2f Ganymede-Ozge Ferm-Fast Photo) home third for Gior, D;Allessandro Jr. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Boss du Meleuc (8g Lucky Blue-Rafale du Meleuc), off at 3/2 odds, rallied for Alexandre Abrivard to win the featured Prix Auguste Francois (Gr. III, purse 90,000€, monte, 2175 meters, European eligibles) at the Hippodrone Paris-Vincennes timed in a quick 1.10..6kr. Yannick A. Briand trains and owns this 18 time winner for 707,100€ earned. 8.1/1 Carla du Chatelet (7f Jag de Bellouet-Jalna du Chatelet) was next with Adrien Lamy in the irons for trainer Sebastien Guarato. 2.3/1 Carly (7g Rolling d’Heripre) was third for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. The Prix de Blanquefort (purse 58,000€, 2100 meters autostart, European eligibles) went to the 6.6/1 Class Action (7f Scipion du Goutier-Nepeta) reined by her owner/trainer/driver Charles Dreux. Race time was 1.12kr. The 3.2/1 odds Crescendis (7f Querido de Blary) was second for J.F. Senet and 8.7/1 Coumba Kuky (7f Matador de Vrie) held third for Gabriel Angel Pou Pou. This race was the Quinte+ race of the day with the exact order top five payoff being 4,128.40€. The Q+ pool was 3,153,720€ and total wagered on the race exceeded 6,991,000€. By comparison last Sunday’s Q+ in the Prix du Bourbonnais saw 11,958,000€ wagered on that race with 6,058,379€ in the Bourbonnais pool. The Prix Poitou-Cherentes (purse 67,000€, 2850 meters) this day went to 1.14.4kr timed and 4.3/1 odds Ce Retour d’Oscar (7g Le Retour-Perle Castelets) handled by J.Ph. Monclin ffor breeder/owner/trainer Ludovic Guitton. 3.9/1 Balzac de l’Iton (8g Ranache de L’Iton) took second with Franck Nivard up. 44/1 Brosses Troubadour (8g Showtime Bourbon) was third. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Pompano Beach, FL...December 10, 2019...In a "see-saw" finish right to the wire, the USA Amateur team eked out a narrow harness racing victory over the visiting Italian team at Pompano Park on Monday night in the annual friendship series between the two countries. The final tally was 100 to 86 with Ron Cusimano reaching the winners circle with Everyone' Talkin to give the USA the narrow win. With USA taking a 53-40 edge on opening night, the Italian visitors struck first on Monday night when Italy's Daniele Orsini gave a "heads-up" drive to Kelly Walkers' Stables Thisisshe, pushing the Italians into the point lead with one race to go. Thisisshe completed her one mile journey in 1:57.4. In the finale, Cusimano sent Everyone's Talkin, who he co-owns, right to the front from his mid-pack post and proceeded to wire his foes in 1:55.4. The Jake Huff trainee carded panels of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26 along the way to earn his 25th career win. Both winning drivers were gracious in he winners circle with Cusimano applauding his main rival for the "fantastic drive" he gave to Thisisshe an Orsini thanking Dein Spriggs and Joe Pennacchio for their "grand hospitality" during their stay. Spriggs added, "This is what our sport can do for the community and beyond in the form of promoting our industry and, at the same time, be of benefit for so many worthwhile charitable organizations." The Florida Amateur Driving Club has donated over $200,000 to charities benefiting everything from Make-A-Wish and Animal Rescue Organizations to finding a cure or cancer. Racing continues Tuesday with a Pick-6 carryover and a blossoming Super Hi-5 jackpot of $4,731. Post time is et for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for the Florida Amateur Driving Club              

It's safe to say Tim Tetrick is in for a week unlike any he's experienced while driving in North America. Tetrick, harness racing's top money-winning driver this year, will spend the next seven days in Finland as part of his involvement in the first Arctic Horse Race event at Mantyvaara racetrack in Rovaniemi. Tetrick will join drivers from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Italy in the three-race competition on Saturday at Mantyvaara. The event will see the drivers race twice with Standardbred trotters and once with the cold-blood trotters known as the Finnhorse. The days leading up to the event will be filled with several promotional obligations and plenty of adventure. Tetrick and his wife Ashley will begin their trip in Helsinki before flying to Rovaniemi on Thursday. Rovaniemi, situated on the Arctic Circle, is the capital of Lapland and known for being "the official hometown of Santa Claus" as