Romain Poree was the amateur world champion in 2010.

French-American friendship competition

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 17, 2015--A "belle dame" and a racing journalist are among the five amateur drivers from France vying against a quintet of USA counterparts in the "French-American Friendship Competition," with Yonkers Raceway hosting the opening event Tuesday afternoon (April 21). First post for the matinee card is 1 PM, with the 1¼-mile, 10-horse event going as the 11th of 12 races. The four-day competition continues at Monticello Raceway Wednesday (April 22), Freehold Raceway Thursday (April 23) and the finale on Friday night (April 24) at the Meadowlands. The French contingent includes leading lady Sophie Blanchetiere, a winner of 350 amateur races, and four French amateur championships, including the last two; racing journalist Romain Poree, the amateur world champion in 2010 and French champion in 2009; Michel Poirier, the top French amateur in 2003; and Christophe Roszak, who finished in the top ten of the French championships. None of these French drivers have ever been on United States soil. The fifth driver, Hubert Jay, is the club representative and will only drive two races - at Yonkers and The Meadowlands - in the pair of contests with 10-horse fields. Jay studied in Minnesota and North Dakota. The America amateurs are: Peter Gerry, Peter Kleinhans, Robert Krivelin, Alan Schwartz and Anthony Verruso. Here's the field in order of post position: 1. Meadowview Arny (Alan Schwartz); 2. Prince Lauxmont (Christophe Roszak); 3. Blue Valley (Robert Krivelin); 4. Trottin Troy (Hubert Jay); 5. Amalfi Coast (Peter Kleinhans); 6. Hesgotlegs (Romain Poree); 7. Cagnes (Peter Gerry); 8. Mr. Invincible (Sophie Blanchetiere); 9. Nowerland Firebird (Anthony Verruso); 10. Sun of Victory (Michel Poirier). "The dates are set, and fine-tuning the details to host our amateur friends who are coming from across the sea are being finalized," North American Amateur Driving Association president Joe Faraldo said. "It is the first time that we (America) race against our French counterparts on American soil." Blanchetiere, whose father was a harness trainer, works with her partner trainer/driver Yannick-Alain Briand in France. She has driven more than 1,800 races with just over 350 wins and competed internationally in Sweden, Malta and Switzerland. Blanchetiere started driving when she was 16. "I have never been to America, so I look forward to it," Blanchetiere said. "I have had a look at the Yonkers races that they show on Equidia here in France. It's very different from everything I know. I assume I will need a few races to adjust, but it's going to be fun."  Poree is a racing journalist and son of a harness trainer who raced 1989 UET Grand Prix winner Tipouf and also took him to the International Trot at Yonkers a year later. He has extensive international experience having also driven in Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. He has accumulated nearly 140 wins in more than 800 races. "I never went to the States, but I have been dreaming of driving over there," Poree said. "I also like to follow the top drivers, like Tim Tetrick, but Brian Sears is definitely my favorite. I like his style, he's a fine driver." The veteran Poirier, who turned 60 earlier this weekd, is a farmer who also breeds trotters. He started driving horses at the track of local trainer Guy Dreux, who encouraged him to get an amateur license. Poirier won his first race at Alencon on May 29, 1977 and has more than 300 career wins in some 2,300 races with international experience in Spain and Italy. "I've never been to the States, so it is a big trip for me," said Poirier. "My wife is coming along and I am happy that we travel with other drivers because I would feel a bit lost on my own in New York." Roszak is a breeder from Normandy who became interested in harness racing during his youth from his monthly trips to the track with his father and got his amateur license in 1994. He tried his hand at training for a while before switching over to the breeding side of the business. "I have never been to the US and feel privileged to go," Roszak said. "I hope that we will make the most of it and have good fun with our fellow Americans." Club manager Hubert Jay, who won the French Amateur Cup in 2004, was around horses at a very young age with his grandfather who was a trainer. He won his first race at age 17, but soon after had to focus his attention on academic studies. "I had to give it up, but I always wanted to keep on training and driving as a hobby," explained Jay who has been to the U.S. before. "I studied in Minnesota and South Dakota, but did not go racing over there. It's an honor to drive at The Meadowlands and Yonkers, world famous racetracks." The NAADA is planning to host another amateur series involving drivers from Spain in June. BY JOHN CIRILLO, for Yonkers Raceway and the NAADA  

