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Hippodrome Enghien-Soisy today featured the Gr. II International UET Masters Series Prix de Washington, a one-mile autostart test for a purse of €120,000. Ten horses battled in this one, on a rain-made soggy clay surface, including heavily favored Univers de Pan. Off the mobile gate Pierre Vercruysse hustled Napoleon Bar to the front from post four. Pascia’Lest took the pocket immediately.  Napoleon Bar maintained his advantage to the line to win by a diminishing length. Pascia’Lest held the pocket position for Franck Nivard until emerging late to gain second. Roi du Lupin  raced in the death seat with Univers de Pan and Philippe Daugaerd  behind that one and veteran Ru de L’Airou third on the inner. Rapide Lebel was rough gaited at the start, lost position, and raced third on the outer before again becoming choppy gaited late to finish eighth. Behind Napoleon Bar at the finish in order were Pascia’Lest, Roi de L’Airou with Pierre Levesque up closing on the inner, Univers de Pan on the outside and game Roi du Lupin holding stoutly fifth. Univers de Pan lacked his usual kick at the end and albeit gaining slightly lost a photo for third as the 3/2 favorite. The race was clocked in 1.10.7kr after a modestly rated pace (1.11.5kr at the 500 meters to go mark), far off the race record of 1.09.4k set by Rapide Lebel in 2012 and followed by 1.10kr in 2009 by that winner Premiere Speed. June 28, 2014, Enghien-Soisy, Prix de Washington, €120,000 purse Gr. II International UET Masters Series, 1609 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.10.7kr (time 1:53.81) Napoleon  Bar (7m Varenne-Dalmazia-Coktail Jet), Pierre Vercruysse up for trainer Catello Savarese and owner Emiliano Stecca, 2.1/1, Italy, his 15th career win for €811,671 earnings Pascia’Lest (5m Varenne-Superiors Sun-Diamond Way), Franck Nivard for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and owner Samuele Querci, 5.8/1, Italy, career earnings now €983,772 Roi de L’Airou (9g Cygnus d’Odyssee-Cour d’Intheville-Opior), Pierre Levesque aboard for trainer Patrick Martin, 42/1 Napoleon Bar is from the Italian registered mare Dalmazia (Coktail Jet-Takeda-Mon Tourbillon). Next dam Madamacristina is by Top Hanover, a son of Ayres-Elaine Rodney. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

It’s beginning to look like Ake Svanstedt’s trotter Sebastian is so superior to the competition that he’s racing only against the clock. There was a time when time was privileged over purse money in the pursuit of assessing a stallion or mare’s suitability for the breeding ranks, but those days are long gone. Bob Marks never had much use for them, although he says he did “use them occasionally to get marks on horses that could never accomplish much in actual races.” Flip through the latest edition of the Breeder’s Book and you’ll find a couple of pacers with time trial marks—Jereme’s Jet and 26-year-old Cambest—and the Indiana stallion Jailhouse Jesse on the diagonal side. How sweet it would be to see Sebastian take to the track during the Red Mile meet with a pair of t-breds or pacers behind him and a jacked-up crowd cheering him home. He’d surely rid us of the 1:50 burden as well as Enough Said and his Colonial Downs asterisk. Fifty years ago just about every premium stallion and mare was measured against the clock at some point. Rodney, Fancy Crown, Most Happy Fella, Scotland, Yankee Lass, Bullet Hanover, Bye Bye Byrd, Dancer Hanover, Cheer Honey, Dayan, Hickory Pride, Elma, Isle Of Wight, Steady Beau and Sampson Direct all carry time trial marks. Some drivers specialized in handling the time trialing horses, while others were good with the prompters. When Adios Butler knocked two ticks off Billy Direct’s 22-year-old