well as for viewing the Northern Lights. During his stay in Rovaniemi, Tetrick will get to drive reindeer and huskies, take in a hockey game, go on a snowmobile safari, and visit Santa Claus Village. "It's going to be exciting," said Tetrick, who is making his first trip to Finland. "It should be a great trip. We're going to go and have a little fun. I'm looking forward to it." The 38-year-old Tetrick, who was elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame earlier this year, is leading all drivers in purses with $15.5 million this season and is second in wins with 750. For his career, he has won $217 million, which ranks third all time, and 11,425 races, which ranks eighth. Saturday's event at Mantyvaara will feature family activities during the afternoon and an "ice disco" after the races that evening. "The weather is going to be a little chilly, I guess, but it can't be any worse than Chicago," Tetrick said with a laugh. "Ashley thought I was crazy because it's going to be cold there. In December we want to go somewhere warm, we don't want to go somewhere colder than where we're at. But we got to thinking about it and it sounded like a lot of fun. It looks like there is so much to do there at this time of year." As for the weather, the forecast in Rovaniemi this week calls for temperatures holding steady around 30 degrees Fahrenheit with snow showers. "That's not bad," Tetrick said. "I'll be OK." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Pompano Beach, FL...December 9, 2019...The USA-Italian Amateur Competition took center stage at Pompano Park on Sunday night with the USA team edging out the Italians in the first of their two night-four event harness racing series. The 53-40 edge came as Gary Barbere, driving his own Andriy Fortna, and Dein Spriggs, handling his new addition High Blue, won their respective events. Andriy Fortuna, a 12 year-old gelded son of S J's Photo, got picture perfect handling by Barbere to score a 1;56.4 win over Sheer Flex (Daniele Orsini) and Savin Rock (Pier D'Angelo) with Cheeky Little Minx (Alessandro Manfredi) and Toss Cartwright Leon Cable) also in the top five. The winner paid $3.20 to his multitude of faithful. High Blue led every step of hi journey--also clocked in 1:56.4--as this nine year-old altered son of Majestic Son earned his 40th career win and first for new owner Spriggs. Tymal Tullo (Tony Dinges) was second, two lengths away, with Legend Field (Pier D'Angelo) next over Photo Master (Daniel Orsini) and Santini (Steve Oldford). A the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, High Blue paid $3.40 to win. Said Spriggs after the event, "This is a very wonderful competition between two countries that love their trotting events. They have many, many talented horsemen and horsewomen over there and it's wonderful that the come over to be in this highly competitive--but friendly--competition. "And one other thing...the two trainers deserve special recognition, as well, as Odell (Thompson, trainer of Andriy Fortuna) and Allen Saul (trainer of High Blue) have each been around horses for over a half century and they still have the magic touch to train winners. They are both amazing!" Father Time couldn't dent the spirit of winning for several other "oldsters" competing on the Sunday card. Track record holder Panocchio, now nine, scored his 68th career win (44th at Pompano Park) with a near gate-to-wire score in 1:51.4 for Wall Hennessey. Making his 199th career start, Panocchio carded number of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:24.1 before a :27.3 final sealed the deal by two lengths over the pocket sitting War-N-Munn (Kevin Wallis) with Always Glorious (Dave Ingraham) third. America Chrome, closing fastest of all, finished fourth while Bass Player picked up the nickel. Trained by Jim Mattison, who co-owns wit Emile Johnson, Jr., Panocchio, the splendid son of No Pan Intended, has banked $621,538 to go along with his Pompano track record of 1:48.3 set four seasons ago. Panocchio returned $4.00 as the even-money chalk. Father Time has yet to catch up to Prescotts Hope, either, as this nine year-old made a quarter move o the top and went on to score in 1:51, a seasonal best for trainer-driver Rick Plano. Also a son of No Pan Intended, the winner, after a :26.3 opener, went on to put up fractions of :55 and 1:22.3 before coasting home in :28.2. After the race, Plano simply said, "He's a pretty good pony!" Prescotts Hope, owned by Nikki Hudson and Maryann Plano, now has