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It was only one start but for Francesco Laosa a chance to drive a pacer proved fruitful when the Sicilian professional harness racing finished second in the one race that he drove at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, June 22. According to his friend Marco Barone who doubled as his interpreter, the Italian speaking professional driver and his wife Carola are celebrating their honeymoon with a two week holiday in North America. And through some help from friends LaRosa made a connection with Monticello trainer Dan Gill who offered him a drive behind one of his pupils, Park it Park It, a 4-year-old altered son of Big Bad John. Sent off at odds of 8-1 from the three hole in race five LaRosa allowed John DeSimone and Eye Candy to take the lead and then was comfortable with a two-hole trip all the way. However, in the lane Park It Park It flattened out and couldn't gain on the pace-setter and finished second a length behind Eye Candy in the 1:57paced mile. Asked how it felt to drive a pacer LaRosa replied through his translator, Barone:" It was smooth and steady," and then added "the pacer was easier to handle than a trotter." A winner of a few hundred races in his homeland the opportunity to drive a pacer was special to the 30 year LaRosa since only trotters are raced in Italy, and for that matter all though continental Europe. LaRosa and his dad handle a considerable stable based in Palermo, Sicily. Their horses compete at racetracks in Palermo, Siracusa, Garigliano and Naples as well as various racetracks in southern Italy. After the Monticello race Francesco and Carola, along with Mario Barone and his son Rylee, were headed to the Big Apple . After a short stay in New York City the LaRosa's will be on to California and then to Cancun, Mexico before returning home to Sicily The Barones will leave NYC and head back to their home in the upper peninsula of Michigan. By John Manzi

Today the Norwegian Trotting Association published the verdict in the doping case against French harness racing trainer Fabrice Souloy, who had four trotters test positive for Cobalt in June 2016 at Bjerke, Oslo. Souloy was banned from training and driving for 15 years and fined $60,000. The association had wanted Souloy banned for life and fined $25,000. Souloy is still awaiting a verdict from the Swedish Trotting Association regarding a positive test from the Elitlopp 2016 -- also for Cobalt -- and it was thought that the two Scandinavian associations would have published their verdicts together. However, due to vacation the Swedish verdict is first expected to be known around July 5. At present Souloy is serving a one year ban in France after a positive test for Cobalt. by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent

June 19, 2017 - The Q+ this day was the Prix de Cognat-Lyonne at Vichy, raced for a purse of €38,000, and contested over 2850 meters by 18 starters. The 4/5 favorite Avrik de Guex (7g Joker de Rozoy-Quoumbaya de Guez) prevailed easily for harness racing driver J-M Bazire and owner/trainer J.Ph Ducher. 17/1 Anduro des Landes (7g Kesaco Phedo-Odemeraude) rallied for second reined by breeder/owner/trainer Sebastien Hardy. Third in the 1.14.3kr timed event was 16/1 Tessy du Moulin (1of Dahir de Prelong-Lune des Genets) with fourth and fifth to Victoria du Viaduc and Verso de Crennes. At Caen was the Prix de Corneville (purse €28,000, 2200 meters, 16 starters) with the 1.12.9kr victory going to 11.2/1 Reine du Zack (7f Zinzan Brooke Tur-Giulia Grif) with trainer Marco Smorgon at the lines. Scuderia Trotto Italia SAS owns the winner. 181/1 outsider Verse de Made (8g Lord du Pin-Miranda) was second for Lorenzo Donati, ahead of 9/1 Twitter (8g Offshore Dream-Face For Ever) driven by Sebastian Ernault for owner/trainer Bjorn Goop. Thomas H. Hicks

June 17, 2017 - The great Vivid Wise As (3m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall) took Saturday’s Gran Premio Nazionale (purse €187,000, 2250 meters autostart) at Milano over their 1050 meter oval. Enrico Bellei was the pilot for trainer Marco Smorgon. Allev. Della Serenissima SS bred the front-stepping winner of 10 of 11 career starts, and three for three this year, now for €260,821 earned. Timed in 1.12.7kr, the winner bested Vitruvio (3m Adrian Chip-Tigre OM-Zebu) driven by Pietro Gubellini and third went to Vessillo As (3m Mondiale OK-Yankee Dapple-Donerail) with Edouardo Baldi at the lines. This one was bred by the same farm as the winner. The undercard showcased the Gran Premio Nazionale Filly (purse €66,000, 1650 meters autostart) and the 1.13.7kr timed winner was Valdivia (3f Adrian Chip-Love On The Rocks-Donerail) driven by Roberto Vecchione. The winner recorded her fifth career victory in 13 starts, as she defeated Villa Santina Jet (3f Igor Font-Lunigiana Jet-Supergill) and Vale Capar (3f Conway Hall-Madame Capar-Supergill).  Scuderia Sant’Andrea SM bred the winning filly. Thomas H. Hicks

