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Grosbois, France – As one of the top harness racing drivers in all of Europe, Bjorn Goop knows his horses and he says that his horse in Sunday’s 900,000€ Grand Prix d’Amerique, Face Time Bourbon, is in prime shape. The horse heads into the Prix d'Amerique on a five-race winning streak. “The horse is good,” Goop stated. “I think it is I that will need to have a little luck.” Goop was referring to and explaining that the Prix d’Amerique is so different from any other horse race because it is done from a standing start. There is no starting gate used for this world class field of horses. “It is not easy to be ready in a standing start,” Goop explained. “You have to stay in your general area and keep on moving, waiting for the word to start. You need to time it just right and yet you need some luck too. “You do not want to be last at the start,” Goop added, “And you do not want to be in the middle of the pack on the rail and then you are trapped for the race and cannot get out.” There are 18 horses going in the Prix d’Amerique, 18 older trotters, most of whom earned their way into the race by winning other Groupe races. More than half the field have each won over 1 million euros with Bold Eagle leading way. The two-time Prix d’Amerique winner has career earnings of 4,956,617€. A win, second or third place finish will put Bold Eagle over the 5-million-euro mark. Face Time Bourbon is a five-year-old stallion by Ready Cash, the same sire as Bold Eagle, who also won the Prix d’Amerique twice. The 2019 race season was superb for Face Time Bourbon as he started just 11 times with 9 wins and two second place finishes. Every one of his starts was in a Groupe I, II or III races. Face Time Bourbon is trained by Sebastien Giuarato, who has three starters in the Prix d’Amerique, Face Time Bourbon, Valko Jenilat and the mare, Billie de Montfort. Face Time Bourbon is owned by Scuderia Bivans SRL, who also has Vivid Wise AS in the Prix d’Amerique. Bjorn Goop has his choice of whom to drive in the Prix d’Amerique and he choose Face Time Bourbon. “He is such a great horse,” Goop said. “He can race well from behind or can go on the front. I think for this race maybe we sit in the middle and see what happens. He is coming into this race in very good shape.” Goop is no stranger to the Prix d’Amerique. He won the race in 2018 with Readly Express and then raced back with him again in 2019 and was third. This past year Goop scored his 7,000th career win and has over 2,000 wins as a trainer. Track Notes: Of the 18 starters in the Prix d’Amerique, 8 are mares. All 18 horses will be not be wearing shoes in the race, which is not uncommon in European trotting. It was also reported that the Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) have posted a better-than-forecast set of provisional results for 2019, with turnover of €9.56 billion and an operating profit returned to fund racing and trotting of €760 million. That is €13 million ahead of budget and will be welcome news to both the Trotters and Thoroughbreds, both of whom have been forced to tighten their belts in terms of running costs in recent years. Saturday’s race card at Vincennes will feature the Groupe II Prix de Luxembourg with a purse of 100,000€. Thursday first day of the Arqana-Trot Prix d’Amerique Sale saw 152 lots presented with 95 sold (62.5%) for gross proceeds of 1,263,000€. Stallion shares and broodmares highlighted the offering, many of the mares being in foal. Charmeause Mayjc (8f Prince Gede) led the sale at 120,000€ to AM Bloodstock. She was bred to Love You in 2019 and is barren, but her Ganymede first dam Teza Josselyn has produced the million euro plus winner Uza Josselyn that starts in Sunday’s Prix d’Amerique. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Vincennes, France – The maiden visit to the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes was an amazing experience to this first-time visiting American. And I never saw a horse on the track. There was no live racing today because the entire grandstand area was jammed packed with exhibits for the Prix d’Amerique Horse Expo plus outside was the annual ARQANA Trot horse sale. Just about anything you could imagine for your horse was there and so were the people, hundreds of people, visiting the booths, socializing with friends and business acquaintances, making deals for stallion breeding’s. They had just about everything that you could want for your horse and then some. And there was champagne, not just bottles, cases and