Akim du Cap Vert and Franck Anne

Akim du Cap Vert wins Prix Jamin

April 10, 2015 - Franck Anne’s owned, trained and driven Akim du Cap Vert (5m First de Retz-Prima du Cap Vert-Cezio Josselyn) took tonight’s Vincennes featured Prix Jamin (Gr. III, €115,000 purse, 3525 meters distance handicap, 11 starters) with a decisive rallying surge in the late stages of this 2-3/16 mile event. The winner, off at 2.2/1, scored in 1.15.3kr after overcoming a 25 meter handicap. Akim du Cap Vert recorded his ninth career win now for earnings of €890,230. Eric Lambertz teamed his owned and trained Viking de Val (6m Baccarat du Pont-La Forge de Vac) to second at 14/1 with 30/1 Tornado Bello (8m Jag de Bellouet-Enfilde) third for Thomas Levesque and conditioner Mike Lenders. This one is from the prolific dam of double Prix d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. Chapeau, Chelsea Boko and Roi du Lupin (50 meter handicap) finished fourth through sixth in this well-respected field. Thomas H. Hicks

Noras Bean

Fourth Olympiatravet qualifier

April 11, 2015 - Noras Bean (10m Super Arnie-Easy Bean-Songcan) won today’s L.C. Peterson-Broddas Minne (fourth Olympiatravet qualifier, €150,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) at Jagersro. The Stefan Soderkvist driven veteran recorded career victory 22 in 77 starts now for earnings of 12,035,653SEK. Noras Bean took an early lead and held that advantage comfortably to win by just over a length in 1.11.1kr. This victory earns an Olymipatravet position albeit Noras Bean tired late and looked unsound coming back to the winners enclosure. Favorite Maven was away seventh from post 10 in the second row. She moved up with cover, fourth on the outer, until making a solid three-wide surge around the last bend. She was unable to close on the leader and gamely gained second for Johnny Takter by a nose over El Mago Pellini with Lutfi Kolgjini up. Thomas H. Hicks

Oropuro Bar

Gr. I Premio Sociata Campo di Mira Fioro

Oropuro Bar (7m Love You-Ubatuba Oaks-Armbro Goal) took Easter Sunday’s Torino featured Gr. I Premio Sociata Campo di Mira Fioro (€110,000, 1600 meters autostart), rallying from back off the last bend to victory clocked in 1.12.7kr for Roberto Andreghetti. Pocket sitting Pascia’Lest (6m Varenne-Superiors Sun-Diamond Way) escaped late to garner second for Andrea Guzzinati ahead of veteran pacestetter Mack Grace SM (9m CC’s Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM-Armbro Goal) and Roberto Vecchione. This 55 time career winner raced gamely on the front holding off challengers until late in the lane. Today’s Lotteria Wild Card, named the Premio G. Compili (€13.200, 1600 meters autostart, two eliminations and raceoff) at Napoli, went to Rombo di Cannone (5m Varenne-Cannoniera-Diamond Way) clocked in 1.11.4kr for the raceoff victory teamed by V.P. Dell’Annunziata. This one took his elimination in 1.12.3kr. In the two-horse raceoff he defeated Miguel WF (9m Super Arnie-Dinastia OR-Lemon Dra) that won his earlier test in 1.14.6kr. Thomas H. Hicks