June 1, 2019 - Daniel Reden trainee Propulsion (6m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) took today’s Norrbottens Store Pris (Gr. I International UET Masters, 1,000,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, 10 starters) clocked in 1.10.8kr and reined by Orjan Kihlstrom. Stall Zet owns Propulsion, now with a 2-3-0 slate in eight 2017 starts for 3,773,250SEK for the year. His career late is 21-8-4 in 45 outings for 9,607,195SEK earned. The 1.6/1 favorite defeated Italy’s Oasis Bi (9m Toss Out-Up Front JM-Self Possessed) with Kim Eriksson up and In Vain Sund 5m Revenue-Staro Yasmine-Supergill) with Per Linderoth up, again for the Reden/Stall Zet team. Nadal Broline and Rocky Winner completed the top five. On the undercard was the Sven Ekonomi V75 Silver raced over 2140 meters autostart for 125,000SEK first prize. The 1.4/1 favorite Whitehouse Express (6m Yankee Glide-Miss Garland-Garland Lobell) teamed with Orjan Kihlstom for Reden/Stall Zet, scored in 1.12.7kr. This pair defeated Officer CD (6g Scarlet Knight-Kiss of Life-Tenor de Baune) with Robert Bergh the trainer/driver, and Catch The Cash (7f Gigant Neo-You Never Can Tell-Mr. Lucken). Another interesting winner this day was 32/1 Grand Ale (7g Love You-Mustang Donna-Pine Chip) in the Jekob Top 7 Bronze Division raced over 1640 meters autostart for 110,000SEK to the winner. Hannu Hietanen teamed this one to defeat Annabelle Diamond and Nochebuena Face, timed in 1.12kr. Thomas H. Hicks  

June 17, 2017 - The June 16 Quinte+ Paris-Vincennes Prix Eudora (purse €60,000, 2850 meters, 16 starters European) went to 1.13.8kr timed and 1.7/1 favorite Attaque Parisienne (7f Hulk des Champs-Pecadille de Mai) with Sebastien Ernault at the lines for owner/trainer Franck Harel. Holding second was 18/1 Minas Invercote (8f Viking Kronos-Monas Speranza) handled by trainer Bjorn Goop. Third to the line was 42/1 Olimpus Caf (9m Varenne-Eviola’ Caf) with Franck Ouvrie in the sulky for J.Et. Le Bec. Also on June 16 at Vincennes was the Prix Tolosa (purse €56,000. 2100 meters, 15 starters). 2.4/1 Calencia (5f Quaker Jet-Olenclaj) was victorious timed in 1.12.6kr and was driven by Gabriele Gelormini for breeder/owner/trainer Alphonse Vanberghen. 3.7/1 Schubert (6m Abano As-Glide Be Nimble) was the second place horse for driver Franck Nivard, owner Gerrits Recycling BV (Holland) and trainer Philippe Billard. 28/1 Crepe de Satin (5f Le Retour-Ina d’Avril) finished third for Pierre Sorais, with fourth to 10/1 Butler (6m Ready Cash-Odyssee d’Isques) for Eric Raffin and Anders Lindqvist, breeder/owner/trainer. The June 17 Quinte+ was at Enghien in the form of the Prix des Invalides (purse €52,000, 2875 meters, 18 starters). 5.6/1 Brune des Forges (6f Rolling d’Heripre-Salsa d’Orgeres) was victorious in the time of 1.14.2kr for pilot David Thomain. Sebastian Guarato trains the winner of Louis d’Aur. 7/1 Angel d’Or (7g Ganymede-Gloria de l’Iton) took second for Francois Lecanu and 4/1 Black Jack From (6g Scipion du Goutier-Off Key) was third or Eric Raffin. Athos des Volos and Astral Viretaute were the fourth and fifth place finishers. Also that day at Enghien Soisy was the Gr. II Prix de New York (purse €110,000, 2150 meters, eight starters). The 5/10 odds favorite Valko Jenilat (8m Kepler-Perle du Roc) prevailed, timed in 1.13.1kr and teamed by Eric Raffin. Sebastien Guarato conditions this winner for G&F Raffre, the owners. 3.9/1 Cash Gamble (6m Ready Cash-No Way Back) was second for Franck Nivard, Stall T.J. Gamble of Norway and conditioner Philippe Billard. 16/1 Ulk Medoc (9m Karikal-Organza Haut Gilet) was home third for Anthony Barrier. Tony Gio and Truman Dairpet were the fourth and fifth to the line in this good field. Thomas H. Hicks