mark, which was set the day before Greyhound’s at The Red Mile on October 4, 1960, owner Paige West drove the 4-year-old while Del Miller and trainer/driver Eddie Cobb drove the t-bred prompters. When the 4-year-old Cash Hall went after Pine Chip’s 1:54 world record at Delaware in 2006, John Campbell drove the son of Self Possessed while Dave Palone chased after him with the Real Artist mare, Valentine. Cash Hall annihilated the mark with a 1:51.1 mile. On the trotting side, Greyhound’s TT1:55 ¼ mark, set on September 29, 1938 for Sep Palin, held fast for 31 years, until Nevele Pride dropped it to TT1:54.4 for Stanley Dancer at Indianapolis on Sunday August 31, 1969. Twelve thousand enthusiastic fans were in attendance that day. Coincidentally enough, a longstanding pacing mark of 1:55 was also set at that same Lexington meet in 1938: Billy Direct time trialed free-legged in 1:55 for Vic Fleming on September 28, 1938. That mark remained untouched during the 1940s. Frank Ervin put a 1:57.1 mark on 5-year-old Adios in a time trial when he was offered $500 to break the track record, and four years later another great progenitor, Gene Abbe, time trialed in 2:00.3, also at age five. But it took a race mark of 1:55 from Adios Harry in the American Pacing Derby at Vernon Downs on July 16, 1955, with the owner’s son Luther Lyons in the bike, to match Billy Direct’s mark. Adios Butler undercut the 1:55 standard five years later in the time trial referenced above. That 1:55 barrier was finally shattered. The great Speedy Crown didn’t break any records when he time trialed in 2:01.2 as a freshman in 1970, but after winning just four of eight starts and earning a paltry $2,000, he did prove that good things were on the way. Actually the first significant time trial for trotters in the 1970s came from Arnie Almahurst, a crazy fast son of Speedy Scot, who pretty much won every start he didn’t break stride in. He had little in common with his paternal brother, Speedy Crown, who never broke stride—not ever. Arnie time trialed in 1:57.2 at The Red Mile for Joe O’Brien and became the sixth fastest trotter behind Super Bowl, Nevele Pride, Ayres, Speedy Scot and Speedy Crown. Nine years later his 3-year-old son Arndon trotted the fastest mile ever by a trotter when he hit the wire in TT1:54 for Del Miller at The Red Mile. And twelve years after that Arndon’s 4-year-old son Pine Chip became the world record holder when he time trialed in 1:51 for John Campbell at Lexington. Arndon and his dad both retired as the fastest ever. Another important trotting time trial in the ‘70s was ABC Freight’s TT1:57.1 as a 2-year-old for Joe O’Brien at Hollywood Park in 1976. The sire of Garland Lobell topped Nevele Pride’s 1:58.2 freshman mark and became the fastest 2-year-old trotter ever. ABC set his lifetime mark of 1:56.3 the following year in a time trial. The market for blockbuster trotting time trials pretty much dried up after that, although Cash Hall did crush the half-mile mark with that 1:51.1 mile for John Campbell at Delaware in 2006 that was referenced above. The time trials involving Standardbred trotters under saddle has been less prevalent, nonetheless, it has played a prominent role due to the horses and people involved. In 1940 Greyhound ended his racing career under saddle at Lexington. Frances Dodge rode him to a world record of 2:01 ¾. That mark stood for 54-years, until Preferential and Brooke Nickells broke it in 1994 with a 1:58.2 mile. And six years later the mighty Moni Maker, like Greyhound, ended her career under saddle at The Red Mile. Jockey Julie Krone, with Jimmy Takter and Wally Hennessey following with prompters, trotted in an incredible 1:54.1. In the pacing camp it was up to Bret Hanover to continue the assault on the longstanding 1:55 