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May 23, 2015 - The Jean-Yves Lucuyer bred Ustinof du Vivier (7g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier-Cedre du Vivier) earned an Elitloppet ticket today following yesterday’s game dead-heat victory at Vincennes in the Gr. III Prix du Crepuscule (€90,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 13 European starters) with Scarlet Turgot. Mathieu Abrivard piloted Ustinof for trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner Stephane Szwarc. Yesterday’s score was career win 27 for €606,740 earned by this late bloomer. He’s the best of eight foals of the dam that also includes Tonio du Vivier, a US$133,000 winner by General du Pommeau. The Elitloppet field now has three slots remaining to be named with to-date entrants as follows: Timoko (FR) Maven (USA) On Track Piraten (SWE) Wind Of The North (USA) B.B.S.Sugarlight (NO) Support Justice (NO) Nahar (SWE) – a past winner of this classic Voltigeur de Myrt (FR) Magic Tonight (SWE) Univers de Pan (FR) Nuncio (SWE) Ustinof du Vivier (FR) Mosaique Face (SWE). Thomas H. Hicks

May 22, 2015 - The opener this evening at Vincennes went to 15/1 outsider Regio (5m Varenne-Leopardia) in the Pris Constellation (€50,000 purse, 2700 meters, 18 European starters). Clocked in 1.14.1kr the winner was teamed by Pierre Vercruysse for harness racing trainer Paul Hagoort and Holland’s owner Ecurie Victoria Park. 19/1 Andalovsie (5f Ganymede-Napoula) was second for Jacques Bruneau ahead of 72/1 Atino de l’Ormerie (5g Qualmio de Vandel-Padine du Lac and reinsman Bertrand Le Beller. The Quinte+ Prix Ville de Nogent-Sur-Marne (€90,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 14 European starters) produced a thrilling dead-heat timed in 1.11.7kr between peg-side rallying Scarlet Turgot (9f Dahir de Prelong-Noella de Massy) for Eric Raffin and red-hot Ustinof du Vivier. This 9/1 co-winner is trained by Y-A Briand. 2/5 pacesetting favorite Ustinof du Vivier (7g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) and Mathieu Abrivard led a quick pace, drifted out in stretch and then re-rallied to equal Scarlet Turgot on the line. Sebastian Guarato trains this one. Spain’s consistent 15/1 Trebol (8m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait) closed for third for trainer/driver Gabriel-Angel Pou Pou. 17/1 Tornardo Bello with Thomas Levesque and 15/1 Viking de Val and pilot Eric Lambertz were next in this upper level field. The top two appear to be “elite” level players at this time. Tonight’s Vincennes feature was the Gr. II Prix Ozo (€120,000 purse, 2175 meters, 11 starters). The 1.13.5kr winner was Cosmic Girl (3f Sam Bourbon-Oriane Jolie) at 59/1 for Pierre Vercruysse, a longshot double for the veteran teamster. Gerard Laurent trains. Favorite at .5/1 was Ciperla Mag (3f Quaker Jet-Perle du Ravary) that was second for JM Bazire ahead of 56/1 Clea Madrik (3f Prince d’Espace-Paisy Tivoli) for owner/trainer/driver Benoit Robin. On the excellent Vincennes nocturnal card the Prix Sirrah (€55,000 purse, 2850 meters, 16 starters) went to the 1.13.2kr winner Universal Rider (7m Nahar de Beval-Hanska) at even-money for Mathieu Mottier. 20/1 Undici (7g Kaiser Soze-Jobeth) was second for reinsman Pierre Vercruysse and trainer Alain Roussel ahead of 13/1 Solo de Val (9g Sobrazac-Girl Villa) in rein to owner/trainer Eric Lambertz. At La Cepiere this day the Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duran (€35,000 purse, 2325 meters, 13 European starters) was conducted with the 1.14.3kr winner the 2.2/1 odds Uno de Montauran (7m Sancho Panca-Nijinskaya) with Denis Brossard up. 5.2/1 Royal Blessed (5m Varenne-Ivory Kronos) was next to the line for trainer/driver Wilhelm Paal with third to 5/1 Let Win and owner/trainer/driver J-H Treich. Thomas H. Hicks

May 1, 2015 - The Gr. II Prix Kerjacques (€120,000,2700 meters, nine international starters) highlighted the Vincennes card this day for top class harness racing entrants. The 3/5 favorite Ustinof de Vivier (7g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) won his fourth straight for trainer Sebastian Guarato and driver Mathieu Abrivard, scoring in 1.13.3kr off well rated fractions (1.14.6kr at 1500; 1.13.9kr at 1000; 1.14.6kr at 500) as the winner rallied in the lane for a three length victory despite drifting out and racing absent cover for much of the journey. Jean-Yves Lecuyer bred the great-gaited winner. Olmo Holz (7m Uronometro-Veuve du Kras) was second at 42/1 for Christophe Martens and 50/1 Uppercut de Manche (7g Neutron du Cebe-Nuit de Manche) reached the line third for Damien Bonne. Roxane Griff was fourth for Eric Raffin and Une Fille d’Amour finished fifth for David Thomain. Timoko reached the lead shortly after the start, yielded for a pocket ride and ended eighth, showing little. The undercard showcased the Prix Bettina (€48,000, 2100 meters autostart, international, 17 starters) at Vincennes for sprinters and trainer Fabrice Souloy conditioned the top two finishers. 