more. Of the 100 or so exhibits I think 70% of them offered perspective business associates’ champagne. And we all drank some. Well, more than just some. I also saw tons of empty bottles stacked or being tossed out. “When you are in France, you drink champagne,” said Filip Van Hauwermeiren, a top breeder and trainer from Belgium who owns Star Breeding. “It is actually less expensive than bottled water or coke.” Hauwermeiren was promoting his stud farm where he not only has local stallions, but can provide breeders with frozen semen from world champion stallions Father Patrick, Trixton, Southwind Frank, Propulsion and Paster Stephen. There were plenty of stud farms there, along with a huge display from Finn Tack of all the equipment you can imagine from harnesses to jogging and race sulkies. There were horse shoes, feed, track surface materials, even a small backhoe just perfect for the smaller farms. Out of the racetrack, on the apron area you could check out the latest horse vans and trailers. There was even a big display of newest Hippocenter that sells swimming treadmills and water therapy units for horses. They even had the newest portable washing machine called My Groom that is able to clean all horse equipment. Not just a winter blanket that a horse has been rolling in the mud with. But you can even throw in the harness and bridle with the bit and this machine will clean it right up and in many cases all you need is the cleaning soap and a little water. It was just amazing. And, for those of you that are hungry, and we all need some food after drinking all that champagne, then just stop by one of the many concession stands that sold hamburgers and fries or perhaps a two pound lobster, some colossal shrimp, oysters and clams for $100 per person. They had it all there.   Check out the photos as they can tell the story of what this major Expo was all about. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Grosbois, France – Growing up in New Jersey in the USA and getting into the harness racing industry, I was around when they broke ground and built exquisite training facilities at Showplace and Gaitway Farms. But they are not that exquisite when compared to Grosbois, just outside of Paris, France. In fact, there may not be another harness racing training facility in world that could be compared to Grosbois. Upon entering the grounds, the entrance way features wrought-iron 20-foot gates attached to 12-foot walls that encompass the entire facility, which is just over 1,000 acres in size. In the far distance you can see a huge Manor House and green grass and dirt roads, also paths that lead to wooded areas with harness racing trotters galore jogging about. We were greeted at the horsemen’s entrance by Damien Beau, who is with the International Department of LeTROT, that oversees all of trotting in France. He was our guide for the private tour. We first went to the home of renowned Swedish and French trainer Anders Lindqvst, who was so kind to show us his home, his office, and his attached courtyard with maybe 40 stalls filled with trotters. There are no pacers in Europe except for Ireland and England. Linqvist first became interested in harness racing at the age of 14. “I wanted to be a professional soccer player,” Linqvist said. “But someone took me on a jog with a horse and I really liked that. My father wanted me in the family business,” Lindqvist added. “but after I worked with the horses a little, I trained a fast mile and that feeling convinced me to go into harness racing. “My first good horse I got I was age 22,” Lindqvist recalled. “And it was at that point that I said goodbye to working for my father part-time and took up harness racing full time. This horse, which gave me many wins, was at the time, sadly named Mr. Nixon. But despite his name he was my foundation horse. Mr. Nixon raced for me 431 times. That is the all-time record still in Sweden. “Then I was once racing in the Elitloppet in 1985,” Lindqvist said. “And after the race with Viroid (finished 5th) I was contacted by Mr. Lew Barash in the USA, asking me to come and race in the International Trot at Roosevelt Raceway and then I was hooked on international racing. “From there I was on my own for ten years,” Lindqvist explained. Until the great trainer/driver Jean-Pierre Dubois asked me to work for him in France. It was like being invited to be part of the Dream Team in basketball and I have been here ever since.” Lindqvist has driven in 19 countries, even twice in Russia. “When I won my first race in Russia,” Lindqvist