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A number of probable Elitloppet candidates were on track over the past several days. On April 7 at Solvalla was the Dartster Fis Lopp (total purse 21,719€, 2140 meters autostart) and victorious was the 1.3/1 favorite Ecurie D (5m Infinitif - To Soon - Muscles Yankee) timed in 1.12.9kr. Bjorn Goop reined the Frode Hamre trainee that was bred by Jean Pierre Dubois. Ecurie D won for the 15th time in his 18 race career and he now has 3,357,745SEK in life earnings for co-owners Global Glide Ab and Smart Repair Ab. This victory earned Ecurie D an Elite Race invitation that his connections accepted. The 9/1 odds Milliondollarrhyme (7g Ready Cash - Nursery Rhyme - Credit Winner) was second for trainer/driver Fredrik B, Larsson. Third home was 7.1/1 Forfantone AM (6m Musclel Hill - Tamla Celeber - Cantab Hall) reined by Torbjorn Jansson for trainer Roger Walmann. To watch race replay, click here.    Ecurie D Today April 10th was the L.C. Peterson Broddas Minne (150,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart) at Jagersro and 2,2/1 Racing Mange (8m Orlandoi Vici - Kara Kickan - Alf Palema) was victorious in 1.12.2lr. Joakim Lovgren trains and drove the winner, now two for two in 2021 and 13 for 66 lifetime. His career earnings advanced to 5,210,642SEK. The 3.2/1 Cyber Lane (8g Raja Mirchi - Syberis Hanover) was second handled by Johan Untersteiner. Third was 9.5/1 Floris Baldwin (9g Passing Renka) with Magnus Djuse at the lines. On April 9 at Boden was the Alla Warmblod (35,000SEK first money, 2140 meters autostart) and Hail Mary (5m Googoo Gaagaa - Dreams) scored in 1.16.3kr in his first 2021 start. Robert Bergh, the trainer, teamed the winner to his 18th victory in 21 career starts now for 7,318,000SEK earned. Regent Zet (12g Tibbe Lavec) was second for Micael Melander and third went to Eder Bob (10m Crazed - Keystone Blaze) for pilot Mats E. Djuse. A week back (April 2) was the Prins Cark Philips Jubileumspokal (250,000SEK first money, 1640 meters autostart) with that victory earned by Click Bait (5m Cantab Hall - Fun At Parties - Lindy Lane) timed in 1.09.8kr. Per Lennartsson teamed the Stall TZ stallion that was bred by Russell Williams as he won for the eighth time in 33 starts now for 2,239,700SEK earned. Don Fanucci Zet (5m Hard Livin - Kissed By The West - Western Terror) was a length back second for driver Orjan Kihlstrom. Third was Union Forces (5m Cantab Hall - Southwind Catlin) handled by Bjorn Goop for trainer Stefan Melandeer. ATG, Gaet, Solvalla files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

It has been reported by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent that affter the defeat Sunday afternoon in the Prix de France, where Face Time Bourbon finished second, his regular driver, Björn Goop, was sacked by the main owner, Italian Antonio Somma. Somma has long been unsatisfied with Goop as the driver of maybe the world’s best trotter at present, and just after the race, Somma wrote on Twitter that Goop was sacked. Today Somma was interviewed on the French racing television channel Equidia and said that Sebastian Guarato, who trains Face Time Bourbon, was free to pick any of these five drivers in the future to drive the top trotter: Eric Raffin, Gabriele Gelormini, Yoann Lebourgeois, Matthieu Abrivard and Franck Nivard. Sebastian Guarato had already made his choice and made it public, that Eric Raffin is the new driver of Face Time Bourbon. “Raffin is an obvious choice,” Guarato said. “He has driven Face Time Bourbon twice in races and has won both times.” Eric Raffin will drive Face Time Bourbon on March 6 in the Prix de Selection at Vincennes. Björn Goop has driven Face Time Bourbon in 29 races and has 24 wins and four seconds. On Jan. 31, Face Time Bourbon (with Goop) was an easy winner of the famous Prix d’Amerique for the second year in a row. From the USTA

The Prix de France « Speed Race » will offer a dazzling harness racing sport climax on Sunday 14 February at Paris-Vincennes. This Group I is the second of the three Ultimate Finals of the Prix d'Amérique Races ZEturf. It is the expected revenge, two weeks after the crowning of Face Time Bourbon in the Prix d'Amérique "Legend Race". The 2100-metre speed course promises an intense and spectacular confrontation. The total purse for the race is 400,000€.   And revenge it will be, since the horses who finished first and second in the Prix d'Amérique "Legend Race" will line up for the start on Sunday next. Face Time Bourbon, winner on January 31, and runner up Davidson du Pont, title holder of the Prix de France "Speed Race", will compete anew on the mythical cinder track of Paris-Vincennes. Last year, in that same race, the latter had beaten his rival. What will happen next Sunday? Everything is possible.   