April 4, 2015 - Graded events and fast-class harness racing action graced the Saturday card at Vincennes, albeit taking a back seat to Bold Eagle’s 12th consecutive victory. The Quinte+ Prix d’Aubussion (€55,000, 2100 meters autostart) went to Ulster Perrine (7m Tenor de Baune - Nana Perrine) and J-M Bazire. The 3.4/1 second choice scored handily in 1.11.5kr off quick fractions for trainer J-M Baudouin to defeat Universal Rider and Mathieu Mottier with third to Sahara Fairytale the 1.8/1 favorite for Christophe Martens. The International Monte Gr. II Prix Theophile Lallouet (€120,000, 2700 meters) went to 44/1 outsider Nene Degli Ulivi (8g Uconn Roc - Maureen Lobell) for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Vincent Lacroix. The winner scored in 1.13.8kr off modest fractions to defeat 1.7/1 Uppercut de Manche with Anthony Barrier up and 52/1 Rapide du Digeon and Mathieu Abrivard. Roxanne Griff finished fifth after surging toward the front off the final bend. The Prix du Treport (€85,000, 2700 meters, 13 european starters) went to fast closing Ustinof du Vivier (7g Look de Star - Melba du Vivier), the 3/2 favorite with Mathieu Abrivard up for trainer Sebastian Guarato timed in 1.12.4kr. Moving On (6f Quite Easy-Kings Blondie) was the 6/1 second place closer for Franck Nivard with Spain’s Trebol (8m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait) third at 22/1 for Gabrielle-Angel Pou Pou. The Gr. II Prix Paul Legueurney (€120,000, 2850 meters, 9 starters) went to the classy mare Billie de Montfort (4f Jasmin de Flore - Quismy de Montfort) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastian Guarato. She scored in 1.13.9kr as the .5/1 favorite ahead of Blue Grass (4f Ready Cash-Princess Natacha at 6/1 for trainer Philippe Allaire and teamster Joann Lebourgeois. Tony LeBeller drove Bambina Majic (4f Nuage de Lait-Rive Magic) home third at 16/1. The Gr. III Prix de Saintes (£60,000 purse, 2100 meters, 8 starters) went to 1.3/1 odds Cobra Blue (3m Fortuna Fant - Nuit Ipisee) for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and owner G.E. Morin. This 1.14.1kr winner defeated Charly de Noyer (3m Ready Cash-Ornella Jet) and Coktail Meslois (3m Roc Meslois-Ocarina Mesloise). Tom Hicks  

Bold Eagle (4m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) and Franck Nivard scored again today to win the Gr. II Prix Phaeton (€120,000 purse, 2850 meters distance handicap). The Sebastian Guarato trainee owned by Pierre Pilarski was off at 3/10 odds, overcame a 25 meter penalty and held safe by half-length for his 14 victory in 16 starts, now for career earnings of €576,800. Fractions were soft (1.19.6kr at 1500; 1.17.8kr at 1000; 1.17.2kr at 500 and finish 1.16.1kr). Jean-Etienne Dubois bred this winner that defeated Baltic Charm (4m Password-Ilikovi) and Matthier Abrivard at 40/1 and Brillantissime (4m Ready Cash-Ivre de Victoire) at 20/1 for Pierre Vercruysse and trainer Philippe Allaire. The second paid across the line are both solid money earners and winners of 5 of 15 and 9 of 22 respectively. Thomas H. Hicks