banked $341,298. Off as third choice at 7 to 2, the winner paid $9.20. Also of note, yet another nine year-old captured the Super Hi-5 finale as Late Night Joke, dismissed at 18 to 1, nailed the pacesetting Mcjagersonthemove to win in 1:50.4 The gelded son of Western Terror, handled by MIke Simons, was away in mid-pack as Mcjagersonthemove, with Fern Paquet, Jr. in his bike, absolutely sizzled through panels of :26.1, :53.4 and 1:21.3. From six lengths out of it turning for home, Late Night Joke began gnawing away and caught the still-game leader right on the wire. Favored Feelin Lika Winner (Wally Hennessey) was third. Trained by Rob Rittof for Dandy Farms and the Ft Racing Stable, Late Night Joke rewarded his followers with a $39.60 mutual a sent hi career bounty to $380,002. Racing continues on Monday night with the grand final of the USA-Italian Amateur Competition with post time set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for the Florida Amateur Driving Club            

In Your Dreams (3f Donato Hanover-Iron Lady) took today’s Prix Albert Rayon (Gr. II, purse 70,000€, 2100 meters autostart, European eligibles) reined by Matthieu Abrivard. Off at 2.2/1 odds this Alessandro Gocciadoro trainee, owned by Bruni Racing, recorded her second victory in France and raised her life earnings to 118,589€. Race time was 1.13.6kr and the winner’s last 200 meters was in 1.06.6kr. The 5.1/1 Amele Grif (3f Varenne-Sunrise Grif) was second for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. 65/1 All Wise As (3f Varenne-Temple Blue Chip) was third, handled by Gabriele Gelormini for trainer H.E. Bondo and owner Peter Wilhelmsen. The 21/1 Amber Prad (3f Timoko) was fourth for Gocciadoro and fifth went to 2/1 Grayline (3f Sam Bourbon) for Erik Raffin and owner/trainer Julien Dubois. The winner’s dam raced competitively on the USA Grand Circuit for Jean Pierre Dubois. The Gr. II Prix Artiste Hemard (purse 100,000€, 2700 meters, four year old mares) saw 10/1 Fleche du Yuuca (4f Prodigious-Vincenza) rally in the lane to victory clocked in 1.13.9kr for driver Jean Philippe Dubois. His Ecurie Victoria Dreams is the owner with Philippe Moulin the trainer. It was her fourth victory and she now sports life earnings of 164,170€. The 9/10 favorite Freyja du Pont (4f Quinoa du Gers) was second with Jean-Michel Bazire up for Albert Rayon. 38/1 Feerie Wood (4f Rockfeller Center) was third with Alexandre Abrivard at the lines. Earlier in the Prix de Chirlon (purse 38,000€, 2100 meters autostart, four year old mares) 2.8/1 Fine Colline (4f Village Mystic) was a 1.11.3kr timed winner with Matthieu Abrivard the owner/trainer/driver. The victory increased her career earnings to 98,600€ and she traveled her last 100 meters in 1.04.8kr. 4.2/1 Fiesta du Belver (4f Roi de Coq) was second for Gabriele Gelormini, ahead of 26/1 Fregate Island (4f Timoko) reined by Bjorn Goop. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Delia du Pommereux (6f Niky-Noune du Pommereux) rallied to win today’s Grand Prix du Bourbonnais (Gr. II International, purse 110,000€, 2850 meters, 18 starters) in the final strides for reinsman Franck Nivard, trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic, her 13th career victory now for 883,050€ earned. Delia du Pommereux , off the 2.9/1 favorite, also won this race a year ago clocked in 1.13kr, today it was 1.13.1kr. She was second in 2018 also in the GP Bretagne and Criterium 5 Ans. Today Delia du Pommeraux was forwardly placed early yielding to 3.2/1 second choice Bold Eagle (8m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) that had worked his way to the front after 1200 meters for Eric Raffin. The Sebastien Guarato trained Bold Eagle held gamely for second. Fractions were rated (1.12.7kr with 1500 remaining; 1.12.7kr at the 1000 and 1.13.2kr with 500 meters to go). The 53/1 Billie de Montfort (8f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) was third with Gabriele Gelormini up for trainer Guarato. The top three earned Prix d'Amerique invitations. The 107/1 Uza Josselyn (8f Love You-Teza Josselyn) rallied for fourth with Pierre Vercruysse up for trainer Rene Aebischer and 4/1 Enino du Pommereux (5m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) was fifth for Matthieu Abrivard and the Roger/Lolic team, this one a half-brother to the race winner. 