14/1 Peace Of Mind (6f Uronometro-Erica d’Alfa) rallied to secure the win clocked in 1.12kr for Italy and reinsman Bjorn Goop. Souloy’s Tell Me No Lies (6g Offshore Dream-B Glorious) was a close second at 3.3/1 for driver Franck Nivard with 18/1 Vigna La Ravelle (6f Diamant Gede-Jirania La Ravelle) third for J-M Bazire beaten only a length. 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  

February 8, 2015 - The Gr. I Prix des Centaures (€240,000, 2200 meters distance handicap, monte, nine starters) resulted in a decisive win clocked in 1.12.5kr for Booster Winner (4m Love You - Quille Viretaute) with Eric Raffin up for harness racing trainer Sebastien Guarato. The 2/1 favorite handled, by four lengths, 3.9/1 Bali du Leard (4f Gazouillis-Irman Williams) with Franck Nivard in the irons for Franck Leblanc. Beauty Turgot (4m Hand du Vivier-Quouragane) ended third for Anthony Barrier and trainer Fabrice Souloy. The Gr. III Prix de Luneville (€78,000, 2700 meters, seven starters, monte) went to 1.7/1 odds Biscuit Delavera (4m Ludo de Castelle - Neva du Rosier) in an easy score clocked in 1.16kr after slow fractions (1.17.9kr at 1500; 1.17kr at 1000; 1.16.2kr at 500). Clement Frecelle reined the winner for trainer Jean Luc Bigeon. 11/1 Buckingham Park (4m Coktail Jet - North American) was second for Mathieu Abrivard and trainer Nicolas Raimbeaux ahead of Bilooka du Boscail (4f Look de Star  -Mirza du Vivier) with Nathalie Henry in the irons. Yves Hurel trains this one. In other upper class races Agrippine (5f Hasting - Moquevse) took today’s Prix Salam (€95,000 purse, monte, 10 five year-old starters, 2850 meters) with Alexandre Abrivard in the irons for trainer L.Cl. Abrivard at 3.8/1. The winner was clocked in 1.14kr in defeat of Attentionally (5m Jasmin de Flore - Intentionally) at 7/1 for David Thomain with third to Astre Blanc (5m Memphis du Rib - Java Blanche) at 11.1 for Mathieu Mottier and conditioner Sebastien Guarato. Norway’s Lionel (5m Look de Star - Aurora Sign) captured the Prix Application Parieurs (€75,000, 18 European five year-old males) for Franck Nivard. The 7/2 odds winner is trained by Fabrice Souloy and owned by Goran Antonsen. Aubrion du Gers (5g Memphis du Rib - J’Arrive du Gers) was second at 2.7/1 for owner, trainer, pilot J-M Bazire ahead of Italy’s third place Raul Breed (5m Yankee Slide - Flamma d’Asolo) at 124/1 for reinsman Mario Minopoli Jr. and trainer Salvatore Minopoli. The Prix Janval (€60,000, 2700 meters, nine three year-old starters) produced a win by Cirrus du Chene (3m Milford du Chene - Oasis du Chene) teamed by Franck Nivard. The 2.7/1 odds winner scored in 1.16.6kr as he defeated Cobra (3m The Best Madrik - Phuket Island) at 8/1 for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and third finisher Christo (3m Rieussec - Panacee) at 32/1 for Michel Lenoir, trainer/driver. Today at Le Bouscat the Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duren (€35,000 purse, 2650 meters, 17 European starters) went to Jean-Pierre Dubois driven and owned Tast Of Bourbon (5f Donato Hanover - Qualita Bourbon). Jean Baudron trains this winner that was the 2/1 favorite.  Second was 2.8/1 Berry’s Boy (7g Love You - Realy Furniture) trained by Sebastien Guarto and driven by Glenny Delaune. Third was 16/1 Twist des Pleignes (8g Gazouillis - Ibiza des Plaignes) for owner/driver Denis Broussard. The earlier reported Prix de France summary is shown below with the winner Timoko. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjejaDIwSvk What a racing day this was, in this second leg of the French Triple Crown. Two weeks from now will be the Grand Prix de Paris over the marathon distance of 4150 meters. The Gr. I UET Masters Series event for €400,000 was won a year ago by Up And Quick with J-M Bazire up as he defeated Tiego d’Etang and Roxane Griff. Thomas H. Hicks