After watching Maven's recent performances in Europe, harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter says he is optimistic about the 6-year-old trotting mare's future overseas. A future that, if all continues to go well, will see Maven head to Sweden's Elitloppet for the second consecutive year. Takter on Thursday said he planned on accepting Maven's Elitloppet invitation, which was extended following her victory at Solvalla Raceway on March 28. Maven, driven by Johnny Takter, won by five lengths in an event restricted to mares and contested at one-mile and five-sixteenths. Elitloppet 2015 is May 31 at Solvalla. Last year's winner Timoko was the first horse to be extended an invitation and accept, according to the event's website. He will be joined by 15 other invited horses for the race, which contests eliminations and the final on the same day. Last year, Maven finished third in her Elitloppet elimination and sixth in the final. "It's almost two months until the race, and a lot of things can happen in the horse business in two months, but when they invite you, you're in it," Takter said. "I don't want to race horses in the race just to race. I want to win. We all want to win Elitloppet." Takter, who won the race in 1998 with Moni Maker, said Maven's next starts will be April 11 in the Gold Division at Jagersro - in Takter's hometown of Malmo, Sweden - and April 25 in the Olympic Trot at Aby. Maven will try to become the first mare since Queen L in 1994 to win the Olympic Trot. Maven's schedule following the Olympic Trot is not set, but options include the Copenhagen Cup or Finlandia. Prior to Maven's win at Solvalla, she finished second to Timoko despite an unfavorable post position in the Grand Criterium de Vitesse in France. Among four previous starts in Europe, she was a traffic-troubled fifth in the Prix de France in February and went off stride in the Prix d'Amerique in January. "She's actually raced pretty decent in all her starts, she just hasn't had any luck at all," Takter said. "The Prix d'Amerique, maybe she was a little unprepared to enter that race. I wish I maybe had her a couple months earlier, we might have been better off. "After her last start, I feel quite optimistic for her future." Maven, who joined Takter's stable last November, has won 29 of 52 career races in North America and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter in 2013. Her top win last year came in the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs and she finished second to Commander Crowe when she challenged the boys in the Breeders Crown. She is owned by John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Joyce McClelland. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Welcome to Stockholm and famous Elitloppet! Make your plans now! There's an old saying that you can't get people in horse racing to agree on just about anything, but anyone who's ever been to Stockholm for the Elitlopp agrees it's an experience no harness racing devotee should miss. Quite literally, you've never seen anything quite like it. It's a bit like the Little Brown Jug as you have over 35,000 enthusiastic Swedes and other Europeans cheering on 16 of the best trotters in the world. And the Elitlopp takes place in Stockholm, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, at a time of year when the weather is unbeatable. Many people also enjoy the chance to visit the resplendent Menhammar Stud, Sweden's largest breeding facility, just outside the city. You'll certainly be familiar with many of the stallions there (Maharajah, From Above, Going Kronos, Chocolatier and others). Maybe the best part of the Equitours Elitlopp Tour is that all the details of the trip---lodging, transportation, sightseeing tour----are taken care of for you. All you need to do is enjoy! * You can get full details on the 5-day trip (4 nights) by clicking here * You can also book a "light program" of 4-days ( 3 nights). Read more by clicking here Book before the 15th April- Get 70 USD in discount per person! * If have any questions, or wish book the tour please email info@equitours.se If you want a reference on Equitours, contact us and we'll be happy to give you the names of others have who enjoyed the Equitours experience, or contact Moira Fanning at the Hambletonian Society: (+1) 609 371 2211 or email to moihambs@aol.com The entire Elitlopp experience in Stockholm will be one you'll never forget. Equi Tours Sweden AB | Flyinge KungsgÃ¥rd, 24793 FLYINGE, Sweden | www.equitours.se info@equitours.se | Tel: +46 (0)40 29 88 08 | Fax: +46 (0)40 30 58 05 | Mobil: +46 (0)708 540 200  

Malta, March 30th, 2015. - Win Systems, global technology provider for the gaming and entertainment industry, welcomes François Bourlier as the Europe  Sales Director. François joins the Business Development team with the aim to develop the European market.   François has a Master’s degree in Economics and International Business from Inseec Bordeaux and University of Texas at Austin. His vast experience in the  industry includes companies like Pokertek and TCS JohnHuxley, where he worked mainly as Business Development Manager and Account Executive for  the European and CIS market.   Eric Benchimol, CEO of Win Systems comments: “We are proud to welcome François to our company; his experience in the European market will greatly  contribute to the expansion in this continent."   Regarding his incorporation to the company, François states: “I am delighted to join Win Systems at those exciting times. The company has a fantastic  reputation in its current markets and I am looking forward to growing its business in Europe.”   With this new role and the Business Development Senior Director, Mariano Sosa that has recently joined for the LATAM market, Win Systems confirms its  intention to continue expanding worldwide.   About Win Systems   WIN SYSTEMS is a global technology provider for the gaming and entertainment industry, software, networks, systems and services for online lottery, gaming devices and server based video lottery terminals. WIN offers a full range of technology services, including design, programming, installation, operation and maintenance of its systems. Win Systems has over 20 years of experience in the management of high availability systems and real-time critical operations. Its main products are:    MULTIGAME ©, the Land-Based Lottery System; LYKOS ©, your Electronic Instant Lottery system – EIL; WINGS © Video    Lottery System – VLT’s, and WIGOS ©, Casino Management System – CMS, and WIN GAMES © an extensive library of games and WASS© an Accounting systems for in route machines.   For more information: www.winsystemsintl.com //+34 93 530 80 49 || Tw: @win_systems   Maria Eugenia                      