June 17, 2017 - Today’s Lady Flame DIJ (purse 600,000Huf, 2500 meters autostart) was the Kincsem Park feature and trainer/drtiver Imre Faekas scored with Titan Ville (5g Noir esir-Izaville-Endless Sands) clocked in a rated 1.21.6kr. The Zsolt Zselek owned and bred fast-class performer waited in fourth before moving first up with 1200 meters to go. At the 600 to go mark he surged to the front and was never headed as Titan Ville bested Universal Boy (4m Maximus Lindy-Golden Lady-Endless Sands) driven by Attila Szucs and third finishing Ugeto Star (4m Asmerica Dust-Intelligent Star-Oaklea Bluejay) reined by trainer Laszlo Kolozsi.  The secondary Kincsem Park feature was the Szeptevo DIJ (purse 400,000Huf, 1900 meters autostart) and this very competitive event was won narrowly by Sultano Jet (6f Igor Font-Art Deco-Diamond Way) clokced in 1.17.9kr. Driver/co-owner Gyorgy Horvath placed his mare in a perfrect second over spot behind Insa (5f Alesi OM-Ines-Scurry Lobell) and Imre Fazekas, before tipping three wide at top of stretch to take the lead and hold off second finishing Henrik Ibsen AT (6m Worship-Her Own Child-Imposant Sund) for Tibor Hajnal. Insa held for third. Winning Sultana Jet has six wins and three placings in 10 starts this year. Consistency!!! The day’s amateur event was the Amatorvserseny Handicap (purse 360,000Huf, 1900 meters autostart) and the 1.21.6kr timed winner was Talizman (6m Ata Star L-Igizgyorgy-Valley Guardian) reined by Andrea Fazekas (Imre’s daughter) for trainer Balazs Juhasz. Second went to Szajoldj! (6f Wall Street Banker-Witsends Speedy) and Red Stone (7g Wall Street Banker-Astalavista-Gus Lobell) took third for Ferenc Leanyfalvi.  Andrea was a Pompano Park USA winner some time ago as part of an international competition.Talizman with Andrea Fazekas Thomas H. Hicks  

June 17, 2017 - Johan Untersteiner and 13/1 Carabinieri (6m Wellino Boko-Dew Princess-JR Broline) stalked embattled pacesetter Timoko (10m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces-And Arifant) with Bjorn Goop up, and surged past with little yardage remaining to post a length victory timed in 1.11kr. The Kymi Grand Prix was raced over 2100 meters autostart and is a Gr. I UET Trotting Masters event. Carabinieri is trained by Peter Untersteiner and scored his fifth 2017 win in eight starts. The winning share of the €165,000 purse was €100,000. Timoko’ s son, Dreammoko (4m Timoko-Uranie d’Atout-Kaisy Dream) was third for Gabriele Gelormini and trainer Richard Westerink who conditions Timoko. Up And Quick was fourth for Joseph Verbeeck ahead of Big Headache and Heikki Mikkon. Buzz Mearas and Jorma Kontio tried early punishing tactics against Timoko and it failed miserably. The first 500 meters was clocked in a blistering 1.06.5kr time. The race preview and replay links are shown below. Preview: http://www.kouvolanravirata.com/kalenteri.htm Replay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhhVtxHynfk Earlier in the program the lightly raced but well-traveled Classic Connection (3m Love You-Cry’s Dream-Taurus Dream) recorded his first career win in four starts. Bjorn Goop drove the youngster for trainer Yves Boireau and breeder/owner Jean-Pierre Dubois. This one has been around, bred in Denmark, raced in France, Belgium.  Netherlands and now Finland. Thomas H. Hicks    

June 13, 2017 - The monte disciplined trotteur were on full display Tuesday evening at Paris-Vincennes starting with the Prix Loma (purse €54,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters). 7/1 Cassate (5f Neoh Jiel-Quiva du Rib) scored timed in 1.13.5kr for harness racing jockey Matthieu Abrivard and trainer J.Cl. Dersoir. 7.7/1 Corames (5f Speedy Blue-Reine Magic) was second reined by Mathieu Mottier for Dominique Mottier, and 3.4/1 Calin du Rhonneau (5m First Way-Oscara  de Chenu) was third with Anthony Barrier in the irons. Camille Levesque steered 2.8/1 favorite Cerm du Caieu (5g Orlando Vici-Kalmie de Retz) was fourth for Mlle. Camille Levesque. The Gr. III featured Prix Jean Paul Fairand (purse €90,000, 2175 meters, 14 monte starters) produced a quick timed 1.11.5kr score by 20.5/1 Ulka des Champs (9f Offshore Dream-Melissa des Champs) with Alexandre Angot in the irons for trainer Gilles Cuvens. 5.7/1 Vaquero du Mont (8m Kaisy Dream-Lecovia) took the second spot for Mlle. Lolita Balayn. Third in this event was the 1.8/1 Arlington Dream (7g Ready Cash-Ialla Chairchamp), reined by Mlle. Delphine Bessey for owner Fredrik Sauque and renowned trainer Philippe Allaire. Thomas H. Hicks