Sugar Rey (3m Look de Star-Aurora Boreale-Indro Park) took today’s 87th edition of the Italian Trotting Derby, the first harness racing edition held at the new Campanelle (Rome) 1000 meter track. This 2100 meter autostart event carried a purse of €770,000 ($938,000US) with the winner timed in 1.13.4kr. Giampaolo  Minnucci piloted Sugar Rey in the defeat of Sansone Bar and teamster Bjorn Goop and favored Sciecco  (also by Look de Star) handled by Andrea Guzzinati. Sugar Rey, trained by Paolo Romanelli, was well piloted by Giampaolo Minnucci, and had the advantage of facing the two favorites perhaps not on their best day. Stankovic OK went smoothly on the lead and seemed unbeatable until later in the contest when he began pacing and was disqualified after being third past the line. Sansone Bar was second with favored Sciecco placed third. The Italian Trotting Oaks for a €220,000 purse was contested over 1640 meters autostart and it too ended with a surprising winner in Smeralda Jet (3f Gigant Neo-Ticket To Ride-Nevele Pride). Youthful pilot Antonio Di Nardo patiently steered the winner. The daughter of Gigant Neo took the lead, and then yielded to Sirena d'Asolo. The Jerry Riordan trainee Sheava Vik advanced into contention before making a miscue around the final bend causing Saphire Bi to react.   Then Smeralda Jet escaped from the pegs and closed stoutly to a comfortable victory over Savannah Bi and Seattle Bi. The winner’s dam is a 23 year-old daughter of Nevele Pride-J.J’s Springsong by Speedy Crown that was Denmark registered. The maternal family has produced Drago Jet, a winner of nearly $406,000, My Super Pride and Express Rodney.   by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Three eliminations for the October 5th 87th Italian Derby took place today at Roma Campanelle, in the right-handed direction. Each elimination was raced over 2100 meters autostart for €22,000. Stankovic OK (3m Self Possessed-Flavia Kronos-SJ’s Photo) romped by six lengths in 1.13.3kr in the first battery for Enrico Bellei. Specialess and Swan Wise As trailed the impressive, bold striding winner. This elim was the fastest of the day. Stankovic Ok Pietro Gubellini teamed Sharon Gar to victory in the second elimination timed in 1.14kr. The pair ended two lengths up over Saba de Ronco and reinsman Enrico Bellei with Skyline Dany third. The winner is a three year-old daughter of Varenne from Geneve Gar by Lemon Dra. Sharon Gar The impressive Sceicco (3m Look de Star-Iuta-Viking Kronos) took the final elimination in 1.13.8kr by open lengths for Andrea Guzzinati over Sansone Bar and Santiago d’Ete. The impressive chestnut is a likely favorite in the final, that should be a very competitive affair. Sceicco   Thomas H. Hicks

Sciecco (3m Look de Star-Iuta-Viking Kronos) took Saturday’s €154,000 Carlo Marangoni Memorial Open at Torino, Italy for Andrea Guzzinati. The long-striding chestnut winner recorded his fifth win in 16 outings, now for earnings over €265,000. Sciecco covered the 2100 meter autostart course in 1.14.9kr. Sing Hallelujah (3m SJ’s Caviar-Mystic Hanover-Donerail) was second for Roberto Vecchione Jr. with third to Superbo Capar (3m Calypso Capar-Dark Degi Ulivi-Indro Park) with Jos. Lombardo Jr. aboard. The filly Sister Dany Bar (3f Love You-Red Hot Action-American Winner) ended fourth for Marco Smorgon. The €55,000 Carlo Marangoni Filly went to Simona Om (3f Uronomtro-Keystone Frizzle-Balanced Image) in rein to Roberto Andreghetti. Simona Om won for the sixth time in 17 starts, covering 1600 meters autostart in 1.13.8kr in a rousing finish with three other rivals in the picture. Saba del Ronco (3f Adrian Chip-Didone Gas-Sugarcane Hanover) was second for Enrico Bellei with Sangria Bi (3f Toss Out-Guidara As-Lemon Dra) home third for owner/driver Maurizio Biasuzzi. Sirena d’Asolo finished fourth. by Thomas H.Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

The Hambletonian weekend and two important Derby’s in Europe (Germany and Hungary) did not diminish excellent graded trotting action in France. Village Mystic and owner/trainer/driver Louis Baudron took the Gr. II Prix de la Haye at Enghien in a driving finish, holding off veteran Swedishman with Franck Nivard up. The €120,000 purse was contested over 2875 meters by 13 International rivals and the winner scored in 1.15.2kr as the favorite. The victory, his 12th career score, increased his life earnings to €774,320. August 2, 2014 Enghien, Gr. II Prix de la Haye, €120,000 purse, 2875 meters, International 13 starters, 1.15.2kr Village Mystic (5m Love You-Netchka d’Orgeres-Full Account), Louis Baudron owner/trainer/driver, 1.4/1 Swedishman (8g Gogo-Volgana), Franck Nivard for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin, 3.5/1 Victoire (5f Kitko-Juventa Blue), Mathieu Mottier up, 38/1 .................................................................................................... The Gr. III Prix de Henri Cravoisier also went to a well-regarded, well-known performer in the Philippe Allaire trained Brillantissime. The three year-old daughter of Ready Cash is owned by Frederic Sauque and she won for the ninth time, now with career earnings of €445,450. Veteran Joseph Verbeeck teamed the winner as even-money favorite. She is from the good producing Buvetier d’Aunou mare Ivre de Victoire. Italy’s Sceicco was second for Andrea Guzzinati in the one mile test timed in 1.11.6kr. August 3, 2014, Enghien, Gr. III Prix de Henri Cravoisier, purse €85,000, European 10 starters, 1609 meters autostart, 1.11.6kr Brillantissime (3m Ready Cash-Ivre de Victoire-Buvetier d’Aunou), Jos. Verbeeck for Philippe Allaire trainer, Fredric Sauque owner, 1.1 favorite Sceicco (3m Look de Star-Iuta), Andrea Guzzinati trainer/driver for Ecurie Louisiana, 7.2/1, Italy Black d’Avril (3m Oceano Nox-Olivia d’Avri), Franck Ouvrie for trainer Frederik Prat, 12.8/1 ........................................................................................................... The European Prix de la Ville de Cannes was held at Cagnes sur mer and this €60,000 purse test over 2925 meters went to Tempo de Carless and teamster David Bekaert. The favorite was a length winner in 1.14.3kr over Sweden’s Ouch with Christophe Martens aboard. Italy’s Osiride Griff, a son of Varenne, ended third.. Cagnes sur mer, Prix de la Ville de Cannes, €60,000 purse, European 13 starters, 2925 meters, 1.14.3kr Tempo de Carless (7m Grisbi de Carless-Joie de Carless), David Bekaert up for Ph. Mortagne. 1.6/1 Ouch (7g Viking Kronos-Hot Enough), Christophe Martens, 6.4/1, Sweden Osiride Griff (6m Varenne-Sex Appeal OK), Nicolas Ensch, 24.8/1, Italy Thomas H. Hicks

Emerging Angel Dark took the €38,000 (US $51,692) Prix Irene (Merci Alfred) for four-year-olds tonight at Paris-Vincennes before a large enthusiastic crowd. Expertly reined by Johanna  Lindqvist for trainer Anders Lindqvist (co-owner with Peter Gerry/Arden Homestead Stable) the 32/1 longshot winner scored for the fifth time in 12 starts (all in 2014). Angel Dark has earned 10 checks for €50,130 (US $68,192) earned. The winner qualified in early February and made his first start at Mons-Ghlin on February 28. His steady improvement has been worth watching, culminating on today’s 1.15kr (2:00.67 mile rate) win over the 2700 meter (1.68 miles) grand piste. From head number four Mlle. Lindqvist took an outside starting position and zoomed to the early lead that the pair held until yielding to favorite Apace de Beaum and J-M Bazire heading up the backside hill. Lindqvist patiently remained in the pocket until getting out of tight quarters in the stretch. Angel Dark did the rest, powering to the line decisively. Lindqvist and Perry acquired Angel Dark at the 2013 Prix d’Amerique mixed sale. June 24, 2014 Paris Vincennes,Prix Irene (Merci Alfred), €38,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters Fractions: 1.16.8kr at 1500; 1.15.8kr at 1000; 1.15.4kr at 500; 1.15kr finish 1st Angel Dark (4g Look de Star-Quadrata des Jipes-Flash de Cosse), Johanna Lindqvist up for trainer Anders Lindqvist who co-owns with Arden Homestead Stable (Peter Gerry), his fifth win in 12 starts, all in 2014 for earnings of €50,130; 32/1 odds 2nd Apache de Beaum (4m Vivaldi de Chene-Quinda Louise), J-M Bazire, 1.3/1 favorite 3rd Along (4m Ganymede-Orange de Vire), Eric Raffin, 102/1 4th Amadeus Quick (4g Prince d’Espace-Quinta Vaumicel), Pierre Vercruysse, 10/1 5th American Jet (4m Quaker Jet-Marlena), Franck Nivard, 3/1 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Top trotting action took place Sunday at Napoli, Italy and Kalmar (SWE). In Italy, the Premio Citta’Di Napoli Filly for €55,000 went to Sweat OK and Tommaso Di Lorenzo. She was timed in 1.12.4kr over 1600 meters autostart to defeat Sunrise Dancer and Sharon Gar. The three-year-old daughter of Dream Vacation now has six wins and six placings in 17 starts for earnings in excess of €83,000. The Napoli feature this day was the Grand Premio Citta’Di Napoli for colts over 2100 meters autostart for a purse of €154,000. Sceicco (by Look de Star by Coktail Jet) scored for Andrea Guzzinati in 1.14.3kr to defeat Skyline Dany and Stankovic OK. The winner posted his fourth win in 14 starts, plus eight placings, to increase career earnings to over €196,000. Sceicco resumed leadership among the three year-old crop after a terrific 2013 season. The Giampaolo Minnucci trainee likely benefitted from miscues at the