March 27, 2015 - Saturday, Union du Rib (5f Fleuron Perrine - Hermine du Rib) took the Prix Amathea (€60,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 18 European starters) clocked in 1.12.4kr for trainer/driver JLCD Dersoir and owner Ecurie Jelica. The winner raced with shoes to score victory 12 in 38 starts at 4.9/1 odds. The Q+ jackpot this day was €2.8 million and the with win/place handle exceeded €1.4 million. Nuage En Ciel (8m Daguet Rapide-Pretty Perle) was second at 1.8/1 for Franck Nivard and 5/1 Secret de Chenu ended third for J-M Bazire with fourth went to Miero As (9m Lemon Dra-Bandiena As) for Roberto Andreghetti. Wednesday’s Grand National du Trot-Paris-Turf (purse €90,000, 3000 meters, 16 starters, Marseille-Borelly) went to 29/1 outsider Urac (7g Coktail Jet-Innee de la Loge) with Romain Derieux aboard for Antonio DeSosa and conditioner Nicholas Ensch. The winner recorded career victory nine in 62 starts, clocked in 1.15.3kr from a distance advantage. Even-money favorite Vinci de l’Abbaye (6m Otello Pierji-Keyboumette) was second for trainer/driver J-M Bazire with third to Totem d’Azur (8m Joao Panca-Heidi d’Indienne) and J-Ch. Sorel up at 16/1. Slow du Beauvoisin and Sportif were fourth and fifth. Thomas H. Hicks

March 28, 2015 - Johnny Takter teamed Maven to her first European victory today, taking the Prixies Lopp for Mares (2140 meters, 1.3 miles, Kat 1) at Solvalla, taking the co-feature worth 200,000SEK to the winner. Takter left alertly from post eight, eased three-wide to the front out of the first turn and led throughout to a five length victory, after Your Highness and Bjorn Goop made a miscue when pressing for the lead in the last turn. Maven (6f Glidemaster-M Stewart-American Winner) recorded her 30th career victory now for earnings of 14,088,134SEK for trainer Jimmy W. Takter. Maven was clocked in 1.11.2kr (off even fractions) to secure victory from Youana for Erik Adielsson and Jumble As with Flemming Jensen up. Fourth went to Stylish Hanover with Orjan Kihlstrom aboard. This victory has earned an Elitloppet invite for the talented Maven. Digital Ink Wins Today’s Gr. II UET Masters Series at Solvalla The Orjan Kihlstrom teamed, Stefan Melander’s owned and trained Digital Ink (6g Super Photo Kosmos-Laverda des Pres-Filou du Boscail), took today’s featured Gold Series at Solvalla, his eighth straight to boost his career earnings to 5,282,800SEK (24th win in 48 starts). Digital Ink was away mid-pack and then advanced to a first moving position to gain command midway through the contest from which he drew away for a comfortable win to earn 250,000SEK winner share of the purse. Clocked in 1.11.4kr over the 2140 meters autostart distance, the winner took victory from OBI Wan (6g Ganymede-Heja Reerstrup-Speedy Herve) and teamster Jurgen Sunnesson with third to the Torbjorn Jansson teamed Porthos Amok (6m Orlando Vici-Baroness Amok-Pine Chip). Thomas H. Hicks  

March 27, 2015 - Stefan Melander’s Digital Ink, to be teamed by Orjan Kihlstrom, is the harness racing favorite in Saturday’s Gr. II Gold UET Masters Series at Solvalla. Named the Triton Sund Trot, the first place share is 250,000SEK in this 2140 meters autostart contest. The top field of 12 includes Candor Hall, Kash’s Cantab, Obi Wan and Haraldinho. The Pixies event for mares (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) includes 12 starters. Maven and teamster Johnny Takter lead this group ahead to contestants Jumble As, My Golden, and M.T. Harmony. Thomas H. Hicks

You can sign up now in case you have not received the most recent  Harnesslink newsletter called Insider Access, and here is your chance.  Just fill in the form below and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at http://stallionsphere.com. Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: We need more Sam Stathis types in our sport - Recently harness racing in North America received a big positive boost and it did not come in the form of a long shot winning at a racetrack or someone setting a track record. It came from a real estate business transaction in south Florida. Where are the NZ two-year-olds? - A common complaint heard these days in New Zealand is where are all the two year olds? On trial day there is an abundance of two-year-olds in evidence but come race day a lot of clubs are struggling to get a field of even eight runners. Now a lot of trainers have one look at the nominations and see a couple from the All Star barn and keep their two year olds for another day and you can't really blame them. Stallion Review – MUSCLES YANKEE – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Muscles Yankee 1:52.2 ($1,424,938). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).  