June 12. 2017 - On June 11 harness racing action was at St. Omer in the Prix St. Omer (purse €34,000, 2625 meters, 16 starters) with victory earned by 1.7/1 Borginio (6m Prince Gede-Rascalia) driven by David Thomain. The 1.16.4kr timed winner is owned by breeder/trainer Alphonove Vanberghen. 10/1 Boss du Manny (6g Rocklyn-Queen du Manny) took second for Franck Ouvrie driving for trainer Stephane Meunier and owner Mme. Marcon Dupuis. Third was 8.4/1 Barnue de Janeiro. At Montlucon-Neris-Les-Bains was the prestigioius 7th leg of the Trophee Vert series, this one named the Grand Prix de la Ville de Montlucon (purse €45,000, 3000 meters distance handicap, 16 starters). The untimed winner on dq was 16.4/1 Byron du Klau (6g Opium-Kitty) for trainer/driver Jean-Pierre Lecourt and owner G.D. Antoine. The 50 meter handicapped Tresor Wic (10m Jag de Bellouet-Epona Vinn) was second for Anthony Barrier and his trainer Laurent Simon, this horse a leading Trophee Vert performer consistently. Third placed was 43/1 Ugo des Jacquets (9g Mood West-Elisa des Jacquets). The PMU  network broadcast the card from partner Malta and the Prix de Vincennes (purse €6,000, 2140 meters, 12 starters) was one of those events. The 1.15kr timed winner was 15/1 Uvario (9g Ulf d’Ombree-Nowadays) driven by Charles Dabono for trainer E.E. Arimg and owner Prestige Malta. 10/1 Rififi Nonantais (12g Kerido du Donjion) was second for Nicholas Baldachino with third to 19/1 Unrefundable (9g Offshore Dream). Action at Vitre this day was the Prix de la Societe du Cheval Francais (purse €32,000, 3225, 16 starters, on turf). That event went to even-money favorite Azur des Caillons (7m Quaker Jet-Douce Nuit) handled by owner/trainer Matthieu Abrivard. 42/1 Victoria de Marty (8f Kool du Caux) was second ahead of 32/1 Verso de Crennes (8g Islero de Bellouet). On June 12 PMU covered action from partner Norway, at Jarlsberg. The Prix du Paris-Saint-Germain (purse €4,333, 2100 meters, 11 starters) went to 1.16kr clocked and 2.4/1 odds Fendi Draviet (5g Federal Flex-Johannita) driven by trainer Jeppe Juel for owner Shald Fenris. The Angus Hall-Taylor Seelster gelding Enjoythefuture SC was second at 12/1 and 4/5 favorite Revenue Lavec (4m Revenue-Joyful Lavec) took third for trainer Frode Hamre and driver L.A. Kolle. At Nancy-Barbes was the Prix Ecole de Nancy for a purse of €30,000, raced over 2600 meters by 14 starters. 9.7/1 Vakato (8g Biesolo-Kawabata) was victorious timed in 1.15.5kr and reined by Romain Derieux, also trainer, for owner Mauriette DeSousa. 10/1 Ariane d’Arry (7f Oyonnax-Pensee dArry) was second ahead of the Ronny Kuiper driven 61/1 outsider Victorious Love (8g Love You-Mahana). Thomas H. Hicks  