said. “I got towards the winner’s enclosure, they stopped me and said they had to take my whip away. This was some security people and I did not understand why. Then I saw that the trophy was going to be presented to me by President Valdimir Putin and realized security would not let anyone get near him with a whip. That was something very special in my life.” Anders home has four bedrooms in addition to the attached 40 horse stalls and he said he pays around $8,000 per month rent for everything. That might seem a lot, but he also rents his spare bedrooms and most of his stalls to other trainers for their horses. He said it is like that throughout Grosbois, although some of the beautiful homes and barn areas are leased by horse owners, who turn around and rent or trade rooms/stalls for trainers and grooms to take care of their horses. Lindqvist also has a coffee vending machine in his office. Why one might ask and Anders jokingly said because during the winter season he has so many visitors he gives away around 4,000 cups of coffee. There are over five miles of just jogging tracks at Grosbois. It also has two tracks that horses can fast work on, a five-eighths mile track and a 15th/16th mile track, where horses can qualify to race at nearby Vincennes Racetrack. They also have an equine hospital on the grounds that is used by some 15 veterinarians. That many vets are needed for the 1,500 racehorses that call Grosbois home throughout the winter season. There are also numerous blacksmith shops on the grounds. At Grosbois, there are about 60 people that work in track maintenance to keep the large grounds clean and the track surfaces in prime shape. They use three different materials that are used on the jogging tracks and horseman use certain courses depending if they want a deep cushion, harder or softer surfaces for the horse’s hooves. You will also see many trotters being ridden at Grosbois as in France they have many trotting races under saddle. This past weekend the richest monte race (monte means under saddle) in the world took place at the Vincennes track with 15 horses racing for a purse of 650,000 euros. There is also a very nice horseman’s cafeteria and a party room on the grounds, tennis courts and soccer fields. The jogging trails also cut through the massive wooded area of Grosbois where people jogging horses have come across wild boar, reindeer, foxes and many birds of prey. The entire area was purchased and developed into the training facility in 1962 and continues to grow. It is 11 miles from the outskirts of Paris and only six miles away from the Vincennes Racetrack. And what if the weather is raining but you still need to work your horse. Then you just head over to the covered training track or perhaps lunge-line your horse at the indoor arena. It’s all at Grosbois. Coming up on Thursday, it’s back to Grosbois we go, this time to visit the special Manor House that is home to the French Trotting Museum and more. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Tuesday’s Paris-Vincennes featured Prix de Pont-Audemar (purse 53,000€, 2100 meters autostart) saw 1.2/1 Golden Renka (4m Saxo de Vandel-Saskia des Emois) rally to a harnes racing victory for pilot Jean Michel Bazire, Ecurie Ostheimer and trainer J-M Baudouin.   The winner was clocked in 1.12.6kr as he won for the fourth time in 16 career starts, now for 108,190€ earned. 4.9/1 Gwendolo Bella (4m Booster Winner) was second for owner/trainer/driver Christophe Feyte and 5.4/1 Genet de Boitron (4g Ubriaco) took third with owner/trainer Franck Anne aboard.   Racing action returned on the weekend (January 19) at Madinina Martinique with the Prix de la Societe des Courses de Madinina (purse 5,000€, 2600 meters on the turf, distance handicap) and victory went to Beautiful Atout (9g Roc Meslois-Saga d’Atour) with owner/trainer Alexandre Faivre aboard. The winner recorded his first win in Martinique and first career victory now for 62,280€ earned. Bavarois Varlet and Boycott trained the winner, these two handicapped 50 and 25 meters.   Beautiful Atout On the Madinina card was also the Prix Claude Cayol (purse 5,000€, 2600 meters distance handicap on the turf) saw 25 meter handicapped Ussein Royal (12g Lilium Madrik-Heloire) score in 1.20.3kr for J.F. Gate, his third win in the last four starts and 13 th in his career, now for 83,160€ in life earnings. 25 meter penalized Unoki and non-penalized Avais Contraire trailed the winner to the line in a driving finish.   Thomas H. Hicks