19/1 Bahia Quesnot and 13/1 Valokaja Hindo took the sixth and seventh checks. To watch the race replay, click here.  by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The marvelous Face Time Bourbon (4m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon) led from the start to victory in today’s Gr. II Prix Octave Douesnel (purse 100,000€, 2700 meters. 10 starters) at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. He was reined by Bjorn Goop for trainer Sebastien Guarato and clocked in 1.14.6kt as the 3/10 favorite. Ecurie Bivans Srl owns the winner that SARL Haras Saint Martin owns. Face Time now sports 17 career wins in 20 starts for 978,550€ earned. The pace was a walk in the park as there were no challengers to the winning FTB (1.17.1kr with 1500 meters to go; 1.16.6kr at the1000 and 1.16.3kr with 500 remaining as then FTB jetted away). The 12/1 Fakir du Lorault (4m Vaillant Cash-Native du Lorault) was second for Francois Lecanu and trainer Mickael Charuel. Third was 44/1 Fun Quick (4m Carpe Diem-Activity Quick) for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Maik Esper and Ecurie Quick Star. Fighter Smart and Follow You completed the top five. Face Time is likely to appear again in two weeks in the four-year old Criterium Continental, the winner of which earns a Prix d'Amerique invitation. To watch the race replay, click here. Today’s Paris-Vincennes co-feature was the monte Gr. II Prix Raoul Balliere (purse 100,000€,  2175 meters, 11 starters) and 9/1 odds Gangster du Wallon (3m Let’s Go Along-Umeda du Wallon) scored in 1.13.4kr with Benjamin Rochard in the irons for owner/trainer Damien Lecroq. The winner scored for the third time in 18 starts now for life earnings of 166,640€. The 11/1 Gladys des Plaines (3f Opus Viervil) was second for jockey Eric Raffin and trainer Gilles Curens. 5.6/1 Gee (3f Brutus de Baily) was third for Mathieu Mottier. The 4/10 favorite Grace de Fael was a dq. A series of upper class races were also on the stage including the Quinte+ Prix d’Hautefort (purse 58,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters) and the quick 1.11.4kr timed winner was 1.4/1 Bryssel (7m Ready Cash-Spacelane) with trainer Bjorn Goop aboard. T The winner raised his life earnings to 275,980€. Second was 30/1 Big Headache (9g EL Miko) for Philippe Daugeard and third was 4/1 Canular (7g Jet Fortuna) with Yoann Lebourgeois up. 18/1 Be Cool and 3.8/1 Calyu des Bose completed the top five creating an exact order Q+ payoff of 3,166.20€to 192 winning tickets. The Q+ pool was 4,087,320€ and total of all pool on this race exceeded 8,969,000€ Gu d’Heripre (3m Coktail Jet-Vedetta d’Heripre), off at 1.4/1 odds, took the Prix de Mansle (purse 70,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 14 European three year old starters). Franck Nivard teamed the 1.12.4kr timed winner to his sixth career victory in nine starts, now for 122,750€ earned. 2.6/1 Empire (3m Vasterbo Prestige-Gossip Gal) was second for reinsman Bjorn Goop and 6.7/1 Gelati Cut (3m Coktail Jet-Variety Cut) was third for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer R.C. Larue. Calina (5f Archipelago-Caltina Hall) took the Prix Narquois (Gr. III, purse 80,000€, 2700 meters, 11 starters) for David Thomain and trainer Jean-Michel Bazire. Off at 1.4/1 odds Calina won for the first time in France for Norwegian owner C.G. Myhre. The 4/1 Ghazi BR (5m Cantab Hall-Fiery Chip) was second for trainer/driver Bazire and third was 2.5/1 Violetto Jet (5m From Above-Nocciolaia Jet) for Franck Nivard. 6.7/1 Vipera Killer Gar (5f Varenne) and 20/1 Hard Times (5m Coktail Jet) completed the top five. As a result of this race trainer/driver Bazire was suspended again, this time apparently due to the teaming up of stablemates Calina and Ghazi BR in the final turn. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Cleangame (7g Ouragon de Celland-Red Bell) took this week’s finale of the Grand National du Trot Paris-Turf series at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. Off at 1.4/1 from post 15 this J-M Bazire trainee was handled by Eric Raffin for Ecurie J-M Rancoule as he recorded his 30th victory in 47 starts now for 1,130,220€ earned. The Gr. II finale carried a purse of 130,000€and was race raced over 2850 meters with the winner handicapped 50 meters. He was clocked in 1.11.5kr over 2900 meters and drew off late after a mighty surge to the front. The 28/1 Eclat de Gloire (5g Tiego d’Etang) was second for trainer/driver Loris Garcia. The 17/1 Calska de Guex (7f Pomerol de Laumac) took third for trainer Bazire and reinsman David Thomain. 