On a smaller distance, ideal for speed surprises, the other exciting parameter will be the actual timed speed. Will the Race record fall? Kool du Caux, with 1'09"8, has been the title holder for some time now, since 2007.If we bear in mind that Face time Bourbon has already trotted twice in 1'09"8 over that same course, the existing record is in great danger. In addition to those two inescapable favourites, Face Time Bourbon and Davidson du Pont, other contenders, namely Délia du Pommereux and Bahia Quesnot, who finished 4th and 5th, respectively in the Prix d'Amérique "Legend Race", have legitimate ambitions. This beautiful casting will be completed by Billie de Montfort who loves sprints, by Aetos Kronos the gifted Swedish horse, who will bring an international flavour to the race, and also by Romanesque and Frisbee d'Am.      Face Time Bourdon (left) and Davidson du Pont PIERRE HERME, A PATRON OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE DRAW OF PLACES AT THE AUTOSTART In this race with mobile autostart, places behind the car are essential. The draw for the start of the Prix de France was held under the auspices of the Excellence of the pastry art "à la française" and the Excellence of trotting. Pierre Hermé, Pastry World Champion and horse racing aficionado, has honoured with his presence the draw of numbers behind the autostart. The king of the Macaron had a lucky hand for Face Time Bourbon who obtained n°2, considered as one of the most favourable numbers, whereas Davidson du Pont with n°8, on the outside, was not that lucky… Jean-Michel Bazire, Davidson du Pont's trainer and driver had no hard feelings about it. He told Pierre Hermé :"I admire you. Let me tell you that your rose cake is the best in the world! Number 8 is certainly not ideal but my horse is in top form and has recovered very easily after his recent efforts". Björn Goop, driver of Face Time Bourbon, observed: "Number 2 is all right, even though I was hoping for n°3 or n°4. It's sad for Davidson du Pont and his number 8 but Jean-Michel Bazire, at any place, knows the best tactics " ' Yesterday’s draw, live, HERE     FOLLOW THE RACE LIVE The race will be available online, live, on,, Equidia Racing 1, and on Facebook Live @Equidia.   From LeTrot Media

Face Time Bourbon (5m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon), off at 1/10 odds, returned to action in France to win the Gr. II Prix Marcel Laurent (purse 85,000€, 2100 meters autostart, European four and five year olds) at Paris-Vincennes, clocked in 1.09.8kr. Bjorn Goop teamed this Sebastien Guarato trainee that Scuderia Bivans Srl owns. Face Time recorded his 26th career victory in 31 starts plus four second place finishes, and his life earnings are now 2,105,190€. The 2019 winner of the Prix d'Amerique is on course to defend his title at the end of January. Two lengths back second was 23/1 Feerie Wood (5f Rockfeller Center-Vive Fee) with owner Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer L. C. Abrivard. Ecurie D bred this one. Third today was 22/1 Gu d’Heripre (4m Coktail Jet-Vedetta d’Heripre) for Franck Nivard, trainer Philippe Billard and Ecurie d’Heripre. Feeling Cash at 69/1 and 72/1 oddsFavonte Fligny completed the top five  Replay - Face Time Bourbon On the undercard was the Gr. III Prix Olry Roederer (monte Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2850 meters, European four year olds) and 1.1/1 odds favorite Gladys des Plaines (4f Opus Viervil-Thetis de Vaujours) scored easily in 1.12.5kr with Mathieu Mottier in the irons. She now has five career wins for 319,470€ earned. Gilles Curens trains this mare for owner Augustin Radu. The 2.6/1 odds Gospel Pat (4m Uriel Speed-Namorosa) was distant second with David Thomain up for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Patrick Madar. Third home was 39/1 Gef de Play (4m Gazouillis-Paradise Island) for Adrien Lamy and owner/trainer Franck Leblanc. Gladys Des Plaines LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

The Groupe I Prix de L;Etoile (purse 170,000€, 2150 meters distance handicap, eight starters three through five year olds) at Paris-Vincennes today went to the 2/10 favorite Face Time Bourbon (5m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon) timed in 1.09.4kr over 2200 meters (mile rate 1:51.66) as he was handicapped 50 meters as were the other five year olds in the harness racing field. He was driven by Bjorn Goop as usual. This Sebastian Guarato trainee now has 24 victories in 28 starts for 1,926,900€ in career earnings. Scuderia Bivans Srl owns the winner that was bred by SARL Haras Saint Martin. Face Time Bourbon scored easily with the plugs in. The 60/1 Frisbee d’Am (5m The Best Madrik-Miska Rondes) was best of the rest for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Richard Westerink. Third was 98/1 Fakir du Lorault (5m Vaillant Cash) handled by Francois Lecanu. 27/1 Hirondelle Sibey and 6.6/1 Feliciano completed the top five. Face Time Bourbon       Trainer Guarato   to watch the race replay, click here.    LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Ecurie D (4m Infinitif-To Soon-Muscles Yankee) resumed his winning ways today at Solvalla with a 1.12.2kr timed victory in the Fyraaringslopp (100,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart). Bjorn Goop teamed the Frode Hamre trainee to his fifth 2020 win in six starts and his 12th career victory in 13 appearances now for 2,595,625SWK earned. Global Glide AB and Smart Repair Center AB co-own Ecurie D that was bred in Denmark by Jean Pierre Dubois. He was off as the 1.14./1 favorite and bested 6.9/1 Brother Bill (4g From Above-Clear As A Bell-Super Arnie) handled by Jorma Kontio for Timo Nurmos. 29.8/1 Belker (4m Scarlet Knight-Ok I Can-Amer I Can) took third for Erik Adielsson and trainer Robert Bergh. Fourth home was Click Bait.  Ecurie D For race replay, click here.  The undercard saw Hoboken AM (3f Muscle Hill-My Love di Quattro-Love You) take the  Tearingspp Fillies (100,000SEK to the winner,2140 meters autostart). Jorma Kontio handled the winner for trainer Timo Nurmos and AM Bloodstock. This was her fourth 2020 and career victory in as many starts. Hoboken Am For race replay click here. ATG, Fintoto files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Face Time Bourbon (5m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon) easily took the Gr. I Criterium 5 Ans at Paris-Vincennes today (purse 170,000€, 3000 meters voltstart, 17 starters) as the 2/10 harness racing favorite and timed in 1.12.1kr over the extended distance. Bjorn Goop teamed the Sebastien Guarato trainee for Scuderia Bivans Srl, to his 23rd career victory in 27 starts. His life earnings increased to 1,850,400€ with this score. FTB was away mid-pack on the outer before a three wide brush and rush to the lead on the backside. He open a wide lead and eased home a five length winner. SARL Haras Saint Martin bred the winner. The 12/1 Feliciano (5m Ready Cash-Ravenella) was a solid second for pilot David Thomain, trainer Philippe Allaire and breeder/owner Ecurie des Charmes. 140/1 Flamme du Goutier (5f Ready Cash - Utopie du Goutier) took third reined by Theo Duvaldestin for Ecurie Saint Martin and trainer Thierry Duvakdestin. The 73/1 Frisbee d’Am (5m The Best Madrik) was fourth for reinsman Anthony Barrier and trainer Richard Westerink, with fifth money to 53/1 Feerie Wood (5f Rockfeller Center) handled by Alexandre Abrivard. Feydeau Seven and Fakir du Lorault completed the top seven. This race was the Quinte+ race of the day and the exact order top five paid 44,949.00€ to 25 winning tickets. Below is a photo recap of this race action. Face Time Bourbon Replay Click this link: LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

August 8, 2020  - The 3.1/1 odds Moni Viking (7m Maharajah-Jeunesse Doree-Coktail Jet) rallied boldly to win the harness racing Gr. I International Aby Stora Pris (purse 3,580,000SEK total purse with 2,000,000SEK to the winner, 3140 meters autostart, 12 starters). Bjorn Goop trains and drove the winner for Jan Lyng of Norway as he won for the sixth time in nine 2020 starts and 13th career win in 43 appearances now for life earnings of 5,894,440SEK.  Who’s Who (6m Maharajah-Reality Pride-From Above) was second with Orjan Kihlstrom up for trainer Pasi Aikio. Third was Cyber Lane (7g Raja Mirchi-Sybaris Hanover-Cantab Hall) with Johan Untersteiner at the lines. Race time was 1.12.4kr with quick later speed. Watch the race here. The time at the 2000 meter post was 1.13.7kr. Cokstile and Pacific Face finished fourth and fifth. Moni Viking   Earlier in the day was the Regnar Thorngrens (220,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) with a rallying victory to Aramis Bar (4m Napoleon Bar-Guendalina Bar-Bon Vivant) with trainer Bjorn Goop at the lines for owner Forspro AB.   This was his third 2020 win in six outings and 10th in a 21 race career. Power (4m Googoo Gaagaa-La Vici-Orlando Vici) held gamely from his front trotting duty to be second for trainer/driver Robert Bergh. Third was Galantis (4m Zola Bokoi) with Johan Untersteiner up. Aramis Bar The Bertil Knutssons Minne (STL Diamantstoet Final, 220,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart) saw Argbiggan (5f Maharajah-Kemp’s Emilie-Enjoy Lavec) score in 1.12.5kr with trainer Rickard Svanstedt up. This was the third 2020 victory in 11 starts for the Lennart Johansson owned mare. Divine (8f Dream Vacation-Barbie Do-Ken Warkentin) was next for Erik Adielsson and third was Princess Kloster (4f Classic Photo-Perfekta Kloster-Carmody Lobell) for Peter Untersteiner. The winner and third mares overcame 20-meter handicaps. Arbiggan   Vagabond Bi (6g Varenne-Felicity Bi-Toss Out) took the STL Bronze Final (purse to winner 220,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) clocked in 1.10.8kr with Ulf Ohlsson up for trainer David Persson and owner Stall Skaven HG.   