Paris, France – Not a lot of people can really say in Paris that they know nothing about the Prix d’Amerique race this Sunday at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. It’s on nearly every major street pole intersection throughout this wonderful city. Big, bold and beautiful, a harness racing horse draped in the colors of the American flag. Every year the Prix d’Amerique is the richest race in the world for old trotters, only this year the prestigious event is even bigger as it is the 100th anniversary of this spectacular day of racing. The Grand Prix d’Amerique was created to pay homage to the Americans for the help which they gave to France during the First World War. And every year the French go all out in this special day as a tribute to America. The race card will have 11 races, most of them held in early on. Then it’s parade time with perhaps the greatest display of tribute to America taking place on the track. The drivers are brought in on Harley-Davidson antique motorcycles, stilt-walkers dressed in the Stars and Stripes, the prestigious French Lancers Brigade on horseback and much more will take place. And then there is the actual Prix d’Amerique race. There will be 18 of the world’s top older trotters and sadly no representation from North America this year. These horses will go from a standing start and race 2,700 meters (1.67 miles), up and down a slight hill on the course at breakneck speeds. And, they will be racing for total prize money of 900,000€ euros ($1 million dollars US depending on exchange rate). On the betting side, around $40 million euros ($44.3 million US) will be wagered on Sunday. There will be 40,000 plus people coming out to the racetrack to view the race and all the special festivities that day and approximately 36 countries will broadcast the race on four different continents. It’s a big deal to say the least. And what about the horses that have entered the race. The return winner from last year, Belina Josselyn, is back. She is one of only a handful of mares who will be taking on their male counterparts in the Prix d’Amerique. Jean-Michel Bazire trains and drives Belina Josselyn, who comes into the race off a very impressive triumph two weeks ago in the Grand Prix of Belgium at Paris-Vincennes. The nine-year-old mare by Love You is a career winner of 2,335,470€. Other world class champion trotters in the race include two-time Prix d’Amerique winner, Bold Eagle, who back in October 2019 traveled to Canada and won the Breeders Crown at Mohawk Park; 3.1 million euro winner Propulsion is shipping in from Sweden; 2018 Elitloppet winner Ringostarr Treb will be in the race for trainer Jerry Riordan, Face Time Bourbon, Beillie de Montford and a host of other top flight trotters will be in the race. Also, this week Harnesslink will be reporting from the world class training facility, Grosbois, plus coverage of the horse sale Thursday and Friday, the Standardbred Expo Friday and the superb race cards this Saturday and Sunday at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. It’s been sunny and around 40 in Paris as we toured the wonderful city a bit after landing this morning. There is a possible forecast of rain showers on Sunday and it is hopeful that will change later this week. Our hotel, the Pullman in Bercy Centre, is sold out this weekend as are other hotels in the area as the hype begins to build for the big race day on Sunday. Here are the leading 25 horses for the Prix d'Amerique. This number will get reduced to 18, By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

The 5/10 favorite Bilibili (9m Niky-Quetty du Donjon) stalked the leaders and wore them down in late stretch to win the Prix de Cornulier (Gr. I International Monte, purse 650,000€ 2700 meters, 16 starters) for jockey Alexandre Abrivard clocked in 1.12.1kr off even fractions. Laurent Claude Abrivard trains the winner for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Barjon as Bilibili repeated his 2019 victory and now has 14 career wins in 45 starts for 1,803,100€ earned. Roxane Grif was also a repeat winner in recent years (2015-16). The 17/1 Etoile e Bruyere (6f Kenor de Cosse) held second for Adrien Lamy and trainer Charles Dreux. Third was 14/1 Feeling Cash (5m Ready Cash-Royale Star) with Eric Raffin in the irons for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Carlos Lerner. The 75/1 Carla du Castelets and 31/1 Evangelina Blue completed the top five. The exact order Quinte+ top five payoff was 9.905.60 to 174 ticketholders. The Q+ pool was 5,808.430€ and over 11,937,000€ was wagered on the race.  