standard that his paternal brother, Adios Butler, had begun. In early September of 1966, 4-year-old Bret, who was within a few months of being retired, time trialed in 1:54 at Vernon Downs for Frank Ervin with a single prompter chasing him. Five weeks later in Lexington Ervin put the TT1:53.3 mark on the big guy that would serve as his lifetime mark. Dancer preferred to put race marks on Albatross so there are no flashy time trials on Super Bird’s resume. He did become the fastest ever in a race when he won both heats of the Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile in 1:54.4, topping Adios Harry’s race mark, which Bret had matched. He also won in 1:55.3 at Delaware, matching Adios Butler’s time trial mark and eclipsing Bret’s 1:57 half-mile track race mark. Steady Star, a free-legged son of Steady Beau,  who was a year older than Albatross, cornered the time trial market in that era. At three he circled The Red Mile in 1:54 for Joe O’Brien and the following year, on October 1, 1971, he time trialed in a head turning 1:52. Later on, in 1976, 4-year-old Nero time trialed in 1:55.1 and the following year Warm Breeze was race timed in 1:53.1 at Golden Bear in Sacramento. Two years later Meadow Skipper’s son Falcon Almahurst became the fastest 3-year-old pacer ever with a 1:52.2 time trial at Lexington for Bill Haughton. Only Steady Star had gone faster. Then came the game changer: 3-year-old Niatross’s TT1:49.1 at The Red Mile on Oct 1, 1980. It was the sport’s first sub-1:50 mile and, while it parallels Adios Butler’s breach of the 1:50 point, it was so much more. The closest thing to it was Steady Star going 1:52, but the sleek son of Steady Beau didn’t win a single open stakes race during his career—not so for Niatross. His son Nihilator was later positioned to outdo dad in a time trial at Springfield but the weather didn’t cooperate and he was unable to lower his 1:49.3 race mark in a time trial at DuQuoin.  Matt’s Scooter went after the 1:49.1 mark at The Red Mile in 1988 and knocked four ticks off of it. His 1:48.2 time trial for Mike Lachance established a new world record. Matt’s Scooter beat Niatross’s mark but 5-year-old Cambest blew it out of the water with his 1:46.1 time trial at Springfield. The problem was that he wasn’t tested afterwards and not long after that his 1:52.1 win in the Senior Jug was disqualified due to elevated bicarbonate levels. Cambest was slated to stand at Hanover Shoe Farms but in light of the controversial final chapter of his career they passed. So stick Jimmy Takter and Bernie Noren behind a couple of fast pacers and let’s see if Ake can wheel Sebastian around The Red Mile in a time that will cause the crowd to gasp the way they did for Steady Star’s 1:52 mile and Niatross’s 1:49.1. Speed has always sold in this game; time to pump it up via the time trial. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

The Gran Premio Lotteria is Italy's greatest harness race, held every year since 1951 at Agnano in Naples, and will be held this year on Sunday May 4. The Lotteria is regarded as one of the four Grand Slam events of Europe and is a Group One Intnernational, eEligible to all horses 4YO and over, and raced in three elimination heats and a final later the same day, raced over 1,600 meters (0.99 mile) of Agnano's left handed 1000m track. The purse this year is 506 000 euros ($702,000 US), with heats worth 20,900e and the final carrying a purse of 443,300e. Three time winner of the race, Varenne is also the holder of the fastest winning time of 1:10.8, which he set in 2002. Here are some other facts on Italy's Grand Slam, Leading horses 3 - Birbone (1952, 1953, 1955) 3 - Tornese (1957, 1958, 1962) 3 - Une de Mai (1969, 1970, 1971) 3 - Varenne (2000, 2001, 2002) 2 - The Last Hurrah (1978, 1979) 2 - Mack Grace SM (2012,2013) Leading Sires. 