Off at 5.5/1 the winner recorded his 14th career victory in 56 starts. Adde SH (5g Nu Pagadi-Fast Allegro-Fast Photo) took second for Peter Untersteiner and Twigs Ceasar (8g Muscle Mass-Twigs Goldie-Texas) took third for Bjorn Goop, also the trainer. Vagabond Bi The STL Silver Final (250,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) saw Pastor Power (6g Pastor Stephen-Tobina Pazzione-JR Broline) win in 1.11.9kr for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner. He was off at 9.2/1 odds and he won for the 11th time in 42 career starts, Zap di Girifalco (5m Dream Vacation-Bea di Girifalco-Waikiki Beach) was second for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop with the third check earned by Man At Work (7g Ken Warkentin-Illustre November-Viking Kronos) for Orjan Kihlstrom. Pastor Power Several other interesting winners today included Stoletheshow (5m Dream Vacation-Abba Hall-Garland Lobell) in the Linsons Stora Sprinterpris (purse 220,000SEK first prize, 1640 meters autostart) for Rikard N. Skoglund timed in 1.10.6kr and off at 5.7/1. Staro Leonardo (6g Make It Happen) was second for Peter Ingves. The Aby Stora Trearingspris (three year olds, purse 125,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, nine starters) went to 16.5/1 Hopeusteponalego (3m Donato Hanover-Gliding Phoebe-Yankee Glide) for Orjan Kihlstrom timed n 1.13.4kr. Stall Courant AB owns this one. The Klass II Final (220,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) went to 1.12,4kr timed and 3.1/1 odds Newport Beach (5m Ready Cash-Sugarbush Hanover-Andover Hall) for driver Peter Ingves and trainer Josef Franzi. Gunter Herz owns the winner that now has six 2020 wins in seven starts and 10 career victories in 13 outings. At the start of this exceptional program was the Aby Stora Monte Prix 2020 (125,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart, 10 starters) and post 10 Rajesh Face (7g Raja Mirchi-Nippy Girl-Ginger Somolli) scored easily in a new SWE record 1.10.1kr (mile 1:52.4F). Rajesh Face Thomas H. Hicks  

Today’s ICA Maxi Eskilstuna (purse to winner 200,000SEK, 2640 meters autostart, 10 starters) in Sweden put some superb four year olds on stage. The exceptional Ecurie D (4m Infinitif-To Soon-Muscles Yankee) scored for the 11th consecutive time for trainer Frode Hamre and owners Global Glide SAB and Smart Repair, this one over an extended distance and from post 9 in the second tier. Off at 1.4/1 Ecurie D worked between horses and made the lead in lap one before the stands. Driver Bjorn Goop rated the pace and then powered away in the last going with a quick final 640 meters. Race time was 1.12.7kr (fractions 1.11.8kr at the first 500; 1.14.2kr at the 1000 meters, 1.14.4kr at the first 1500 and 1.14.1kr at the 2000 meter mark). Next up for the Jean Pierre Dubois bred colt is reportedly in the Hugo Abergs Memorial. Brother Bill (4g From Above) was second for Jorma Kontio and conditioner Timo Nurmos. Third was Ultion Face (4m Joke Face) for trainer/driver Adrian Kolgjini, and the well-regarded Aetos Kronos was fourth. Ecurie D     Race Replay - The forementioned Hugo Abergs Memorial so far has an invited list that includes Ble du Gers, Tae Kwon Deo, Racing Mange, Campo Bahio, Cokstike and Ecurie D. That race date is July 28.   Upcoming is also the July 19 St. Michel AJO at Mikkeli. That lineup includes Vernissage Grif, Antonio Tabac, Hotshot Luca, Makethemark, Missle Hill, Moni Viking, Next Direction and Sobel Conway.     The undercard at Eskilstuna  today saw the STL Silverdivision (purse to winner 125,000SEK, 1640 meters autostart, 12 starters) go to 42.1/1 odds Maze Runner (5g GH Nemo-Gale Warning-Lindy Lane) timed in 1.10.1kr and reined by Ulf Ohlsson for trainer Maria Tornqvist. Second was Rushmore Face (7g Joke Face) for Adrian Kolgjini and third went to Giant Shadow (7g RC Royalty) with Bjorn Goop aboard.   Maze Runner Earlier the Chapel Hill (60,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart, nine starters) went to Heavy Sound (8g Ken Warkentin-Illustre November-Viking Kronos) timed in 1.12.3kr and reined by Kenneth Haugstad for SRF Stable and trainer Daniel Reden. Nappa Scar (8m Scarlet Knight) and Who’s Who (6m Maharajah) trailed the winner. On the Eskilstuna undercard was also the Gregers Minne MalardalsCupen Final (100,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) and Iceland Falls (4f Iceland-Simb Ruby-Alf Palema) scored with Claes Sjostrom up for trainer Hakan Wallberg. This was her first 2020 victory and fourth of her career. Estelle Nordique (6f Real de Lou) and Lovemore (6f Love You) followed the winner. Iceland Falls ATG, Eskilstuna, Maharjah files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