To watch the replay, click here. The time of the race in kilometers was 1'12''1, which did not break last year’s record of 1'11''2, but it was still the 4th best time in the history of the race. Alexandre Abrivard signs a third victory in the Grand Prix de Cornulier, twenty days after being crowned Etrier d'Or for the second time. His trainer Laurent-Claude Abrivard won for the second time with the developer costume (he also won it as a jockey). For owner-breeder Jean-Pierre Barjon, this is a new triumph in one of the two biggest winter races at Paris-Vincennes, he too who saw his colors shine in the Grand Prix d'Amérique with Meaulnes of Corta . The Grand Prix d'Amérique whose 2020 edition is also on the horizon for next week. This time, the father and son Abrivards will be gathered around Excellent , winner of the Ténor de Baune Prize and candidate for the first places. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Today’s superb Belgique harness racing program also had other groupe level events on the stage. The Prix de Riberac (Gr. IiI, 70,000€ purse, 2700 meters, 15 starters) saw 5/1 Garibaldi (4m Love You-Venitienne) score in 1.13.4kr for Jean Phillipe Monclin and owner Manuel Martinez. The winner recorded his fourth career victory in 11 starts now for 126,780€ earned. The winner joined the hunt with slightly over 500 meters remaining and was a decisive factor in the lane. 17/1 Gelati Cut (4m Coktail Jet) was second for Alexandre Abrivard, ahead of 27/1 Galaxie du Goutier (4f Kaisy Dream) with Clement Duvaldestin aboard. The Prix Association Nationale des Turfistes (purse 67,000€, 2100 meters autostart) saw the turf writers on hand to make the winners presentation to 5.9/1 odds Belle Louise Mabon (9f Derby du Giute), the 1.11.9kr timed victorious trainee of breeder/owner/trainer Yves Dreaux. Eri Raffin was the pilot as Belle Louise won for the eighth time in 58 starts now for 358,980€ in life earnings. “Louise” was there to help receive the winners’ congratulations. The 7/10 favorite Charmeause Royale was second for owner/trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard ahead of Black Jack From reined by Jean Michel Bazire. Belle Louise Mabon The Prix Djerid (monte Gr. III, purse 90,000€, 2200 meters, eight European starters) completed today’s groupe action and in this one the 1.12.1kr winner was the game 5.2/1 Daida de Vandel (7f Real de Lou - Gallia de Vandel) handled by jockey Alexandre Abrivard for trainer Laurent Claude Abrivard. It was her 10 th career victory in 42 starts and her raised lifetime earnings to 402,580€. Eroa du Chene (6m Un Amour d’Haufor) was second with P.Ph. Ploquin in the irons for trainer Julien La Mer and owner Claude Guedj. 1.9/1 favorite Curly (8g Rolling d’Heripre) took third for jockey Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. Daida de Vandel With the day complete some analysts foresee an Amerique lineup that might look something like shown below. Here the bold print horses are those already qualified. Those with a question mark are just that, unknowns at this moment. Several of the outsiders are lifetime winners of over a million euro. It appears that the Cornulier (January 19) is not factored in below.   Thomas H. Hicks

Today’s Prix de la Cote d’Azur (Gr. III International, purse 120,000€, 2900 meters distance handicap, 16 starters) at Cagnes sur Mer in France saw 3.7/1 Elsa de Belfonds (6f Tornado Bello-Talfa) score off a 25-meter handicap. She was away on the lead for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch, then yielded to the pocket before escaping in the lane to draw clear. Ecurie Thomas Levesque owns this now 11-time career winner for 353,690€ earned. Race time was 1.14.2kr. The 2.7/1 favorite and 50-meter handicapped Earl Simon (6m Prodigious-Tindrana) was a game second for Ecurie Skytten, trainer Jarmo Niskanen and pilot Franck Ouvrie. The 31/1 Black d’Arjeanc (9g Prince d’Espace-Perle de Riviere), penalized 25 meters, was third with Eric Raffin up for trainer Nicolas Ensch. 50-meter handicapped Voltaire Gifont (6m Quaker Jet-Realm of Fancy) was fourth with trainer Pietro Gubellini up on this 88/1 outsider. The 44/1 Beffe Am (9g Enjoy Lavec) was fifth for Franck Marty. This race was the Quinte+ race of the day and the exact order winning tickets paid 95,586.00€ to six recipients. The Q+ pool was 3,716,532€ and the total of all pools on this race exceeded 8,091,000€. Yesterday at Cagnes sur Mer three year olds contested the Prix de la Cote Saint Andre (purse 18,000€, 2160 meters autostart) and it went to Hawai Island (3f Bold Eagle-Viva Island-Goetmals Wood-Island Dream) with Eric Raffin up for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois and trainer Kevin Vanderschelden. This was her second career victory and now she has earned 14,450€. Hidden Face (3f Brillantissime-Conquette A Deux) was second for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch for Ecurie le Tremont. Jean Pierre Dubois also bred this one. Hers and Mine (3f Bold Eagle-A Nous Deux) was third for Loris Garcia at the lines for breeder/owner JBD and trainer Vanderschelden. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Havana d’Aurcy (2f Royal Dream-Avila) took the Gr. II Prix Une de Mai (purse 150,000€, 2175 meters, two-year olds) this day at Vincennes for Jean Michel Bazire and harness racing breeder/owner Cyril Lelarge.   The .13.7kr clocked victory increased the winner’s life earnings to 86,700€. 21/1 Harrah Dibah (2f Brillantissime-Vanille des Noyer) was second for trainer Sebastien Guarato and driver Yoann Lebourgeois. Third went to 83/1 Habile Gede (2f Jeanbat du Vivier) was third for Damien Bonne.   Monte specialists battled in the Prix Sans Dire Qui (Gr. III, purse 80,000€, 2850 meters) with 3.9/1 Daida de Vandel (6f Real de Lou-Gallia de Vandel) prevailing for jockey Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Laurent Claude Abrivard. This was her ninth career victory for now 362,080€ earned. Race time was 1.12.9kr. 6.1/1 Emir de Rebomard (5g Kepler) was second with Julien Raffestin in the irons. Diamant de Treabat (6g Kuadro Wild) rallied for third with Clement Frecelle up for trainer/owner Pascal Monthule.   Daida de Vandel                      --LeTrot photo   The monte trotteurs also contested the Prix de Montemart (purse 56,000€, 2850 meter) with a 1.12.8kr victory earned by 9/10 favorite Chacha de Gontier (7f Olitro-Diana Kaer) ridden by Antoine Weils for trainer J.P. Marmion. This win was her 13 th in a career that has produced 234,440€ in life earnings. Chacha de Gontier                              --LeTrot photo The Quinte+ race of the day was on this card in the Prix d’Amboise (purse 56,000€, 2700 meters, 16 starters). 9/2 odds Datcha (6f Quoska des Arric) scored for Yoann Lebourgeois for owner Ecurie Comte P. de Montesson. Race time was 1.13.5kr. 9/2 Dastavia de Guez, 24/1 Dona Viva, 41/1 Dance d’Etang and 111/1 Belle du Matin completed the top five and there were six exact order winning tickets each paying 95.853.80€. The Q+ pool was 3,117,660€ and 6,966,000€ was wagered on the race.   Thomas H. Hicks

The 4/10 favorite Cleangame (7g Ouragon de Celland-Red Bell) easily overcame a 50 meter handicap to win today’s Gr. III Prix Jean Dumouch (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap) for trainer/driver Jean-Michel Bazire and owner J-M Rancoule. Cleangame won for the 32nd time in 49 career starts now for life earnings of 1,229,220€. Cleangame was away near the back and advance steadily on the leaders after 1000 meters. He engulfed the competition off the final turn and sped away to an four length margin of victory. Race time was 1.11.6kr (mile race 1:55.20) over the winner’s 2900 meter distance. Cleangame is quite a trotter, likely among the best currently racing. The 13/1 odds Tessy d’Ete (7f Ganymede-Love Me Tender) was second with Franck Nivard up and 5.2/1 Chica de Joudes (7f Jag de Bellouet) was third for Alain Laurent. 21/1 Balbir and 88/1 Anzi des Liards completed the top five with Ble de Gers and Cokstile earnings the sixth and seventh checks. This was the day’s Quinte+ race of the day and the exact order payoff was 1,467.00€ with 1,058 winning tickets. The Q+ pool was 5,786,169€ and 11,319,000€ plus was wagered on this race. The undercard included the Prix du Comite Regional d’Equitation (purse 56,000€, 2700 meters, European eligibles) and 2.3/1 Moni Viking (6m Maharajah-Jeunesse Doree) rallied to the 1.13.9kr clocked victory, his fourth in 12 starts in France, now for 214,091€ in life earnings. Pierre Vercruysse reined and trains the winner for Norway’s Jan Lyng. The 11/1 Darlington Park (6g Orlando Vici) took second for Franck Nivard and third was 35/1 Destin Carisaie (6g Uniclove) with Eric Raffin up. Earlier on the program was the Prix d’Auranches (purse 33,000€, 2100 meters autostart) and 2.3/1 Flora Venesi (4f Gazouillis-Mission Venesi) scored in a quick 1.12.3kr with Franck Nivard up for trainer Franck Leblanc, her fourth win in 14 career starts. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The Gr. III Prix Oscar Collard (purse 80,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 15 starters) at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes today went to 1.11.6kr timed and 2.8/1 odds Violetto Jet (5m From Above-Nocciolaia Jet) with Franck Nivard at the lines for trainer Philippe Billard and Scuderia d’Alessandro Raffaelo Sel. His career earnings advanced to 277,442€. The 1.6/1 Velvey Gio (5g Nad Al Sheba-Mind Wise As) took second for Bjorn Goop and trainer Magnes Dahlen. 10/1 Éclair du Mirel (5m Orlando Vici) was third handled by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer Suzanna Vachet. 20/1 Elvis du Vallon rallied for fourth ahead of 30/1 Heart of Steel (5g Cantab Hall). Violetto Jet and winning connections  Dreambreaker (6g Offshore Dream-Brooke Boko) returned to victory lane as the 7/10 favorite for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire. The time was 1.12.2kr and the race was the Quinte+ Prix Michel Thoury (purse 67,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters). Dreambreaker won for the eighth time in 24 starts, now for 361,378€ earned. The 29/1 Usain Henna (9m Super Light) was second ahead of 12/1 Unique Juni (6f Uptown Yankee). 7/1 Be One des Thirons and 21/1 Doum Jenilou completed the top five and set up a 13,427.60€ exact order payoff with 69 winning tickets. The Q+ pool was 4,406,887€ and 9,439,000€ was wagered on the race. Dreambreaker was an easy winner again at Vincennes Trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire returned to win the Prix Jules Lepennetier (purse 44,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 13 starters) with the 1.3/1 favorite Feydeau Seven (4m Reedeo Josselyn-Unanime Seie) scoring in 1.12.6kr for his seventh win in 17 career starts now for 151,190€ earned. Foraya de Cahot (4f Up And Quick) and First In Love (4m Goetmals Wood) trailed the winner. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The road to the Prix d’Amerique began today when the 2.9/1 Davidson du Pont (6m Pacha du Pont-Laguna du Pont) scored for harness racing driver Franck Ouvrie, trainer J-M Bazire and owner/breeder Albert Rayon with a superb late rush in the Gr. II Prix de Bretagne. Timed in 1.12.7kr over the 2700 meter course the winner earned 49,500€ of the 110,000€ purse in this contest with the top three .gaining entrance for the Prix d'Amerique. The winner earned his 12th career victory in 36 starts now for 899,410€ in life earnings. The 13/1 Chica de Joudes (7f Jag de Bellouet-Queschua Love) held second for Alain Laurent and 4.4/1 Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Classical Pine) was a very game third with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Bazire, this one traveling most of way on the outer, near the leader. The 16/1 Tony Gio (7m Varenne-Ilaria Jet) was fourth for J.Ph. Monclin and trainer Sebastien Guarato with fifth to 6.6/1 Enino du Pommereux (5m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Sylvain Roger. Belina Josselyn and Bilibil finished 14th and 15th. This race was the Quinte+ race of the day and the exact order payoff was 9535.20€ for a 2€ wager. The Q+ pool was 5,596,370€ and over 11,093,000€ was wagered in all pools on this event. by Thomas H Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Veteran monte performers contested this day’s Gr. III Prix de L’Ile d’Oleron (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap, European eligibles) at Paris-Vincennes with the victory to the 1.13.6kr timed Caban Prior (7g Sancho Panca-Fita Prior). Aureilien Desmarres was in the irons for trainer/owner Sylvain Desmarres as the winner recorded his 20th career victory now for 429,940€. He defeated the 25 meter handicapped Vetige de Chenu (10g Lynx de Bellouet-Neige de Chenu) with Eric Raffin aboard, with third to Boston Terrie (8g Kesaco Phedo-Nouvelle Idole) with Alexandre Angot up. The well-regarded and 25 meter handicapped Evangelina Blue (5f Speedy Blue-Happy Blue) was fourth with Mathieu Mottier up for trainer J.P. Mary. The upcoming Sunday is a good card led by the Grand Prix de Bretagne, a Gr. II event for 110,000€ and raced over the 2700 meter course. The field includes three J-M Bazire trainees such as Belina Josselyn, Davidson du Pont and Looking Superb, all looking for a ticket to the Prix d’Amerique. Nicolas Bazire will team Belina in this her third effort following a layoff. She will race with shoes. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink 