June 11, 2017, Bjerke -   Italy’s Twister Bi (5m Varenne-Lorraine Bi-Lemon Dra) rallied off cover three wide in the final bend for driver Christoffer Eriksson and ran down then leading Lionel (7m Look de Star-Aurora Sign-Smok’n Lantern) and owner/driver Goran Antonsen to win the Gr I UET Masters Series VG Oslo Grand Prix at Bjerke. Raced in the fog and rain the Jerry Riordan trainee, owned by Pasuquale Ciccarelli, earned 1.5NOK million for the win, his 19th in 45 career starts. Total purse was 2,770,000NOK. Timed in 1.12.6kr the winner bested a game Lionel, trained by Daniel Reden, that raced in the death seat through much of the 2100 meter autostart event, Third was Aubrion du Gers (7g Memphis du Rib-J’Arrive du Gers-Baccarat du Pont) with Joseph Verbeeck catch-driving for trainer Jean-Michel Bazire. Takethem and DD’s Hitman ended fourth and fifth. Photos below – finish, stretch drive, happy trainer and driver. Pacesetter Dante Boko and well-regarded Volstead, BBS Sugarlight, Your Highness and Cruzado Dela Noche were among the also-rans today. Winning trainer Jerry Riordan, always a great post-race interview, commented that his horse raced today for the first time in an American sulky and with pull out ear-plugs, and like Varenne, is always a tough competitor, who can beat anybody with a good trip. Today he got that good trip. The undercard included the Energima Cup (final with 300,000NOK to the winner and 100,000NOK for winners of the two eliminations) with the elims and final raced over 1609 meters autostart. The final, pictured below, went to Italy’s Turno di Assiurra (5m Love You-Foga di Aziurra-Lemon Dra) in rein to Orjan Kihlstrom for trainer Erik Bondo, and timed in 1.11.5kr. He won his elimination timed in 1.11.8kr in a dead-heat with Thai Broadway (8m Broadway Hall-Isabella Knick-Tap In) reined by trainer Bjorn Goop. Thai Broadway was second in the final.  The other elim was won by Donatomite (5g Donato Hanover-Malvictorian-Malabar Man) for trainer/drive Frode Hamre timed in 1.10.9kr with victory over Victory Bonsai (6m Kadabra-Victory Bouquet-Balanced Image) with Mika Forss driving the Heikki Korhonen trainee. Bonsai was third in the final.  Canari Match and Phantasm SOA Win at Bjerke June 11, 2017 - Today’s Oslo Grand Prix day of racing showcased top flight three, four and five year-old trotters plus open class mares. Starting in reverse order with the Finn Tack Europamatch (purse to winner 300,000NOK, 2100 meters autostart) for the five year-olds, the winner was 1.12.9kr clocked Canari Match (5m Extreme Aunou-Ruelle d’Ostal-Joe l’Amoroso) for Orjan Kihlstrom. Daniel Reden trains this one. Second was the Jerry Riordan trainee Tango Negro (5m Infinitif-Lisetta Real-Lemon Dra), with third to the mare Trendy OK (5f Varenne-Annette Hanover-Sierra Kosmos) handled by Alessandro Gocciadoro. She was one of only two females in this event. French Laundry was fourth in the nine horse field. The four year-olds contested the Gjensidige (purse to winner 200,000NOK, 1609 meters autostart) and that fine group was vanquished by Phantasm SOA (4m Cromwell-Uiver H-Uxer LB) driven by Bjorn Goop for trainer Olivier Raffin. This Norway  bred colt now has two 2017 wins in three outings and nine career victories in 16 starts. Off at 5/2 odds, Phantasm SOA scored in 1.12kr over Makethemark (4m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) reined by Ulf Ohlsson. Third was Dominion Beach (4m Muscle Hill-Windylane Hanover-Lindy Lane) driven by Orjan Kihlstrom and is Stefan Melander trained.  Three year-olds battled in the Support Justice (200,000NOK to the winner, 2100 meters autostart). That event was won by Black Talisman (3m Sam Bourbon-Netherlee Way-Muscles Yankee) driven by trainer Magnus Teien Gundersen. Second was Championchip (3m Pine Chip-Madam Lavec-Egon Lavec) for Per Oleg Midtfjeld. Third was Robin GT (3m Broadway Hall-Linderchip GT-Enjiy Lavec) for Asbjern Tengsareid in the 1.15.1kr timed contest. Earlier was the Stayerloop (200,000NOK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart, distance handicapped). One of non-penalized horses was the winner, Titanium Gar (5g Daguet Rapide-Lady Killer Gar-Varenne), with Hugo Landgweg Jr. the pilot and timed in 1.15.6kr. Totem d’Azur (10m Joao Panca-Heidi l’Indienne-Butin du Vivier) was second at 21/1 for trainer/driver Junior Guelpa, overcoming a 40 meter penalty. Third was another 40 meter handicapped entry, Reckless (7m Ready Cash-Haver-Supergill) driven by trainer Bjorn Goop. The aged mares battled in the Flaata Eiendom (200,000NOK first money, 1609 meters autostart) and it produced a quick 1.11.7kr victory by Italy’s Shadow Gar (6f Pine Chip-Lady Killer Gar-Varenne) for Erik Adielsson and trainer Erik Bondo. This one is a half-sister to the above described Stayerlopp winner Titanium Gar. Shadow Gar, pictured below, now has four wins in 2017 from eight outings. Second this day was Indoor Voices (6f Yankee Glide-Celebrity Whisper-SJs Caviar) handled by Orjan Kihlstrom, ahead of Alwaysinblackpedia (6f Muscle Hill-Baker Black Jet-Supergill) driven by trainer Frode Hamre.  One cannot complete the program coverage without mentioning the Kingsrod Trading Monte (100,000NOK to winner, 1609 meters autostart). Sofia Adolfsson was in the irons on Nantucket (11m Viking Kronos-Malabar Lady-Valley Victory), shown below, as that one scored quick timed in 1.11.6kr. Tosca Victory (7m Up di Poggio-Tootsie Rich-Super Arnie) was second for Henriette Larsen, and third went to Quality QC (6g Going Kronos-Tina QC-Quadrophenio) and jockey Christina A. Hande. Well-regarded Tsar de Houelle, Call Me Hanover and O’Grady were back of these.  Thomas H. Hicks