May 16, 2020 - Ecurie D (4m Infinitif-Too Soon-Muscles Yankee) won today’s Ina Scots at Mantorp (purse to winner 250,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) from post 12, timed in 1.12.2kr with Bjorn Goop at the lines for Global Glide AB, Smart Repair and trainer Frode Hamre. He scored at 2/1 odds for the ninth time in as many career starts. His life earnings are now 1.595,525SEK. This colt was bred in Denmark by Jean Pierre Dubois and represents Franco-American pedigree as shown below. Ecurie D raced in the death seat throughout albeit he took a very brief two-hole off the final bend behind the second finishing Armour As (4m Varenne-Southwind As-Turbo Sund) and Stefan Persson for trainer Jerry Riordan. Third was Rally Hans (4m Scarlet Knight-Loveletter-Love You) for Mika Forss and trainer Stefan Melander. Ecurie D Goop also scored in the Arne Erikssons (110,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart, 14 starters) with his trainee Karamel Hill (6f Juliano Star-Fredrika Kemp-Alf Palema) that was bred in Norway and is now owned there by Jorn Stamm. This was her second win in three 2020 starts and her life earnings are now 658,387SEK. Off at 1.8/1 she overcame a 20-meter handicap and defeated Millie Millionaire (7f Jacose-Melby Tempo-Varenne) that was handicapped 40 meters and reined by Orjan Kilhstrom. Third went to 40-meter penalized Vikens Fingerprint (5f Prodigious) for Oskar J. Andersson. Karamel Hill Robert Bergh won the V75 Gold (150,000SEK, 2640 meters autostart) with his trainee 2.7/1 Mindyourvalue WF (7g Hovding Lavec-Mind Your Manners-Dahir de Prelong) timed in 1.13.1kr. Handsome Brad (6m Dream Vacation-Emma Rose-Andover Hall) was a good second for Carl Johan Jepson and Dreammoko (4h Timoko) was third for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. MIndyourvalue WF   Goop’s other winners this day were with Zap di Girifalco in the V75 Bronze, Ale’ Pride Gar in a four year old event, and Hidalgo Heldia in a three year old race.   Thomas H. Hicks  

May 9, 2020 - The Gr. II International Lyon Grand Prix (purse 48,275€, 2640 meters autostart, 12 starters) at Aby on Saturday went to 19/1 Noble Superb (5m Maharajah-Oh Superb-Orlando Vici) clocked in 1.13.0kr with harness racing driver Bjorn Goop up for Stall Marlin and trainer Marcus Lindgren. The Norwegian bred scored for the first time in 2020 in two starts, and this was his eighth career victory in 21 appearances. 2.3/1 Forfantone AM (5m Muscle Hill-Tamla Celeber-Cantab Hall) took second for Torbjorn Janssen and trainer Roger Walmann. SRF Stable owns this well-bred performer. Third was the early pacesetter and 13/1 outsider Maxus (5m Muscle Hill-Gerris Joy-Enjoy Lavec) with Eric Adielssson up. Stall Zet/Daniel Reden own this one that was bred in the USA by Nicolas Cimino. Noble Superb Island Life (9g Pine Chip-Gossip-The Onion) took the V75 Silver at Aby (24,496€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) clocked in 1.12.4kr and with trainer Robert Bergh the reinsman. He was off at 4.1/1 odds and recorded his second straight 2020 victory in five starts. 40/1 Pastor Power (6g Pastor Stephen-Tobina Passione-JR Broline) was second for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner and 43/1 Roofie (5g Andover Hall-Passionate Kemp-Lindy Lane) landed third with Stefan Persson up for trainer Johan Untersteiner. Island Life The first leg of the Breeders Course (three year old open, purse 19,816€, 2140 meters autostart, six starters) took place at Aby on Saturday with the victory earned by 3.8/1 Balsamine Font (3f Filipp Roc-Issima OK-Pine Chip) with trainer Bjorn Goop at the lines for owner/breeder Scuderia Sant’Eusebio SNC. This Italian bred filly won for the first time in three 2020 starts and it was her third career victory in eight appearances. The 9/10 favorite Mr Mah Can (3m Maharajah-Canaka BF-Jobie Tempest) was second with trainer Robert Bergh up. 9/1 A Good Poimt (3m Maharajah-Romantic Lovce-Super Arnie) recovered from an early miscue to land third for pilot Kevin Oscarsson. Race time was 1.14.03kr with a speedy final 640 meters (the 1500 mark clocking was 1.15.3kr). Balsamine Font   The Aby card also included four other events each with a purse of 21,679€. The STL Diamantstoet (2140 meters voltstart, distance handicap, 14 starters) went to the 20 meter handicapped and 11/1 odds Sharp Dream (7f Royal Dream-Sharp Concrete-Alf Palema) clocked in 1.13.4kr with Peter Ingves up. 10/1 Zanzibar Wise As (5f Muscle Massive-Lovely Fame-Varenne) was a nose back second for Federico Esposito, after a five wide surge off the final bend. Sharp Dream The Klass II Stayerlopp (3140 meters autostart) saw 6.4/1 Rackham (4m Love You-Red Orchid-Dream Vacation) score in 1.15.1kr for trainer/driver/co-owner Christoffer Eriksson. This was his second win in three 2020 outings. Second was 5/2 odds Matteo (4g Quite Easy-Love You More-Love You) for Stefan Persson. Bordeaux S (4g Orlando Vici-Spot Over-Spotlite Lobell) was third at 13/1 for Carl Johan Jepson and