Arlington Dream (5m Ready Cash - Ialla Clairchamp) took Saturday’s Gr. II Prix Robert Auvray (€120,000 purse, 2850 meters, 10 starters) for Yoann Lebourgeois and trainer Phillipe Allaire. The Fredric Sauque owned high-stepper was off at 16/1 in the defeat of Aloa de la Mortrie (5f Drag-Queen d’Acanthe) with Anthony Barrier up for trainer/owner S.G. Dupont at 7/1 odds. 7/1 Ave Avis (5m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Avis) was third for trainer/driver J-M Bazire. 22/1 outsider Anette de Miral (5f Laetenter Diem-Lisa du Mirel) was fourth for trainer Anders Lindqvist and jockey Eric Raffin. Amiral Sacha was disqualified for a miscue. The winner scored in 1.12.8kr off solid, even fractions. The Gr. II monte Prix Louis Forcinal (€120,000 purse, 2700 meters, 11 starters) went to 9/10 favorite Villeroi (6m Oiseau de Feux - Pocahontas) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastian Guarato. Stablemate Astor du Quenne (5m Opus Viervil-Qualinn des Quenne) was second at 3.1/1 for Mathieu Abrivard and trainer Guarato with 7/1 Agrippinne (5f Hasting-Moquese) third for Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer L.Cl. Abrivard. The winner was clocked in 1.13.8kr. The Gr. III Prix du Bois de Vincennes (€115,000, International, 2700 meters, 14 starters) went to veteran Beckman (8g Turbo Sund-Nins Palema) clocked in 1.14kr for Franck Nivard aboard for Fabrice Souloy, training this 38.4/1 outsider. 56/1 Talicia Bella (8g General du Pommeau-Illicia Bella) was second for Mathieu Abrivard on the lines for J-P Marmion trainer. 4.2/1 Akim du Cap Vert (5m First de Retz-Prima du Cap Vert took third for driver/trainer/owner Franck Anne. Aladin d’Ecajeul (5m Quaker Jet-Nancy d’Ecajeul was fourth at 9/10 odds for teamster Eric Raffin and trainer Guarato. Well regarded Uprince was disqualified as offstride. The €2.1 million jackpot Quinte+ Prix Jean Cabrol (€72,000, 2700 meters, 17 European starters) went to Sweden’s Moving On (6f Quite Easy-Kings Blondie) at 9/10 odds for Franck Nivard up for trainer Fabrice Souloy. The winner romped home in 1.13.1kr after a solid finish for owner Ecurie LC Equine AB. Second was Triskell Pasha (8g Clio Josselyn-Decose de la Butte) at 6/1 for Anthony Barrier. Spain’s consistent Trebol (8m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait) was third at 15/1 for trainer/driver Gabriel-Angel Pou Pou. The Prix de Gueugnon (€65,000, 2700 meters, 18 European starters) on the excellent undercard went to 8/1 Beau Gamin (4m Quinoa du Gers-Cadette) for Eric Raffin, trainer Guarato and owner Ecurie J.M. Rancoule. Blues d’Ourville (4g Password-Pursuit of Charm) was second at 127/1 for Mathieu Mottier in the bike, ahead of Bon Copain (4m Love You-Haie) for Damien Bonne and trained by Thierry Raffegeau at 6/1. Thomas H. Hicks