74/1 Belle Louis Mabon and 79/1 Baron du Bourg completed the top five and set up the exact order Q+ payoff of 141,910.80€ earned by 12 winning ticketholders. The Q+ pool was 5,749,916€ and over 10,942,000€ was wagered on the GNT finale race alone. The series top point winner Elvis Madrik was eighth in the finale. Watch the replay by clicking here.  Next year’s GNT schedule is shown below. Calendar 2020 Mercredi 4 mars - Amiens Mercredi 25 mars - Marseille-Borély Mercredi 8 avril - Lyon-Parilly Mercredi 22 avril - Toulouse Mercredi 20 mai - Le Croisé-Laroche Mercredi 3 juin - Laval Mercredi 17 juin - Maure-de-Bretagne Mercredi 5 août - Saint-Malo Mecredi 2 septembre - Châtelaillon-La Rochelle Mercredi 23 septembre - Lisieux Mercredi 14 octobre - Angers Mercredi 4 novembre - Nantes Mercredi 18 novembre - Mauquenchy Dimanche 6 décembre - Paris-Vincennes (Finale) The GNT undercard included finales of the LeTrot Regions Open for three, four and five year olds, each Gr. III events. The five year olds raced for an 80,000€ purse and 17/1 Echo de Chanlecy scored in 1.14.6kr over 2850 meters. Tony LeBeller teamed the five year old gelded son Quinoa du Gers to the victory over 5/10 favorite Earl Simon (5m Prodigious) and driver Franck Ouvrie. The three year old division went for 70,000€ and 3.3/1 Gimy du Pommereux (3m Coktail Jet) won in 1.16kr over the 2850 meter distance with Matthieu Abrivard up. Sylvain Roger trains this one for breeder/owner Noel Lolic. 2.3/1 Golden Visais (3m Repeat Love) was second for Franck Ouvrie. The four year old 80,000€ division was also raced over 2850 meters with the 1.14kr score to 8/10 favorite Fifty Black (4m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree) and teamster Anthony Barrier for trainer Gregory Thorel. It was the winner’s sixth win in 14 career starts. Ahead this Sunday at Vincennes is the second “B” with the Prix du Boubonnais raced over 2850 meters for 110,000€. 18 starters included Bold Eagle with Eric Raffin up for Sebastien Guarato. Guarato will have four at the start also including the veteran mare Billie de Montfort. J-M Bazire will start five and he will drive Belina Josselyn. On Saturday is the Prix Octave Douesnel for four year olds with the superb Guarato trainee Face Time Bourbon at the start, with Bjorn Goop named to drive. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Colonel (7g Goetmals Wood-Royale Star) took today’s featured Prix Jean Boillereau at Vincennes, the Quinte+ race of the day for a purse of 80,000€. The field of 16 upper class campaigners raced over 2100 meters autostart. Colonel, off as the 9/10 favorite, was timed in 1.11.3kr for trainer/driver Jean-Michel Bazire and breeder/owner Ecurie des Charmes, his 16th career victory in 65 outings now for 488,700€ earned. He has two wins and a second in his last three appearances. The 21/1 Detroit Castelets (6m Neoh Jiel) was second for David Thomain and 7/2 Tessy D’Ete (7f Ganymede) was third for Franck Nivard. Orlando Jet (6m Orlando Vici) was fourth despite post 15 at 9/1 with trainer Rudolf Haller aboard and 14/1 Coach Franbleu (7f Prince d’Espace) rallied to be fifth for Yoann Lebourgeois. The Q+ exact order payoff was 1,981.60€ for 372 winning tickets from the Q+ pool of 3,522,760€. Over 7,882,000€ was wagered on this race. Bazire, just back yesterday from a driving suspension won three more on today’s card. The 7/10 odds Fairplay d’Urzy (4m Ready Cash) took the 53,000€ Prix de Saint-Aubin-Les Elbeuf clocked in 1.11.7kr over 2100 meters autostart. This colt has nine wins in 18 outings for trainer Bazire. Bazire scored again with 1.3/1 odds trainee Noble Dolly (6f Ready Cash) timed in 1.14.2kr to win the 51,000€ Prix de Morat. This victory over the 2850 meter course was her second win. The fourth J-M Bazire win this day was with 2/1 Guevara du Pont (3m Tabler-Tina du Pont) in the Prix de Blangy (purse 33,000€, 2850 meters, 13 starters). Timed in 1.16.8kr this Bazire trainee is now four wins in five career starts for owner J-M Rancoule. Deesse Noire Takes Q+ Prix de la Ville de Rojan   Wednesday’s Quinte+ Prix de la Ville de Rojan (purse 37,000€, 2850 meters, 16 starters) was om center stage this day for the 1.14.3kr timed victory of 1.2/1 Deesse Noire (6f Neoh Jeil-Obolie). Eric Raffin reined this winner to her 11th score in 42 starts now for 155,610€ earned. The 4.8/1 Decoloration (6f Prince d’Espace) was second in the return of pilot Jean-Michel Bazire. The 16/1 Devise du Vivier (6f Real de Lou), 76/1 Dolly Si, and 11/1 Dotka de Loiron completed the top five and there were 43 winning exact order tickets that paid 15,720.20€ each. The Q+ pool was 3,140,087€ and total wagered on this race exceeded 6.983.000€ Shortly thereafter the Prix de Bourigny (purse 59,000€, 2850 meters, 10 starters) saw J-M Bazire gain his return victory with the 3/10 favorite Elie de Beaufour (5g Royal Dream-Pigrata). He trains this gelding and Elie scored victory number 14 in 28 career starts now for 183,150€ earned. Race time was 1.14.4kr. The 20/1 Early Dream (5m Royal Dream-Uniformity) was second for Jean Philippe Dubois, finishing ahead of 13/1 Elite de Jiel (5f Niky) handled by David Thomain. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Alessandro Gocciodoro piloted his trainee Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) to a wire to wire victory in the 110,000€ purse Grand Premio Duomo 2019 held at Firenze, Italy. It was the 73rd edition of this classic race contested over 1600 meters autostart.  The winning campaigner was clocked in 1.16.9kr to defeat Ula Pisaia Trgf (6f Ghibellinoi-Estasivi-American Winner) reined by Antonio Greppi. Third home was the Antonio DiNardo teamed Pocohontas-Diamant (8f Look de Star-Lanira Dei). Two day’s later at Milano La Maura, in the Jef’s Spice (purse 14,300€, 1650 meters autostart), Buffon ZS (2m Conway Hall-Nuvella Grif-Varenne) recorded his third career victory in record time 1.13.2kr. He rallied for Andrea Farolfi and trainer Mauro Baroncini to score by three over the Gocciadoro teamed Boltigeur Erre (2m Voltigeur de Myrt-Lilli Degi Ulivi-Sugarcane Hanover). Third was Bardo di Poggio (2m Trixton-Nuvolo di Poggio-Varenne) with Pietro Gubellini aboard Ahead on December 7 is the 88,000€ purse GP Royal Mares at Napoli. Raced over 1600 meters autostart this group of 11 includes Sharon Gar, Zaniah Bi and Ursa Caf. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

This year’s edition of the classic Baka Handicap (purse 1,100,000Huf, distance 4200 meters distance handicap) at Kincsem Park in Budapest, Hungary went to the 2.1/1 pocket sitting Olmo Jet (11g Legendary Lover K-Sienna-Summit Hill) reined by Sandor Varga to the 1.25.3kr victory. The Gabor Reischl trainee owned by Aquadrom Kft recorded his third win in six 2019 starts. The 15.9/1 outsider and 60-meter handicapped Lingo AT (7m What A Man) took second for Balazs Juhasz with 9.7/1 and 40-meter penalized Ultimate Ugri (6m Vanito) finishing third for Goran Zolnaji. On the undercard 1.1/1 favorite Zeal di Girifalco (4m Igor Font-Inviata d’Itlaia) returned to his winning ways taking the Oroshazer Vanos Dija (purse 600,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart). He was clocked in 1.15.7kr in this his eight 2019 victory in 10 starts. Veljko Mazsity trains and teamed the winner. 8.2/1 Ubo Kiraly (6m Vioxx SR) was second for Lajos Marton and third was 6.3/1 Rocky HR (7m Roc du Montfort) reined by Balazs Juhasz. The next big Kincsem Park event is the December 31 edition of Szilveszter, a racing, awards, entertainment, food and beverage extravaganza that honors the Trots, the 2019 horse racing leaders at Kincsem Park. Its always a superb was to bring in the New Year and it draws a huge audience with much for the whole family. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Pompano Beach, FL…December 3, 2019…Word comes that Italy is planning to invade the United States—specifically Pompano Park—on Sunday, December 8 and Monday, December 9 in an amateur series featuring many of the best amateur drivers in the sport. The American contingent will be headed by last year’s Amateur Driver of the Year, Steve Oldford, and complimented by the appearances of Dein Spriggs and Joe Pennacchio, among others. Team Italy will feature Gian Luca De Venti, Daniele Orsini, Pier D’Angelo, Alessandro Manfredi. Gian Luca De Venti, a native of Palermo, Italy, is no stranger to the winner’s circle at Pompano Park, having won here with the trotter Bad I Am in a 2018 performance. Daniele Orsini, from San Casciano, has competed with regularity in the States and, over the past two seasons, has been “on the board” in seven of 11 starts, many at Pompano Park. Pier D’Angelo, from Naples, also has participated in South Florida with his last appearance being in 2016. Alessandro Manfredi will be making his U.S.A. debut in Pompano’s second race on Sunday night. The American contingent features Spriggs, who has won 471 races, tops among all U.S.A. amateur drivers competing in the event. Pennacchio and Oldford, have reached the winner’s circle 183 and 161 times, respectively. Speaking of the event, Spriggs said, “No doubt that this will be a highly competitive—but friendly—event with the winner owning the bragging rights until we meet again. The main thing is that all of us do our part in showing how harness racing can benefit so many worthwhile charities and organizations that need help to keep doing their great work. “We want our sport to reach out to our communities, cities and the world with our good will. That’s what we are all about!” by John Berry, for the Florida Amateur Driving Club