trainer Jerry Riordan. Rackham The V75 Bronze (2640 meters voltstart, 12 starters) went to 1.14.7kr clocked Guillaume Boko (7m Prodigious-Proud Mary-Supergill) as Bjorn Goop trains and drove this one for owner Sonja Wewering, his 11th career win in 41 appearances. He was the even-money favorite and bested 9/1 Ontrack He’s Back (6m Orlando Vici-Keystone Delicious-American Winner) with Erik Adielsson up. Guillaume Boko The Klass I (1640 meters autostart, 12 starters), a qualifier for the May 30th finale at Solvalla, saw 7.4/1 Southwind Queen (4f Muscle Hill-Sensual Hall-Garland Lobell) score in 1.11.1kr with Peter Ingves up for trainer Riccardo Bianchi and owner Story Inc. This Southwind Farm bred filly won for the 24th time in 37 career starts after going 13 for 19 last year. Zlatan Knick (5g Going Kronos) at 19/1 and 27/1 The Gambler (4g SJs Photo) followed the very impressive winner, one to watch in the future.   Southwind Queen   Thomas H. Hicks  

This final day of the harness racing Winter Meet on Saturday at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes included four groupe level races and the Quinte+ race of the day. Action began with Grace de Fael (4f Sam Bourbon-Acquarella de Fael), off at 3.9/1, taking the Gr. II Prix Louis le Bourg (monte, purse 100,000€, 2850 meters) at Vincennes, racing with shoes, and with jockey Alexandre Abrivard in the irons. Thierry Duvaldestin trains the 1.13.9kr clocked mare for owner Jose Fernandes. Grace now has eight career wins for 230,000€ earned. 27/1 odds Guide Moi Forgan (4m Neutron du Cebe) was second for jockey Christopher Corbineau with third earned by 12/1 Get de Play (4m Gazouillis) handled by Adrien Lamy for owner/trainer Franck Leblanc. Grace de Fael The featured event on this last day of the Vincennes Winter Meet was the Gr. I Prix de Selection (purse 200,000€, 2200 meters, four to six year olds). The 1/10 favorite Face Time Bourbon (5m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon) scored in 1.10.9kr with Bjorn Goop aboard for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Scuderia Bivans Srl. Face Time won for the 20th time in his career that has so far yielded 1,651,050€. The 11/1 Enino du Pommereux (6m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) took second for* Matthieu Abrivard aboard for trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. 21/1 Frisbee d’Am (5m The Best Madrik) was third for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Richard Westerink. Face Time had a remarkable Winter Meet with four wins including the Grand Prix d’Amerique, three of those being Gr. I wins, plus a second place finish in the Grand Prix France. He also lowered his personal time badge to 1.10.6kr in the Criterium Continental. Face Time Bourbon The Gr. III Prix Henri Desmontils (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters, monte, International) was up next and saw 4.2/1 Evangelina Blue (6f Speedy Blue-Happy Blue) score, timed I 1.14.2kr, with Mathieu Mottier aboard for trainer J.P. Mary, the winners’ ninth career victory now for 662,000€ earned. 4.1/1 Etoile de Bruyere (6f Kenor de Cosse) was a game second for jockey Adrien Lamy. Third was Caban Prior (8g Sancho Panca) handled by Aurilien Desmarres. Evangelina Blue The Prix du Plateau de Gravelle (Gr. III, purse 90,000€, 2100 meters autostart, International) saw JMB on the victory stage as it went to 1.11.1kr timed Dorgos de Guez (7g Romcok de Guez-Landy Frometro) with trainer Jean Michel Bazire aboard. Dorgos won for the 21st time in a career that now shows 605,6580€ earned. He was off as the 8/10 odds favorite and he defeated 5.4/1 stablemate Colonel (8g Goetmals Wood-Royale Star) with Nicolas Bazire up for owner Ecurie des Charmes. Detroit Castelets (7m Neoh Jiel) took third for David Thomain. Dorgos de Guez The day’s Quinte+ race was the Prix de Montsoreau (purse 58,000€, 2700 meters, European) with victory to 3.9/1 Moni Viking (7m Maharajah-Jeunesse Dorec) with trainer Pierre Vercruysse up for owner Jan Lyng. This was his sixth victory in France and it raised his career earnings to 267,141€. Race time was 1.12.4kr. The 9/1 Datcha (7f The Best Madrik) was second for J.Ph. Monclin and third was 33/1 Divine Mesloise. 35/1 Baron Daidou and 118/1 Altius Fortis completed the top five. The exact order Q+ payoff was 136,224€ to eight winning tickets. The Q+ pool was 4,185,945€ and 8,912,000€ was wagered on the race (all wagering pools). Moni Viking The Paris-Vincennes Winter Meet is now complete. In addition to the performance of Face Time Bourbon the top drivers, jockeys and trainers based on number of wins are shown below:   Drivers: Eric Raffin 69, Jean Michel Bazire 58, David Thomain 37 Jockeys: Eric Raffin 25, Alexandre Abrivard 19, Mathieu Mottier 15 Trainers: Jean Michel Bazire 83, Philippe Allaire 23, Laurent Claude Abrivard 23. There were three others with 22 training wins – Sebastien Guarato, Christian Bigeon and J.M. Baudouin It was quite a race meet, horses and equine. Equine also saw great victories by Davidson du Pont and the exceptional Belina Jocclyn.    