June 10, 2017 - Saturday was a special trotting raceday at Kincsem Park with two classic events. The Nemzeti DIJ (purse 2Huf million, 1960 meters distance handicapped) went to 1.18.8kr timed Villam Ville (3g Beissinger Hanover-Izaville-Endless Sands) driven by trainer Imre Fazekas for owner Pimri i. Walking John M (3m Cigar Dan-Dream Broline-Ald Palema) was second for Istvan Papp, also trainer, and third was the 40 meter age penalized Urilany R (4f Maximus Lindy-Elegant Lady-Mill H) piloted by trainer Veljko Maszity. The co-feature was the Dr. Jozsef Versekloy Memorial (purse 2Huf million, 1800 meters autostart, seven starters, two heats and raceoff). The opening heat went to 1.16.9kr timed Time To Say Goodbye (5m Maximus Lindy-Jungfrau-Valley Guardian) driven by Lajos Marton. Speedy Boy (6g Wall Street Banker-Vas Lady-Endless Sands) was second for trainer/driver Veljko Masity. Third was Rocket Boy (7g Wall Street Banker-Ekegany Lady-Mill H) reined by trainer Imre Fazekas. The top two were reversed in the second heat as Speedy Boy scored in 1.17.8kr ahead of Time To Say Goodbye and Rocket Boy. In the raceoff it was a tactical affair as Time To Say Goodbye jogged on the lead for the first 1200 meters until Speedy Boy made a bold backstetch bid, a bit early perhaps. After a head-to-head battle around the final bend Time To Say Goodbye pulled away for a two length win and the trophy, pictured below. The undercard saw some good action too. The Kekszakall DIJ (purse 400,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart) went to 1.18.7kr timed Euklid AT (4m Even Better Odds-Echalote-Credit Winner) for trainer/driver Tibor Hajnal. Rafael Bit and Urban Legend were the next two home. The Butterfly DIJ (purse 600,000Huf, 1900 meters autostart) resulted in victory for 1.17.8kr timed Spartakus Ans (6g Cantab Hall-Valganna OK-Lemon Dra) teamed by Csaba Lakatos for trainer Laszlo Toth. It was the winners’ fourth straight success. Timoteo and Donato Luis finished second and third. Driver Gyorgy Horvath scored another win, this time with the Imre Fazekas trained Sunny (6g Oncoming Hush-Vivian King-Crowning Point) in the Tokay Handicap over 2400 meters autostart. The sire Oncoming Hush, a winner of US$101,000, is a Sierra Kosmos half-brother to Hellava Hush, a former Nat Ray winner of over US$1.1 million. They are out of the mare Kindava Hush (Arndon-Quiet Elegance-Speedy Crown-Namarra), she a producer of 15 foals and winner of US$224,000 including the Lexington Filly and Johnston Memorial. One could say it’s a “Hellava” family. Thomas H. Hicks

June 10, 2017 - 7.9/1 Vasterbo Highflyer (9g Look de Star-Vasterbo Highclass-Pine Chip) took Saturday’s Gr. II UET Masters Series Jamtlands Stora Pris (700,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) clocked in 1.10.1kr and reined by Per Linderoth. Daniel Reden trains the winner for Stall Zet, as he recorded career victory 23 in 74 starts for 5,002,650SEK earned. 5.8/1 Spring Erom (12m Gentle Star-Springflickan-Prince Mystic) was second for Christoffer Eriksson and trainer Dan Widegren, Third went to 7/1 On Track Piraten (9g Kool de Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) for Johnny Taker and trainer Hans R. Stromberg. Oasis Bi and Shadow Woodland were the next two to the line.  Sunday the top flight action is at Bjerke with the feature being the Gr. I UET Masters Series VG Oslo Grand Prix worth 1.5 million NOK to the winner of the 2100 meter autostart event. The good lineup is shown below:   PP/Horse/Driver     1 1Volstead Örjan Kihlström     2 2Lionel N.O. Gøran Antonsen     3 3B.B.S. Sugarlight Peter Untersteiner     4 4Dante Boko Adrian Kolgjini     5 5Your Highness Björn Goop     6 6Cruzado Dela Noche Per Linderoth     7 7Twister Bi Christoffer Eriksson     8 8Aubrion du Gers Joseph Verbeeck     9 9D.D.'s Hitman Ulf Ohlsson     10 10Takethem Steen Juul       Thomas H. Hicks  