Etoile de Bruyere Wins Gr. II Prix Joseph LaFosse at Vincennes Today’s afternoon card at Paris-Vincennes featured the monte Gr. II Prix Joseph LaFosse (purse 100,000€, 2700 meters, nine starters) and the impressive 1.14.2kr timed victory went to the 1.1/1 favorite Etoile de Bruyere (5f Kenor de Cosse-Reinette du Tijas) with Adrien Lamu in the irons. Charles Dreux owns and trains the now six-time career winner that increased her life earnings to 449,670€. 3.1/1 Evangelina Blue (5f Speedy Blue) was second with Mathieu Mottier the jockey for owner/trainer J.P. Mary. Third went to 4.7/1 Evening Star (5f Magnifient Rodney) with Anthony Barrier up for trainer Gregory Thorel. The Q+ Prix Duynel de Saint-Quentin (purse 100,000€, Gr. II, 2850 meters, 14 starters) went to the 4/1 second choice Excellent (5m Real de Lou-Udine O’dyssee) at 4/1 odds. Alexandre Abrivard teamed this winner, for breeder/owner/trainer Laurent Claude Abrivard, to his eighth career victory now for 435,340€ earned. Race time was 1.13.1kr. The 8.8/1 Short In Cash (5m Ready Cash-Shorthanded Sally) was second for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop and third was 12/1 Alcoy (5m Ready Cash-Divaan) for Christophe Martens, 2.4/1 Eugenito du Noyer and 17/1 Éclair du Mirel completed the exact order to five that paid 6,834.80€ to 74 winning ticketholders. The Q+ pool was 3,807,623€ and total of all wagering pools on this race exceeded 8,444,000€. The Gr. III Prix Ourasi (purse 60,000€, 2200 meters, 11 starters two-year old colts) saw the 8/10 favorite Helgafell (2m Charly du Noyer-Baaria) score with Eric Raffin aboard for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Ecurie Normandy Spirit. Race time was 1.15.8kr for this now winner four times in five career appearances for 91,900€ earned. The 18/1 Holzarte Vedaquais (2m Brillantissime-Chikka Vedaquais) was second for trainer/owner Allaire and pilot Francois Lagdeuc. Third was another Allaire owned and trained colt, this one 2.3/1 Heart Of Gold (2b Bird Parker-Corsica) with David Thomain at the lines. 2.9/1 Climber (2m Cantab Hall-KJlipsinger) took fourth for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Dion Tesselaar and Stall Habo, Fifth was 60/1 Bengurian Jet (2m Maharajah-Love Me Tender) for trainer/driver Marco Smorgon and Bruni Racing. Powerful pedigrees at the top of this field. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The Friday evening Vincennes card featured the Q+ Prix Hilda and the Gr. III Prix Vourasie for two-year old fillies. The former saw 24/1 Diva Beauregard (6f Otello Pierji-Realite Beauregard) score timed in 1.13.3kr in the Prix Hilda (purse 37,000€, 2850 meters for 6-7 year-old females) with J.G. Van Eeckhaute the trainer/driver for Ecurie Beauregard. Dina won for eighth time in 71 career starts to raise her life earnings to 151,280€. The 5.9/1 Desiree des Landes (6f Paisy Dream) was second and 24/1 Cool Star (7f Kid Blue) took third. 3.7/1 Dwilling Heights and 12/1 Dotka de Loiron completed the top five and that set up a 93,051.20€ exact order payoff to five winning ticketholders. The Q+ pool was 3,699,906€ and the total of all wagering pools on this race exceeded 7,559,000€ The Gr. III Prix Vourasie (purse 60,000€, 2200 meters, 14 two-year old fillies) saw the 1.7/1 favorite Beautiful Colibri (2f Ready Cash-Gilly LB) remain undefeated with this her fourth straight timed in 1.14.6kr. David Thomain was her pilot for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire as she raised career earnings to 39,880€. The 24/1 outsider Havanaise (2f Ricimer) was second for Francois Pierre Bossuet, the reinsman for Ecurie Tenor. Third was 5.3/1 Hill’s Angel (2f Muscle Hill-Gossip Gal) with Bjorn Goop aboard for trainer H.E. Bondo and Stall Panamera. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