Today’s 12th harness racing leg of the Grand National du Trot Paris Turf (Gr. III, purse 85,000€, 3000 meters distance handicap, 14 starters) at Nantes and it went to the 4/10 favorite and 50-meter handicapped Cleangame (7g Ouragon de Celland-Red Bell) for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire and owner J-M Rancoule.   Cleangame won for the 30 th time in 47 career starts now for 1,130,220€ earned for his career and may well be among the top five trotteurs currently racing. 7.3/1 Cocktail Desbois (7g Coktail Jet) was second for Eric Raffin and 7.3/1 Dorgos du Guez (6g Romcock de Guez) was third for Nicolas Bazire and trainer JMB, this one handicapped 25 meters. 21/1 Clarck Sotho (7g Oiseau de Feux) was fourth after his 25- meter penalty, reined by Guillaume Martin. 56/1 Brelan du Vivier completed the top five with Matthieu Abrivard aboard.   This race was the day’s Quinte+ event and 1242 winning tickets were each worth 622.00€. 8,168,000€ was wagered on the race with 3,828,477€ of that being in the Q+ pool.   The November 5 (Tuesday) Paris-Vincennes feature was the Prix Medusa (purse 52,000€, 3525 meters distance handicap, 12 starters) and it brought about the second start off a long layoff by the 25-meter handicapped Belina Josselyn (8f Love You-Lezira Josselyn). Off at 2.7/1 she finished sixth timed in 1.15.1kr for Romain Congard. The race winner was the 1.5/1 favorite Contree d’Erable (7f Prince Gede - Soiree d’Erable) with Cl. Thomain up for trainer J,P. Thomain, timed in 1.15.2kr. This one recorded her 14 th career win in 52 starts now for 290,140€ earned. 7.2/1 Big Boss (8g Qualmio de Vandel) and 8.5/1 Atoll Danover (9g Land Danover) completed the top three.   Contree d’Erable   The November 4 (Monday) Vincennes card was a good one and began with the Prix de Lesparre (purse 59,000€, 2700 meters, 13 starters) that saw 6.4/1 Fashion Queen (4f Ready Cash-Usenza) reach the line first with Eric Raffin up for trainer Philippe Allaire and owned J-M Tessier. Race time was 1.14kr as the Queen bested 9/10 favorite Fairplay d’Urzy (6m Ready Cash-Romane d’Urzy) reined by trainer Jean Michel Bazire. 3.7/1 Éclair du Mirel (5m Orlando Vici) took third money with Matthieu Abrivard up. 28/1 Eride Luduis and 8.7/1 Electra Jet completed the top five. This was the Quinte+ race of that day and the exact order top five payoff was 529.40€ paid to 521 ticketholders. The Q+ pool was 2,9021,395€ and 6,287,000€ was wagered on all wagering pools in this race.   Fashion Queen   The Prix d’Arcachon (purse 67,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 10 starters) saw even-money odds Colonel (7g Goetmals Wood-Royale Star) score timed in 1.11.3kr for Nicolas Bazire. Ecurie des Charmes owns and Jean-Michel Bazire trains the now 15-time winner in 63 career starts for life earnings of 432,700€. 7.6/1 Classic Haufor (7m Jag de Bellouet) was second for Christian Bigeon, his breeder/owner/trainer/driver. The 35/1 stablemate Costa Haufor (7f Saphir d’Haufor) was second handled by Damien Bonne for trainer/owner Christian Bigeon. 2.3/1 Super Fez (8m Love You) was fourth for reinsman Jean Michel Bazire ahead of 8.4/1 Nancy America (8f Revenue) reined by Yoann Lebourgeois.   Thomas H. Hicks  

Nicolas Bazire piloted 19/1 outsider Bel Avis (8g Ganymede-Gloria Maris) to a 1.12.3kr timed victory in today’s Gr. III Grand Prix du Centre-Est (purse 90,000€, 2650 meters distance handicap, 11 starters) held at Saint Galmier. Trained by Jean Michel Bazire for New Blue I LLC (USA), Bel Avis, handicapped 25 meters, recorded his 22nd career victory in 64 starts now for 1,109,533€ in lifetime earnings. Comte de Bellaigue bred the winner. Another long shot, 32/1 Aron The Baron (7g Vasterbo Prestige-Gossip) took second for Pierre Callier and trainer Tomas Malmqvist, with 20/1 Gross Weight (8g Scarlet Knight-Elma Jet) home third with Clement Duvaldestin up. The 12/1 Blooka du Boscail and 39/1 Valokaja Hindo completed the top five. Ble du Gers and Chica de Joudes were dq’s. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Hanesslink

Defi de Retz (6m First de Retz-Nouvelle d’Atout) took this 11th leg of the Grand National de Trot at Feurs (Gr. III, purse 85,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap), reined by Alexandre Abrivard for harness racing trainer Jean Michel Bazire and breeder/owner Ottavia Roffi-Urano.   This was his 12 th career victory for 264,480€ in life earnings. Second was Cocktail Desbois (7g Coktail Jet-Queen Goulette) with Eric Raffin up for trainer J-M Baudouin. Third home was Eclat de Gloire (5g Tiego d’Etang-Vive Fee) handled by his trainer Loris Garcia.   Thomas H. Hicks  

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