March 20, 2015 - After a post-winter meet break. harness racing resumed this week at Paris-Vincennes with night cards on Tuesday and Friday and an afternoon program slated for Saturday, highlighted by graded events. Friday’s featured race was the Quinte+ (jackpot €2.1 million) Prix Maia (purse €52,000, 18 European female starters, 2850 meters distance handicapped). Eric Raffin teamed Verzee Carisale (6f Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree - Harmonie Carisaie) to victory clocked in 1.14.2kr for trainer/owner J-Et. Thuet as the 1.6/1 punters choice. Sweden’s Monas Invercote (6f Viking Kronos - Monas Speranza) was second at 10/1 for Franck Ouvrie teaming for Svante Bath ahead of Italy’s Peace of Mind (6f Uronometro-Erica d’Alfa) at 17/1 with Franck Nivard aboard for trainer Fabrice Souloy). Well regarded Petra Axe ended 10th. Tuesday’s headliner was the Prix Bernard Simonard (€72,000, 2850 meters, 13 starters for apprentice lad jockeys). Timed in 1.14.3kr the winner was Vinci Pierji (6g Meaulnes du Corta - Intaille) with Nils Pacha in the irons for trainer Mathieu Abrivard off at 1.2/1 odds. 4/1 VF d’Or du Poli (6g Ludo de Castelle-Fantare du Poli) was next for Christelle Coz and trainer/owner Bernard Piton, with third to 5/1 Tonniere de Retz (8g First de Retz-Kaline du Solnan) with Clare Dodard-Trigual up for trainer J-F Senet. The Quinte+ on March 18 was at Agen le Passage and that event was the Grand Prix Dynavens Maisagri Duran (purse €45,000, 2625 meters distance handicapped). 23/1 odds Sportif (9g Ganymede - La Perle-Coktail Jet) scored in 1.14.6kr for trainer/driver Mickael Cormy) over 13/1 Taquine du Loisir (8f Ganymede-Kaline du Loisir) with Jerome Chavette up. 4/1 odds Irfee Jallerie overcame a 25 meter penalty to nail third for Damien Bonne. The winner is owned by Ecurie Cte. P. de Montesson and he scored career victory 13 for €231,910 earned. Thomas H. Hicks