YONKERS, N.Y. – Few harness racing owners exhibit the passion for their horse that Giuseppe Franco shows for Zacon Gio. Following the 4-year-old trotter’s breakout victory in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot Oct. 12 at Yonkers Raceway, Franco returned home to Naples, Italy keeping Zacon Gio close by all the way. Franco and his team left through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport toting hardcase luggage emblazed with images of the champion trotter. The baggage not only put Franco’s passion for his horse and team on display, but also invited a host of questions from curious passersby. While Zacon Gio returned to Holger Ehlert’s stable to find his stall adorned with Italian and Yonkers International Trot flags, red, white, and green balloons, and a poster reading, “Benvenuto a casa Zacon Gio! Nostro campione,” (Welcome home Zacon Gio! Our champion), Franco returned to a block party at his Ribar Caffé in southeaster Naples. While Zacon Gio’s Yonkers International Trot winner’s circle celebration was lively, Franco received even more support for his homecoming. Posters and balloons in the Italian colors adorned every table and wall of the corner restaurant while banners flew over the street from one building to another and corks flew out of champagne bottles. At another event, Franco crafted a pizza with his trotter’s name on it as a tribute. The SOA of NY’s Brandon Valvo caught up with Franco to reflect on Zacon Gio’s Yonkers International Trot victory and the celebrations that followed…. BV: It’s been over a month since Zacon Gio won the Yonkers International Trot. Has the win sunken in? What was the experience like as you look back at it? GF: More than a month has passed, but I tell you that I think about it almost every day and it was an indescribable emotion. BV: Does winning a race like the Yonkers International Trot change your life? GF: Life at the racetrack, certainly. Personal life, no. BV: There was a huge crowd in the winner’s circle after the race. Can you tell me a little about who was there? What did it mean to you to have so many people there supporting you and the horse? GF: I think that we brought 17 people from Italy between family and team of ‘Zacon.’ Then in America, there is my family, so we were more than 30 people to support Zacon Gio. BV: The Zacon Gio suitcases really caught my eye! Did you have those custom made just for this trip? GF: We made it for this American trip, and I do not hide that we had so many compliments.” BV: It looked like there was a big celebration for Zacon Gio when you returned home. I saw pictures of balloons, posters, flags, banners, I think I even saw a picture of a pizza with Zacon Gio’s name on it! Tell me about the celebrations and the parties when you got home. GF: After we got back from the airport, we went out to an activity at my restaurant and bar and I tell you that the whole neighborhood participated in this beautiful party and it was a very beautiful thing. Then there was another activity of mine at a pizzeria and we invented a pizza with the name Zacon Gio and it is having so much success. BV: How did harness racing fans in Italy react to Zacon Gio’s win? GF: They were happy. BV: How long have you owned racehorses? How did you get involved in the sport? GF: I was born into horses because my father (Giovanni) owns a stable that is 50 years old. BV: How did you acquire Zacon Gio? GF: ‘Zacon’ we purchased after he had done five races. I followed him and already he gave me the impression of an important horse. BV: Did anything stand out about him when you first acquired him? Did you always think he was special? GF: I always thought he was a good horse, but did I think that he could then become ‘Zacon’ and win the International Trot, I tell you the truth, no. BV: How did you feel before the Yonkers International Trot? Were you confident, nervous, or both? GF: I was very excited. I knew we played it because Holger (Ehlert) had told me we were going to America with the right confidence to be able to fight the victory. BV: Had you ever been to America or to New York City before? GF: I was in America 7 years ago on my honeymoon. BV: Zacon Gio is still a young horse. Are you excited about his future? What other big races would you like to compete in going forward? GF: The horse is young and healthy this makes us hope that it can have a long career. The next goal will be the Gran Premio Lotteria at Agnano in Naples, my city of origin. Then I would like to participate in the Prix d'Amérique next year and schedule a return to America and make two or three races in America. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

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