Raffin and Bazire LeTrot, PMU files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Davidson du Pont (7m Pacha du Pont-Laguna du Pont), off at 1.3/1 as favorite, and reined expertly by his trainer Jean Michel Bazire, held off the magnificent late rush from 2.4/1 Face Time Bourbon (5m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon) to win the Gr. I Grand Prix de France (International UET Masters Series, purse 350,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters) at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes on Sunday clocked in 1.11.1kr. Davidson, away alertly and raced on the front, is owned by his breeder Albert Rayon and he now has earned 1,297,310€ from 13 victories in 41 starts. Bazire had not driven Davidson since March 2, 2019 when he was second to Face Time Bourbon in the Prix de Selection when he was timed in 1.10.1kr and was handicapped 25 meters that day. Today, Face Time, driven by Bjorn Goop for trainer Sebastien Guarato and Scuderia Bivans Srl, was away third behind pocket sitting Uza Josselyn and then moved to third in the second tier but he was blocked until it was too late to catch Davidson that Bazire rated perfectly. Face Time closed stoutly with impressive late speed. 20/1 Delia du Pommereux (7f Niky-Noune du Pommereux) made a late rush to earn third with Franck Nivard up for trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. 99/1 Bahia Quesnot (9f Scipion du Goutier) held fourth for trainer/driver Junior Guelpa after making a death seat challenge to Davidson during the contest. To watch the race replay, click here.  The 23/1 Vitruvio (6m Adrian Chip) was fifth for Alessandro Gocciadoro, nosing out 11/1 Bold Eagle (9m Ready Cash) with Eric Raffin up. 35/1 Billie de Montfort was seventh ahead of 281/1 veteran Valko Jenilat and 39/1 Uza Josselyn. Davidson du Pont   Bazire and Goop The Grand Prix de France was the Quinte+ race of the day and 420 exact order winning tickets each returned 5,841.20. The Q+ pool was 7,253,687€ and the total wagered on the race (all pools) was 14,004,000€. Next up in two weeks is the Grand Prix de Paris, a marathon event raced over 4150 meters for a 350,000€ purse, that completes the Triple Crown of the Winter Meet at Paris-Vincennes, of which there will not be a 2020 champion. The 2019 Paris edition went to Belina Josselyn that today was a miscue dq early in the race. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Vincennes, France – Following the outside cover of Davidson Du Pont, harness racing driver Bjorn Goop and Face Time Bourbon weaved their way around horses and was able to post a two-length triumph to win the 100th Grand Prix d’Amerique race at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes Sunday. It was the 19th victory in just 22 career starts for Face Time Bourbon. The five-year-old son of two-time Prix d’Amerique winner, Ready Cash, is now harness racing newest international trotting star. The race began with a Calvary charge for control of the early lead with horses racing three-wide for the first half mile of the 1.67-mile race (2,700 meters). Billie De Montfort (Gabriele Gelormini) held the early lead, then Excellent (Alexandre Abrivard) got to the front and Propulsion (Orjan Kihlstrom) was able to drop into the two-hole along the rail. And all the while there was Davidson Du Pont and driver Franck Ouvire parked out first-over and not giving up an inch. Meanwhile, Goop and Face Time Bourbon were following their cover second over. Excellent then went off-stride and that allowed Looking Superb (David Thomain) a brief time on the lead, but as they finally reached the top of the stretch, Davidson Du Pont, parked the mile, was in the lead, but Goop moved down along the rail and passed them by with Face Time Bourbon for the victory in 1’11’50. Davidson Du Pont held for the second place with the mare, Belina Josselyn (Jean-Michel Bazire), last year’s Prix d’Amerique winner, finishing third. Bold Eagle was never in the hunt and finished 10th in the field of 18 starters. Ringostarr Treb, making his final start before going to the stud barn, make a break and finished last. Trained by Sebastien Guarato, Face Time Bourbon is owned by Scuderia Bivans SLR. It was his sixth straight win. He went off at odds of 4.9-1 odds. Before the Prix d’Amerique race, everyone at the track was treated to an unbelievable show on the racetrack celebrating American soldiers coming to help France in World War I. The crowds were so packed that is was impossible to try and get on the track apron to watch the show. Luckily for most, it was broadcast on all three jumbo screens in the infield. It was a presentation that left many speechless, amazed and proud to be part of