start by Suricato Jet, Satchmo As and Sing Hallelujah. The same day at Kalmar saw the rejuvenated Reven d’Amour win the V75-Gold Division for reinsman Bjorn Goop. Fredrik B. Larssen trains the nine year-old son of Revenue that won for the 20th time in a career that has produced over 5.5SEK million in earnings. Monster Drive and Obi Wan trailed the winner. June 22, 2014 Kalmar SWE, Gold, 1640 meters autostart, 150,000SEK to winner, 1.11.3kr 1st Reven d’Amour (9m Revenue-Melody d’Amour-Super Arnie), Bjorn Goop for trainer Fredrik B. Larssen, his 20th win in 75 starts for 5,584,474SEK 2nd Monster Drive (8m Thai Tanic-Kewpie-Pearsall Hanover), Ulf Ohlsson aboard 4rd Obi Wan (8g Ganymede-Hejsa Reerstrup-Speedy Herve), Thomas Uhrberg up Other starters in order of finish – Oasis Bi, Kash’s Cantab, Magic Tonight. Nothing  But Class, O’Grady, Mr. Picolit, Alvena Pele, El Mago Pellini, Truculent by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com      

This historic racing day at Paris-Vincennes would not be complete without mention of a new tribute to French Champion Trotteur Ourasi. A bronze statue was provided today to Paris-Vincennes to mark the iconic career of Ourasi who died at age 33 last year. Today’s final two graded events at Paris-Vincennes went to Vulcain du Vivier and Vabellino. Vulcain du Vivier took the monte Prix Xavier de Saint Palais for Franck Nivard, in the irons for trainer Yannick A. Briand. Breeder and owner of this son of Look de Star is legendary commercial breeder Jean-Yves Lecuyer. Vulcain du Vivier recorded his 11th lifetime win for €220,450 as he scored in 1.12.2kr over 2175 meters. Viva Jenilou and Veracity ended two-three in this event for five year-olds. Prix Xavier de Saint Palais, Gr. II monte, €120,000, 2175 meters, 13 starters Fractions: 1.09.6kr at 1500; 1.10kr at 1000; 1.11.3kr at 500; 1.12.2kr finish 1st Vulcain du Vivier (5m Look de Star-Idea du Vivier-Tarass Boulba), Franck Nivard for trainer Y-A Briand, owner Ecurie Jean-Yves Lecuyer and breeder SNC Jean-Yves Lecuyer, 1.7/1 odds, raced with shoes to secure his 11th win for €220,450 2nd Viva Jenilou (5f Phlegyas-Louve Jenilou), Philippe Masschaele up for Louis Baudron trainer, 9/1 3rd Veracity (5f Neutron du Cebe-Jovialidade), C. Frecelle up, 27/1 4th Viscaria (5f Gai Brillant-Lajounie des Cinty), G. Gillot trainer/jockey, 105/1 The Gr. III Prix de Gasse ended an exciting racing day and the European event for €80,000 purse went to Vabellino and Eric Raffin. Sebastien Guarato trains the €217,000 plus winner as he flashed home in 1.13.5kr over the 2700 meter grand piste. Italy’s Olimpus Caf was a solid second for Damien Bonne. Prix de Grasse, Gr. III European, €80,000, 2700 meters, 16 starters Fractions: 1.13.6kr at 1500; 1.14.1kr at 1000; 1.13.6kr to 500; 1.13.5kr finish 1st Vabellino (5m Ouragan de Celland-Girl de Chantepie), Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato, 2.3/1 odds, his 11th win for €217,950 lifetime 2nd Olimpus Caf (6m Varenne-Evoila Caf-Supergill), Damien Bonne, 71/1, Italy 3rd Up The Green (6m Espeyrac Sun-Nemenine), J-M Bazire, 4/1 4th Clint W. Boko (5m Abano As-Vantz Boko), Robin Bakker, 25/1, Denmark Reply of the drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W81fNAbIydw This historic racing day at Paris-Vincennes would not be complete without mention of a new tribute to French Champion Trotteur Ourasi. A bronze statue was provided today to Paris-Vincennes to mark the iconic career of Ourasi who died at age 33 last year. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

One of the summer season highlight cards is underway at Paris-Vincennes before a big crowd under sunny skies. The nine race card features purses totaling €1,267,000 and includes four Gr. I events and four other graded and European eligible contests. Two exceptional monte races were on the card including the €240,000 namesake contest that drew 17 starters. Results of the first three races follow. The Gr. I monte Prix d’Essai for €200,000 went to pacesetting upsetter Bingo Winner ridden by Eric Raffin for trainer Sebastien Guarato. This team set a blistering pace at 9/1 odds and tracking favorite Bird Parker (by Ready Cash) was unable to close the gap at any time, trailing about 10 lengths at the end. June 22, 2014 Paris Vincennes Prix de Nesles, €52,000, 2700 meters, 12 starters Fractions: 1.14.7kr at 1500; 1.14.7kr at 1000; 1.14.5kr at 500, 1.13.8kr finish 1st As d’Urfist (4m Install-Perle d’Urfist), Franck Nivard, 5.4/1 2nd A Nous Trois (4m Orlando Vici-Quallas), Louis Baudron, 5.4/1 3rd Amiral du Bisson (4g Jeanbat