3 - Nevele Pride (Contingent Fee, Evita Broline, Classy Rogue) 2 - Ayres (Top Hanover, The Last Hurrah) 2 - Pharaon (Tornese, Nievo) 2 - Quick Pay (The Onion, Victory Tilly) 2 - Speedy Crown (Evann C., Embassy Lobell) Fastest winning times. Auto start Varenne (2002)[3] 1.10.8 (km rate) Volt start (1951, 1952, 1956 Gelinotte (1956)[3] 1.17.8 (km rate) Leading Trainers 5 - Vivaldo Baldi (1952, 1953, 1955, 1978, 1979) 4 - Sergio Brighenti (1957, 1958, 1962, 1963) 4 - Jean-Rene Gougeon (1969, 1970, 1971, 1976) 4 - Stig H. Johansson (1984, 1991, 2003, 2005) 3 - Jori Turja (2000, 2001, 2002) Leading Drivers 5 - Vivaldo Baldi (1952, 1953, 1955, 1978, 1979) 5 - Jean-Rene Gougeon (1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1976) 4 - Stig H. Johansson (1984, 1991, 2003, 2005) 3 - Sergio Brighenti (1958, 1962, 1963) 3 - Giampaolo Minnucci (2000, 2001, 2002) Gran Premio Lotteria Winners 2013 Mack Grace SM Roberto Andreghetti Lucio Colletti Italy 1.11.3 2012 Mack Grace SM Roberto Andreghetti Lucio Colletti Italy 1.11.8 2011 Libeccio Grif Marco Smorgon Marco Smorgon Italy 1.12.8 2010 Italiano Gaetano Di Nardo Enrico Bellei Italy 1.11.3 2009 Island Effe Pietro Gubellini Edoardo Gubellini Italy 1.12.9 2008 Gambling Bi Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy Italy 1.11.3 2007 Exploit Caf Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy Italy 1.12.0 2006 Malabar Circle Ãs  Andrea Guzzinati Jerry Riordan Sweden 1.12.1 2005 Digger Crown Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson Sweden 1.13.0 2004 Legendary Lover K. Enrico Bellei Gunnar Christiansen United States 1.12.5 2003 Victory Tilly Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson Sweden 1.12.7 2002 Varenne Giampaolo Minucci Jori Turja Italy 1.10.8 2001 Varenne Giampaolo Minucci Jori Turja Italy 1.12.6 2000 Varenne Giampaolo Minucci Jori Turja Italy 1.12.4 1999 Remington Crown Joseph Verbeeck Jan Kruithof Sweden 1.11.1 1998 Kramer Boy Johnny Takter Johnny Takter Sweden 1.14.1 1997 Wesgate Crown Enrico Bellei Raz Mackenzie United States 1.12.4 1996 Crowning Classic Mauro Baroncini Mauro Baroncini United States 1.12.4 1995 Ina Scot Helen A. Johansson Kjell P. Dahlström Sweden 1.13.1 1994 Uconn Don Andrea Baveresi Andrea Baveresi United States 1.13.7 1993 Embassy Lobell Wim Paal Wim Paal United States 1.12.8 1992 Bravur Sund Mauro Baroncini Mauro Baroncini Sweden 1.12.7 1991 Peace Corps Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson United States 1.14.0 1990 Evann C. Björn Lindblom Björn Lindblom United States 1.12.9 1989 Hollyhurst Lorenzo Baldi Lorenzo Baldi United States 1.13.2 1988 Grades Singing Olle Goop Olle Goop United States 1.12.8 1987 Limbo Joe Vittorio Guzzinati Vittorio Guzzinati United States 1.13.9 1986 Classy Rogue William Casoli William Casoli United States 1.14.8 1985 Evita Broline Berndt Lindstedt Berndt Lindstedt Sweden 1.13.9 1984 The Onion Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson Sweden 1.14.1 1983 Keystone Patriot Veijo Heiskanen Antti Savolainen United States 1.15.6 1982 Our Dream of Mite Eduardo Gubellini Eduardo Gubellini United States 1.14.7 1981 Contingent Fee Mario Rivara Mario Rivara United States 1.16.2 1980 Hillion Brillouard Philippe Allaire Philippe Allaire France 1.13.8 1979 The Last Hurrah Vivaldo Baldi Vivaldo Baldi United States 1.14.9 1978 The Last Hurrah Vivaldo Baldi Vivaldo Baldi United States 1.14.5 1977 Wayne Eden Anselmo Fontanesi Anselmo Fontanesi United States 1.14.7 1976 Bellino II Jean-Rene Gougeon Jean-Rene Gougeon France 1.15.2 1975 Dimitria Leopold Verroken Leopold Verroken France 1.16.1 1974 Top Hanover Gerhard Krüger Gerhard Krüger United States 1.17.7 1973 Lightning Larry Eduardo Gubellini Eduardo Gubellini United States 