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YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 17, 2015--A "belle dame" and a racing journalist are among the five amateur drivers from France vying against a quintet of USA counterparts in the "French-American Friendship Competition," with Yonkers Raceway hosting the opening event Tuesday afternoon (April 21). First post for the matinee card is 1 PM, with the 1¼-mile, 10-horse event going as the 11th of 12 races. The four-day competition continues at Monticello Raceway Wednesday (April 22), Freehold Raceway Thursday (April 23) and the finale on Friday night (April 24) at the Meadowlands. The French contingent includes leading lady Sophie Blanchetiere, a winner of 350 amateur races, and four French amateur championships, including the last two; racing journalist Romain Poree, the amateur world champion in 2010 and French champion in 2009; Michel Poirier, the top French amateur in 2003; and Christophe Roszak, who finished in the top ten of the French championships. None of these French drivers have ever been on United States soil. The fifth driver, Hubert Jay, is the club representative and will only drive two races - at Yonkers and The Meadowlands - in the pair of contests with 10-horse fields. Jay studied in Minnesota and North Dakota. The America amateurs are: Peter Gerry, Peter Kleinhans, Robert Krivelin, Alan Schwartz and Anthony Verruso. Here's the field in order of post position: 1. Meadowview Arny (Alan Schwartz); 2. Prince Lauxmont (Christophe Roszak); 3. Blue Valley (Robert Krivelin); 4. Trottin Troy (Hubert Jay); 5. Amalfi Coast (Peter Kleinhans); 6. Hesgotlegs (Romain Poree); 7. Cagnes (Peter Gerry); 8. Mr. Invincible (Sophie Blanchetiere); 9. Nowerland Firebird (Anthony Verruso); 10. Sun of Victory (Michel Poirier). "The dates are set, and fine-tuning the details to host our amateur friends who are coming from across the sea are being finalized," North American Amateur Driving Association president Joe Faraldo said. "It is the first time that we (America) race against our French counterparts on American soil." Blanchetiere, whose father was a harness trainer, works with her partner trainer/driver Yannick-Alain Briand in France. She has driven more than 1,800 races with just over 350 wins and competed internationally in Sweden, Malta and Switzerland. Blanchetiere started driving when she was 16. "I have never been to America, so I look forward to it," Blanchetiere said. "I have had a look at the Yonkers races that they show on Equidia here in France. It's very different from everything I know. I assume I will need a few races to adjust, but it's going to be fun."  Poree is a racing journalist and son of a harness trainer who raced 1989 UET Grand Prix winner Tipouf and also took him to the International Trot at Yonkers a year later. He has extensive international experience having also driven in Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. He has accumulated nearly 140 wins in more than 800 races. "I never went to the States, but I have been dreaming of driving over there," Poree said. "I also like to follow the top drivers, like Tim Tetrick, but Brian Sears is definitely my favorite. I like his style, he's a fine driver." The veteran Poirier, who turned 60 earlier this weekd, is a farmer who also breeds trotters. He started driving horses at the track of local trainer Guy Dreux, who encouraged him to get an amateur license. Poirier won his first race at Alencon on May 29, 1977 and has more than 300 career wins in some 2,300 races with international experience in Spain and Italy. "I've never been to the States, so it is a big trip for me," said Poirier. "My wife is coming along and I am happy that we travel with other drivers because I would feel a bit lost on my own in New York." Roszak is a breeder from Normandy who became interested in harness racing during his youth from his monthly trips to the track with his father and got his amateur license in 1994. He tried his hand at training for a while before switching over to the breeding side of the business. "I have never been to the US and feel privileged to go," Roszak said. "I hope that we will make the most of it and have good fun with our fellow Americans." Club manager Hubert Jay, who won the French Amateur Cup in 2004, was around horses at a very young age with his grandfather who was a trainer. He won his first race at age 17, but soon after had to focus his attention on academic studies. "I had to give it up, but I always wanted to keep on training and driving as a hobby," explained Jay who has been to the U.S. before. "I studied in Minnesota and South Dakota, but did not go racing over there. It's an honor to drive at The Meadowlands and Yonkers, world famous racetracks." The NAADA is planning to host another amateur series involving drivers from Spain in June. BY JOHN CIRILLO, for Yonkers Raceway and the NAADA  
April 10, 2015 - Franck Anne’s owned, trained and driven Akim du Cap Vert (5m First de Retz-Prima du Cap Vert-Cezio Josselyn) took tonight’s Vincennes featured Prix Jamin (Gr. III, €115,000 purse, 3525 meters distance handicap, 11 starters) with a decisive rallying surge in the late stages of this 2-3/16 mile event. The winner, off at 2.2/1, scored in 1.15.3kr after overcoming a 25 meter handicap. Akim du Cap Vert recorded his ninth career win now for earnings of €890,230. Eric Lambertz teamed his owned and trained Viking de Val (6m Baccarat du Pont-La Forge de Vac) to second at 14/1 with 30/1 Tornado Bello (8m Jag de Bellouet-Enfilde) third for Thomas Levesque and conditioner Mike Lenders. This one is from the prolific dam of double Prix d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. Chapeau, Chelsea Boko and Roi du Lupin (50 meter handicap) finished fourth through sixth in this well-respected field. Thomas H. Hicks
April 11, 2015 - Noras Bean (10m Super Arnie-Easy Bean-Songcan) won today’s L.C. Peterson-Broddas Minne (fourth Olympiatravet qualifier, €150,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) at Jagersro. The Stefan Soderkvist driven veteran recorded career victory 22 in 77 starts now for earnings of 12,035,653SEK. Noras Bean took an early lead and held that advantage comfortably to win by just over a length in 1.11.1kr. This victory earns an Olymipatravet position albeit Noras Bean tired late and looked unsound coming back to the winners enclosure. Favorite Maven was away seventh from post 10 in the second row. She moved up with cover, fourth on the outer, until making a solid three-wide surge around the last bend. She was unable to close on the leader and gamely gained second for Johnny Takter by a nose over El Mago Pellini with Lutfi Kolgjini up. Thomas H. Hicks
Oropuro Bar (7m Love You-Ubatuba Oaks-Armbro Goal) took Easter Sunday’s Torino featured Gr. I Premio Sociata Campo di Mira Fioro (€110,000, 1600 meters autostart), rallying from back off the last bend to victory clocked in 1.12.7kr for Roberto Andreghetti. Pocket sitting Pascia’Lest (6m Varenne-Superiors Sun-Diamond Way) escaped late to garner second for Andrea Guzzinati ahead of veteran pacestetter Mack Grace SM (9m CC’s Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM-Armbro Goal) and Roberto Vecchione. This 55 time career winner raced gamely on the front holding off challengers until late in the lane. Today’s Lotteria Wild Card, named the Premio G. Compili (€13.200, 1600 meters autostart, two eliminations and raceoff) at Napoli, went to Rombo di Cannone (5m Varenne-Cannoniera-Diamond Way) clocked in 1.11.4kr for the raceoff victory teamed by V.P. Dell’Annunziata. This one took his elimination in 1.12.3kr. In the two-horse raceoff he defeated Miguel WF (9m Super Arnie-Dinastia OR-Lemon Dra) that won his earlier test in 1.14.6kr. Thomas H. Hicks

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