this special day’s events. On the track were the following: 100 children dressed in driver colors with helmets 100 Horse costume parade and dance 100 Harley-Davidson motorcycles parade, each with an American Flag 100 cheerleaders in USA outfits carrying Prix d’Amerique and American Flags Introduction of the 18 drivers in the Prix d’Amerique race, each driver came through the throngs of crowds, holding the hand of a child dressed in USA colors. Drivers giving Hi-Fives to fans, posing for selfies and then were escorted off the track on two-seater Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Before the Prix d’Amerique race there was an outstanding performance of horsemanship by the French Royal Lancers. They performed precision riding with both lances and sabers while their special band played. There was also a very strong undercard at Vincennes with seven Graded Stakes. Total purses for the day was over 1.6 million euros. Major sponsors of this year’s Prix d’Amerique included Case IH Agriculture, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Lalique, RMC Sports Talk Radio, Gras Savoye, Lenotre Paris, FRM (Medicale), 20 Minutes and Printemps Nation. 100,000€ Prix Harley-Davidson This Groupe II stake was monte (racing under saddle) going 2700 meters (1.67 miles). It was a standing start and once the word go was given, jockey Mathie Mottier came charging from the far outside with Fame Music to take a commanding six length lead. As the field settled down, Flicka De Blary and jockey Camille Levesque went on the outside and had to settle for a pocket trip behind Fame Music as those two held a five-length lead over the field. Then as they came around the final turn, Fame Music went off-stride and was pulled to the inside of the track. That left Flicka De Blary and Levesque all alone in the lead and they held that lead through the stretch to win by six open lengths in 1”14’10. Flicka De Blary is a five-year-old mare by Sam Bourbon. She is trained by Thomas Levesque for the Levesque Stable. Flicka De Blary was the 2-1 favorite. 100,000€ Prix Case This Groupe II stake was another monte event but longer in distance at 2,850 meters (1.77 miles). The race belonged to Emir De Robomard and jockey Julien Raffestin who took the early lead away from Aribo Mix (Guillaume Martin) and then led the field nearly the entire race. As they charged down the stretch, Canan Prior and jockey Aurelien Desmarres kept gaining ground and collared Emir De Robomard at the wire to win by a half-length in 1’13’80. It was the 21st win for the eight-year-old son of Sancho Panca, who is owned and trained by Sylvain Desmarres. He went off at odds of 4-1. 100,000€ Prix RMC Sports Talk Another Grade II stake, only this race went behind the starting gate with 14 starters. Gotland (Eric Raffin) was first to leave the cut the mile until halfway through the race when Green Grass (Mathieu Mottier) came first-over, giving live cover to Gu D’Heripre (Franck Nivard). Then in a classic stretch drive to the wire, Gu D’Heripre was able to hold off a late charge by the race favorite, Gunilla D’Atout (Bjorn Goop), to win by a neck in 1’11’60. For Gu D’Heripre, a four-year-old son of Coktail Jet, it was a lifetime mark for trainer Philippe Billard and the D’Heripre Stable. He was the second choice in the race at odds of 4-1. TRACK NOTES: John Campbell, President and CEO of the Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Society has been in Paris this week for the big race and was overheard saying that plans are in the works for Bold Eagle to come back to America and race. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

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

Today’s Criterium des 3 Ans (Gr. I, purse 200,000€, 2700 meters) at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes  saw 1.9/1 odds Gunilla d’Atout (3f Ready Cash-Topaze d’Atout-Coktail Jet) the nose winner timed in 1.13.4kr with Bjorn Goop aboard. Sebastien Guarato trains the now eight-time winner in 10 starts for Ecurie Saint Martin. Gunilla now sports 287,900€ in career earnings. SCEA du Beaumanoir bred this full-sister to 661,113€ winning Eridan. The 5.2/1 Gu d’Heripre (3m Coktail Jet-Vedetta d’Heripre) was a gallant second for reinsman Franck Nivard, owner Ecurie Rolling and trainer Philippe Billard. 22/1 Galilea Money (3f Bold Eagle-Uturn Money) took third money handled by Jean-Michel Bazire for breeder/owner Yvan Bernard. The 15/1 Gallant Way (3m Ready Cash-Queen Flore) was fourth reined by David Thomain and trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Jacques Pauc. Gunilla d'Atout is surrounded by well-wishers in the winner's enclosure LeTrot’s Comte de Ballaigue and newly named LeTrot President Jean-Pierre Barjon presented the trophies to the winning connections. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

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