du Vivier-Melodie du Bisson), Pierre-Yves Verva, 3.6/1 Prix Raymond Fouard, Gr. III European, €85,000, 12 starters Fractions: 1.14.4kr at 1500; 1.12.9kr at 1000; 1.12.7kr at 500; 1.12.7kr finish 1st Athos des Elfes (4m Ganymede-Lazio du Bourg), Jan Van Eeckhaute trainer/driver, 1.6/1 2nd Duke of Greenwood (4m Otello Pierji-Nikki Groenhof), Dominik Locqueneux, 7.6/1 3rd Athena de Vandel (4f Prince Gede-Maelia du Vandel), Cedric Megissier, 3.6/1 Prix d’Essai, Gr. I monte, €200,000, 2175 meters Fractions: 1.11.1kr at 1500; 1.10.6kr at 1000; 1.12.5kr at 500; 1.13.3kr finish 1st Booster Winner (3m Love You-Quille Viretaute), Eric Raffin, 9.3/1 odds, trainer Sebastien Guarato 2nd Bird Parker (3m Ready Cash-Balisha), Yohan Lebourgeois, trainer Philippe Allaire, 9/10 favorite 3rd Bingo Star (3m Look de Star-Rosiris), A. Lamy, 69.1/1 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com    

The new Breeders Course European series for two and three year-old trotters began Sunday at Ippodromo di Agnano. Sixteen Italian three year-old  trotters competed in two eliminations. The fastest winner was Specialess driven by Andrea Vitagliano in an impressive 1:12.1kr over 1600 meters autostart. The second winner, Sugar Rey with Paolo Romanelli up, was timed in 1:12.5kr.  Four of top six finishers are by French sires with the other two by legendary Varenne. The two winners are qualified for the July 29 final (€120.000 guaranteed) final at Jägersro, Malmö. Should one or both winners refrain from participating in the final, the second place finisher(s) will be qualified. The breeders of all money-earning horses in the two eliminations will receive an extra 10% of the earnings in the race from Breeders Course funds. NAPOLI   Agnano – 5/8 mile track   08/06/14   5 16.45 - PR. BREEDERS COURSE E 16.500 mt 1600 - Trio   1° 6 SUGAR REY (3m Look de Star-Aurora Boreale-Indro  Park)   P.Romanelli 12.5           2° 3 SWAN WISE AS (3f Varenne-Garden Variety-Tagliabue) A.Buzzitta 12.6           3° 8 SHARON GAR (3f Varenne-Geneve Gar-Lemon Dra) R.Vecchione 12.9           4° 2 SABA DEL RONCO E.Bellei 13.0           0° 1 SKYLINE DANY V.P.Dell'Annunziata R.P.           0° 4 SIRENA D'ASOLO NON PARTENTE Rit.           0° 5 SANTINO CAM M.Guzzinati R.P.           0° 7 SWEAT OK NON PARTENTE Rit.           8 18.20 - PR. BREEDERS COURSE E 16.500 mt 1600 - Trio   1° 6 SPECIALESS (3m Ganymede-Enna Dra-Indro Park) And.Vitagliano 12.1           2° 3 SECRETARIAT (3m Ganymede-Venella Gius-Gin Gius) Ant.Velotti 12.2           3° 4 SAVANNAH BI (3f Ganymede-Dakota Bi-Toss Out) Fed.Esposito 12.4           4° 5 SHIRAZ ROC M.Racca 13.1           5° 1 SELENIO R.Vecchione 13.4           6° 2 STORM GAR Pl.D'Angelo 13.9           7° 7 SANTIAGO D'ETE M.Minopoli Jr 16.2           0° 8 SURPRISE EK D.Zanca R.P. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

Solid trotting took place during the past week at various European venues. Coverage below is of racing at Jagersro (SWE), Avenches (Switzerland), Mantorp (SWE), Kincsem Park (HU), Bologna (ITY) and Paris-Vincennes where Gr. III events were featured on June 3. The Prix Caecilia went to the rallying roan Meaulnes du Corta filly Arpent d'Ostal for J-Ph Mary. The same day the monte Prix Dido went to Buffalo de Beylev for Yohan Lebourgeois, winning as the 2/5 favorite should. On June 2 at Bologna, the Premio GP Republica went to Papandreu for Enrico Bellei. The five year-old son of Abano As scored in 1.12.7kr over 1660 meters autostart for winners' share of a purse of €45,100. Oncle Photo VL took the co-featured Invitational on that card and veteran classmaster Italiano won the Greyhound Invitational that same day at Follonica. On May 31 at Mantorp (SWE) the Ina Scots went to Remo Gas (four year-old son of Varenne) for teamster Erik Adielsson. The V75 Gold produced a victory for Porthos Amok (five year-old son of Orlando Vici) and Orjan Kihlstrom. At Kincsem Park, the featured Tony Oaks DIJ went impressively to Orangyal (six year-old daughter of Wall Street Banker) for reinsman Pal Vicen and at Avenches the Grand Prix 5Ans (Suisse) went to Playboy Wind (five year-old son of In Love With You) and trainer/driver Wilhelm Paal. On May 29 at Jagersro, the Jerry Riordan trained Sylvester America (3m Varenne-Armbro Voice-Gaerldan Lobell) recorded his first career victory in his third start for driver Linda Allerecrantz. Race summaries follow including reply of the Premio GP Republica. June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Caecilia, Gr. III, €80,000, 2700 meters, 11 starters, 1.14.4kr 1st Arpent d'Ostal (4m