June 10, 2017 - The Saturday sunny harness racing card at Paris-Vincennes included top flight trots led by the Gr. II Prix Louis Jarel (purse €120,000, 2175 meters, nine five year-old starters). The 5/10 favorite Carat Williams (5m Prodigious-Miss Williams) scored on dq timed in 1.11.1kr for driver David Thomain. Sebastien Guarato trains the winner for Mme. Francoise Deboudaud. 9.7/1 odds  Clif du Pommereux (5m Love You-Noune du Pommereux) was placed second for driver J-M Bazire, trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. Placed third was 18/1 Caid Griff (5m Password-Savane Griff) reined by Mathieu Mottier for trainer Guarato and Ecurie Griff. The cause of the placings was dq’d Cash and Go (5m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet), a full brother to Bold Eagle. On the program was the E-Q+ Prix de Villeneuve Sur Lot (purse €48,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters). 54/1 Picone (8m Credit Winner-Fabiaz) scored, timed in 1.13.2kr for trainer/driver Santo Mollo and Ecurie Don Miguel. 38/1 All Feeling (7m Otello Pierji-Quelle Cerencaise) was second for Christophe Martens, ahead of 97/1 outsider Vie de la Ferme (8g Quatre Juillet-Erika de Vilzy) reined by J.Ph. Monclin for Axel Wend, the breeder/owner. Another  interesting winner this day was in the Prix de Gien (purse €68,000, 2700 meters, 11 European starters), as 15/1 Hambo Transs R (3m Love You-Bewitched) scored for the excellent team of driver Robin Bakker and trainer Paul Hagoort. Mille Fleurs from Holland is the winning owner. Romain Derieux teamed the 2/5 favorite Anzida Liards (7m Look de Star-Nausicaa du Sud) to victory in the Prix du Quercy (purse €85,000, 2850 meters, 10 European entrants), timed in 1.13.5kr. David Bekaert trains the winner for breeder/owner Richard Padovani. 9/1 Orient Horse (9m Abano As-Irma del Rio) was second for Pierre Levesque and Glen Ord Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Onions Hilda) took third for Christophe Martens. Later in the program the Prix de Fecamp (purse €50,000, 2700 meters, 17 starters) went to 1.13.5kr timed and 11/1 odds Cicero Noa (5g Mandarino Blu-Ma Belle Reine). Pierre Vercruysse teamed the winner for breeder/owner/trainer Jan Vanhoucke. Then, three year-old fillies took to the track for the Prix d’Istres (purse €8,000, 2700 meters, 11 European starters) with the 31/1 odds Estola (3f Nectar-Nika) prevailing for pilot David Thomain, trainer Emmanuel Ruault and Ecurie Comte P. de Montesson. 14/1 Elite du Ruel (3f Timoko-Romance du Ruel) was second for trainer/driver Franck Anne. Third home was Electra Jet (3f Ready Cash-Olivia Jet) that was bred by Jean Etienne Dubois and now owned by Ecurie de As and trained/driven by Pierre Vercruysse. Primula Brazza’ Wins Q+ at Vincennes June 9, 2017 - 19/1 Primula Brazza’ (8f Oiseau de Feux-Erlarosa Brazza’) took the Friday evening Quinte+  Prix Titania (purse €48,000, 2850 meters, 16 starters) at Paris-Vincennes. Franck Nivard was the pilot for Scuderia Dell’Acquario and trainer Salvatore Carro. 11/1 Auro Normande (7f Ready Cash-Normandia) took second for owner/trainer/driver Eric Lambertz. Third home was 39/1 Baraka de Bellou (6f Prodigious-Olifina) and pilot Mathieu Mottier and Denis Elhalk, the trainer/owner/breeder. Race time was 1.14.5kr. On the same card was the Prix Adalberta (purse €56,000, 2850 meters, 13 European starters) and that 1.14.7kr clocked victory was earned by 9/10 favorite Cerenzo Turbo (5m Ganymede-Poesie de Vigne) from among a close pack at the finish. Franck Nivard teamed the Philippe Billard trainee that Ecurie Turbo owns and bred. 4.3/1 Tesauro (5g Flipp Roc-Iniziale) was second for pilot Alexandre Abrivard, ahead of 7.5/1 Titty Jepson (5f Varenne-Lama di Costa) reined by David Thomain for Vincent Lacroix, the trainer for Scuderia Nininni. Thomas H. Hicks