1.16.5 1972 Amyot Louis Sauvé Louis Sauvé France 1.16.8 1971 Une de Mai Jean-Rene Gougeon Jean-Rene Gougeon France 1.16.7 1970 Une de Mai Jean-Rene Gougeon Jean-Rene Gougeon France 1.16.6 1969 Une de Mai Jean-Rene Gougeon Jean-Rene Gougeon France 1.16.6 1968 Eileen Eden Johannes Frömming Johannes Frömming United States 1.16.5 1967 Roquepine Jean-Rene Gougeon Henri Levesque France 1.16.4 1966 Cheer Honey Gerhard Krüger Gerhard Krüger United States 1.16.7 1965 Elma Johannes Frömming Jonel Chyriacos France 1.16.5 1964 Hurst Hanover Giancarlo Baldi Giancarlo Baldi United States 1.16.7 1963 Behave Sergio Brighenti Sergio Brighenti United States 1.16.4 1962 Tornese Sergio Brighenti Sergio Brighenti Italy 1.16.8 1961 Kracovie Roger Vercruysse Roger Vercruysse France 1.17.0 1960 Nievo Ugo Bottoni Ugo Bottoni Italy 1.17.5 1959 Icare IV Walter Baroncini Walter Baroncini France 1.16.7 1958 Tornese Sergio Brighenti Sergio Brighenti Italy 1.17.9 1957 Tornese Mario Santi Sergio Brighenti Italy 1.18.5 1956 Gelinotte Charlie Mills Charlie Mills France 1.17.8 1955 Birbone Vivaldo Baldi Vivaldo Baldi Italy 1.18.6 1954 Saint Clair Oduardo Baldi Oduardo Baldi United States 1.19.4 1953 Birbone Vivaldo Baldi Vivaldo Baldi Italy 1.18.5 1952 Birbone Vivaldo Baldi Vivaldo Baldi Italy 1.18.6 1951 Bayard Ugo Bottoni Ugo Bottoni Italy 1.20.3 by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

Sweden-bred Rose's La Nena (seven year-old Pearsall Hanover-O'Hill's Rose mare) took today's Janos Brody Memorial at Kincsem Park. The classic event carried a purse of 1.5 million(Huf) and was a 1960 meters distance handicap event. The winner scored in 1.16.6kr for reinsman Laszlo Kolozsi to increase her career earnings to over 9.3 million (Huf). Favored Ollyan Nincs made a disqualifying miscue that opened the way for the 6.9/1 winner that is owned by Balaton Eurotrade Kft. HU-bred Orangyal (six year-old Wall Street Banker mare) was a solid second with 20 meter handicapped Nice Brozo finishing third with Dora Kovacs aboard. The winner's maternal family is a good one. O'Hill's Rose is a daughter of Continental Spirit, a son of Speedy Somolli-Village Harmony. Village Harmony (Nevele Pride-Devona Hanover) traces directly to Delicious, her second dam, the producer of Prix d'Amerique winner Delmonica Hanover. The dam of O'Hill's Rose is Omaha Hill, a daughter of Arndon-Orna Hanover-Ayres. Co-feature on the card was the Koppany DIJ that went to 8.7/1 odds Nobody, a seven year-old son of Tony Oaks-Gunnel Diadem. Emil Csordas is owner/ trainer,/driver of this 1.15.8kr winner over 1800 meters autostart as he secured the winners' share of the 500,000Huf purse. Pretty Paper (six year-old daughter of Credit Winner-Anticipation-Donerail) was second for trainer/driver Csaba Lakatos. Tony Oaks sired three winners on the nine race program. At Hippodrome Wallonie (Belgium) on March 21, the Ander Lindqvist-Peter Gerry co-owned Angel Dark (four year-old son of Look de Star) was a fast closing third in just his third lifetime start. He won his previous start and this was his first test over the extended 2300 meter autostart course. Nicolas Senet handled Angel Dark for trainer Lindqvist, from post 11, that was timed in 1.16.56kr, two lengths off the winner Arthur d'Atom and reinsman Gerard Vergaerde. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com          

Exceptionally competitive trotting highlighted today's Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes harness racing card, readying race-goers for tomorrows Grand Prix de France. Today's featured Prix Ephram Houel (Grade II, 120,000 euro, 2,175 meters) was taken by the 4 year-old mare Victoire (by Kitko), driven by Mathieu Mottier for owner/trainer Danielle Mottier.

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