Meaulnes du Corta-Quina Perrine), J-Ph Mary trainer/driver 24/1 2nd Alpha Saltor (4m Paris Haufor-Glory d'Ariane), Damien Bonne up, 4.3/1 3rd Adio Josselyn (4m And Arifant-Queda Josselyn), J-M Bazire aboard, 3/2 favorite June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Persues, 80,000e, 2700 meters, 11 starters, monte, 1.14.1kr 1st Rescousse de Barb (9f L'As de Viretoute-Gaie Melodie), P-Y Verva, 27/1 2nd Quango (10g Joyau d'Amour-Belle Argence), Julien Raffestin up, 9/1 3rd Remember Jihem (9m Jag de Bellouet-Feriana), Fabien Gence up, 3.3/1 June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Gr. III Prix Dido National Monte, 60,000e, 2200 meters, 7 starters, 1.15.6kr 1st Buffalo de Beylev (3m Memphis du Rib-Rafale du Plessis), Yohan Lebourgeois up for Hubert Hardy trainer, 2/5 favorite 2nd Boy du Plessis (3m Odeisis de Vandel-Natik des Loges), Paul-Philippe Ploquin up for Patrick Ploquin, 5/1 3rd Best de Marco (3m Gogo-Fille de Marco), Julien Raffestin up for J-F Senet trainer, 42/1 June 2, 2014, Bologna Italy, Premio GP Republica, 45,100e, 1660 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.12.7kr 1st Papandreu (5m Abano As-Capucine-Sugarcane Hanover), Enrico Bellei up 2nd Orsia (6f Angus Hall-Tiogre OM-Zebu), Allesandro Gocciadoro 3rd Le Vida Loca (9f Ganymede-Diasia-Arndon), Roberto Andreghetti Beaten field included Look MO, Oibambam Effe, Probo OP and Nesta Effe June 2, 2014 Bologna Italy, Premio Lorenzo Sisal Invitational, 11,000e, 1660 meters autostart, 8 starters, 1.13kr 1st Oncle Photo VL (6g SJs Photo-Balalajaca SLM-Lemon Dra), Federico Esposito up 2nd Per Amore Gual (5f Varenne-Dalmatica Gual-Uronometro), Enrico Bellei driving 3rd Nonant Le Pin (7f Goetmals Wood-Blazing Janice-Pine Chip), Allesandro Gocciadoro trainer/driver June 2, 1014 Follonica Italy, Prix Greyhound Invitational, 6,600e, 1600 meters, 7 starters, 1.12.3kr 1st Italiano (10g Goant Cat-Coming Up Cash-Baltic Speed-Casino Evil-Speedy Crown-Ah So), 30 wins in 93 starts for 779,782e in Italy, G. Casillo teaming 2nd Oblio Dei Venti (6m Yankee Slide-Belinda GIM-Lemon Dra), Man. Matteini up 3rd Proper Wise (5m Varenne-Flirt Alert-Valley Victory-Triangle Park-Mystic Park-Miss Flirt), L. Becchetti aboard May 31, 2014 Kincsem Park, Tony Oaks DIJ, 1800 meters autostart, 500,000HUf purse, 1.15.6kr 1st Orangyl (6f Wall Street Banker-Derengo-Endless Sands), Pal Vicen, 4.7/1, 1.15.6kr 2nd Lady Luna (9f Sierra Ranger-Lune-Surry Lobell), Joze Sagaj, 3.3/1 3rd Nemesur (7m Tony Oaks-Elegant Lady- Mill H), Veljko Mazsity, 2.5/1 May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Ina Scots, 300,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart, 1.13kr 1st Remo Gas (4m Varenne-Isotta Gas-Toss Out), Erik Adielsson, Italy, seventh win from 19 starts for 2,608,516SWEK 2nd Rosso Pomodoro (4m Donato Hanover-Unbelievable F-Viking Kronos), Johnny Takter, Italy 3rd Carelin (4m Super Arnie-Carte Blanche-Kosar), Kenneth Haugstad May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Gold Division, purse 320,500SEK, 2640 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.13.8kr 1st Porthos Amok (5m Orlando Vici-Baroness Amok-Pine Chip), Orjan Kihlstrom, sixth win in 39 tries for 2,731,292SEK 2nd Quid Pro Quo (5m Yankee Glide-Hostage-Express Ride), Erik Adielsson for Svante Bath trainer 3rd Deuxieme Picsous (7m In Love With You-Carme la Strom Line-Delvin Kosmos, Johnny Takter for Joham Lejon trainer May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Silver Division, purse 251,500SEK, 1640 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.11.2kr 1st Octopus (7m Yankee Glide-Decapose-Cumin), Ulf Ohlsson up 2nd Vendi (9f Armbro Trick-Wizy Fly-Speedy Fly), Jorma Kontio driver 3rd Art On Line (7g Rite On Line-Lass Fleur-Backstreet Guy), Mikko Aho up May 31, 2014 Marseille-Borely, Prix de Zonza, €21,000, 2300 meters autostart, 8 starters, 1.15.4kr 1st Bolero Love (3m Love You-Orelady-And Arifant), Nicolas Ensch up for Patrick Chevrier trainer for Jean-Pierre Dubois and breeder Ecurie D, 7.8/1 odds, second career win for €28,350 2nd Bonjour (3m Rieussee-Queenie d'Urzy), Y-A Briand trainer/driver, 2/1 3rd Bently de Raconis (3g Repeat Love-Bodomie0Podosis), David Vakaert up for Patrick Chevrie trainer and owner Jean-Pierre Dubois, 1.3/1 May 31, 2014 Marseille-Borely, Prix d'Ajaccio, 24,000e, 3000 meters, 6 starters, 1.16.3kr 1st Vucain du Vivier (5m Look de Star-Idea du Vivier-Tarass Boulba), Y-A Briand trainer/driver, 1/5 favoritge for owner Ecurie Jean-Yves Lucuyer and breeder SNC Jean-Yves Lucuyer, 10th win for 166,450 euros 2nd  Viking d'Orion (5m Jag de Bellouet-Erfa du Vivier), Mikael Cormy up, 5.3/1 3rd Vipitano (5g Love You-Prune Rouge), Dylan Garcia up, 20/1 May 30, 2014 Avenches, Grand Prix des 5 Ans Suisse, 12,284e, 2400 meters, 10 starters 1st Playboy Wind (5m In Love With You-Kattanouga), Wilhelm Paal trainer/driver, Stall Allegra Racing 2nd Vattigo (5g Gros Grain-Julia du Martza) finished second. 