June 8, 2017 - On Tuesday (June 6) the harness racing action was at Avenches Suisse, and the featured Coupe des 5 Ans Switzerland (purse €13,976, 2350 meters nine starters) went to 1.15.1kr timed and 7/10 favorite Canoue de Bocage (5f Cygnus d’Odyssee-Ladylike). Trainer Loris Ferro was the pilot for owner Marlon Segl. 17/1 Global Spotify (5g Judge Joe-Claudia) took second for Marcel Humbert, trainer Rudolf Haller and Stall Allegra. Third was 8/1 Chopin du Martza (5m Ganymede-Polka du Martza) for trainer/driver Renaud Pujols. At Vincennes that day was the Groupe III Prix Caecilia (purse €80,000, 2700 meters, nine starters) with victory earned by 2.2/1 Dunbar (4m Look de Star-Ima du Houx). Eric Raffin teamed the Sebastien Guarato trainee for Pierre Pilarski. 9/2 Desiree (4f Ready Cash-Richesse d’Orient) was second for Alain Laurent, the driver/trainer for breeder/owner Etienne Desmet. Third was 4.4/1 Drole d’Espoir (4m Nem-Orphea de Nay) for J.Ph. Monclin. Race time was 1.13.6kr. The Prix Perseus at Paris-Vincennes (monte, purse €80,000, 2850 meters, 13 starters) produced a 1.12.9kr score by 2.6/1 Alpha Saltor (7m Paris Haufor-Glory d’Ariane) with Matthieu Abrivard in the irons for trainer David Bethouart and owner P.G. David. 11/1 Bolida Jenilou (6g Kesaco Phedo-Melodie Jenilou) took second for jockey Damien Bonne with 61/1 outsider Vaquero du Mont (8m Kaisy Dream-Lacovia) the third pair to the line including jockey Mlle. Lolita Balayn. 7/10 favorite Arlington Dream was fourth. On Tuesday at Ebreichsdorf (AUT) was the Pferdewetten.de Coup (purse €7,000, 1640 meters autostart, 11 entrants) and the 1.12.6kr timed winner was 4.2/1 Panic Launcher (7f Thai Tanic-Alert Launcher) reined by Sweden’s Johnny Takter for trainer Wolfgang Ruth. 3/2 favorite Evita Viking (7f Love You-Cindy Viking) was second for trainer/driver Gerhard Mayr. Third was 6/1 Pocahontas Diamant (6f Look de Star-Ionia Dei) and her pilot, trainer Gerhard Biendl. At Chatelaillons FR was the Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duran (purse €30,000, 2625 meters, 11 starters) with the 1.15.9kr clocked verdict to 3.2/1 Cash Okay (5m Ready Cash-Tresokay). Olivier Raffin was the pilot, he also the trainer for Norway’s K.O. Molander. Second went to 17.7/1 Romanesque (7m Love You-Guantanamera) reined by Rik Dupuydt for trainer Marc De Cock. Third was the 1.1/1 favorite Gross Weight (6m Scarlet Knight-Elma Jet) with Clement  Duvaldestin at the lines for his father, trainer Thierry. The same day at Reims was presented the Prix l’Association Roseau Reims (purse €32,000, 2550 meters, 12 starters).The 4/5 favorite Dominator (7m Donato Hanover-Untra Sund) survived a close battle to score for Eric Raffin timed in 1.14.9kr.Bjorn Goop trains the winner for Stall Kennys. 24/1 Userio de Carvel (9g Isero-Ullia du Carfvel) landed second for P.Y. Verva and trainer Cristian Rizzo. 3.2/1 Romi Mms (7f Turbo Sund-Goldy LB) was third driven by Franck Nivard for trainer Philippe Billard and owner Marko Slavic of SRB. The Q+ on June 7 was at Laval that hosted the Gr. III Grand National du Trot Paris-Turf for a purse of €90,000 and was raced by 18 rivals over 2875 meters distance handicapped. This sixth leg of the GNT series went to 3/1 Violine Mourotaise (8f LeRetour-Mourotaise) teamed by owner/trainer Emmanuel Raulline. The winner was clocked in a sharp 1.12.9 over the distance and scored her 11th career victory in 71 starts for €328,860 earned. 5.6/1 Baladin Hongrois (6g Bon Conseil-Reladie Hongroise) was next with Arnaud Desmottes up, and third was 18/1 Virgious de Maza (8g Prodigious-Pocket Edition) for trainer/driver Sebastian Ernault. These two were penalized 25 meters as were the fourth and fifth finishers, 3.4/1 Bugsy Malone and 38/1 Tiger Danover. 110.1 Ursa Major was sixth, also penalized 25 meters in this prestigious Quinte+ event. Thomas H. Hicks  

June 8, 2017 - 2.4/1 favorite Calin de Morge (5g Ozio Royal-Paradise Princess), shown below, took today’s Vichy FR featured Prix Vichy Celestins (purse €80,000, 3525 meters distance handicap, 18 starters) clocked in 1.15.8kr over the extended distance. Serge Peltier was the pilot for trainer David Haou and Ecurie HD Trot, the owner. The game 50 meter penalized and 27/1 Ulk Medoc (9m Karikal-Organza Haut Gilet) was a fast closing second for Anthony Barrier and owner/trainer Lionel Cesar. Third was the 25 meter handicapped and 16/1 Atout du Lerre (7g Oakwood du Closet-Haquikmie) for trainer/driver Franck Anne. Bel Avis was fourth in the beaten field that included Tagada Tagada and Be Mine de Houelle. Thomas H. Hicks    

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