3rd May 29, 2014 Jagersro, ICA Malmborgs, 2140 meters autostart, 20,000SEK to winner, 1.16.kr Sylvester America (3m Varenne-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell), Linda Allercrantz up for Jerry Riordan trainer, first win in three starts by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com      

Hippodrome Le Croise Laroche hosted today’s fifth leg of the Gr. III prestigious traveling series the Grand National de Trot Paris-Turf. The race was contested for €90,000 by 17 performers over the 2800 meter course with distance handicaps applied. Franck Nivard, as trainer/driver, steered favorite Vulcain de Vandel to victory in 1.13.3kr, recording his ninth career win for €286,050. Vagabondu Mag was second for J-M Bazire. The exact order Quinte+ payoff was €1,230 for a €2 wager. May 21, 2014 Le Croise Laroche, 5th Leg Gr. III Grand National du Trot Paris-Turf, €90,000, 2800 meters distance handicap, 17 starters, 1.13.3kr, Quinte+jackpot €2.2 million 1st Vulcain de Vandel (5m Jag de Bellouet-Ophelia de Vandel-Defi d’Aunou), Franck Nivard trainer/driver, 1.1/1 odds, traveled 2800 meters, ninth career win for €286,050 for Richard Cohen owner 2nd Vagabondu Mag (5g Ozio Royal-Perle du Ravary), J-M Bazire up for trainer B. Bourgoin, 3/1, traveled 2825 meters 3rd Vive Majyc (5f Baccarat du Pont-Mammy Blue), Eric Raffin up for trainer Louis Baudron, 8.3/1, 2800 meters The undercard this day was very interesting as well despite occasional rain at the Lille track, that has the same great racing surface as Paris-Vincennes. The secondary featured Prix du Croise-Laroche for €26,000 went to veteran Freeman T. Porter with Joseph Verbeeck at the lines for trainer Conrad Lugauer. He traveled plus 25 meters to the stated 2825 meter course, a distance handicapped event, to score his 15th career win timed in 1.14.9kr. The good-looking winner is by Korean from a Somollison dam. 5/21/14, Le Croise Laroche, Prix du Croise-Laroche, European €26,000, 2825 meters, 16 starters, 2825 meters distance handicap, 1.14.9kr 1st Freeman T. Porter (7m Korean-Lion Chica-Somollison), Jos. Verbeeck for Conrad Lugauer trainer, 3.4/1, 2850 meters, his 15th win for €181,579 2nd Saladin (8g Hand du Vivier-Herodiarde), Antoine Wiels for J-P Marmion trainer, 53/1, 2850 meters 3rd Stormy Nightriver (7m Likeable Rover-Lamberonika), Nico d’Haenens up for trainer Henri-Joseph Pools, 2825 meters, 104/1 odds, Germany Verbeeck also won later in the card with Anantara Jet in division B of the Prix de Saint-Omer for €21,000. The four year-old daughter of Ganymede is trained by Luc Roelens and scored in 1.17.1kr over 2850 meters as she overcame a 25 meter penalty. May 21, 2014 Le Croise Laroche, Prix de Saint Omer Gr. B, €21,000, 2825 meters distance handicap, 12 starters, 1.17.1kr 1st Anantara Jet (4f Ganymede-Reethi Rah Jet), Jos. Verbeeck up for trainer Luc Roelens, 8.3/1, 2850 meters 2nd Argovie (4f Gogo-Nymphe Jet), Eric Raffin up for Michele Stihl, 32/1, 2825 meters 3rd Aizanau d’Ocque (4m Jason de Vandel-Kairosine), Julien Degardin trainer/driver, 76/1, 2825 meters Division A of the Prix de Saint-Omer, also for €21,000, was of special interest to me. Johanna Lindqvist patiently steered Angel Dark to another come from behind victory, his fourth in nine lifetime starts and second straight. The Anders Lindqvist trained, and co-owned with Peter Gerry of Arden Homestead Stable, four year-old gelded son of Look de Star looked boxed approaching the stretch but Mlle. Lindqvist found an opening and her charge rallied once free to sweep past rivals for a six length victory in 1.16.8kr. Gerry  commented  post-race “I am in France and attended the race at Le Croise-Laroche. It is a beautiful track near Lille. Angel Dark raced the best he has ever raced. Johanna gave him a textbook drive. It was a glorious feeling winning in France. It was fun, fun, fun. It is also surreal. I now go to Sweden to attend the races at Solvalla. It promises to be a great weekend of racing.”  May 21, 2014 Le Croise Laroche, Prix de Saint-Omer Gr. A, €21,000, 2825 meters distance handicap, 14 starters, 1.16.8kr 1st Angel Dark (4g Look de Star-Quadrata des Jipes), Mlle. Johanna Lindqvist up for trainer/co-owner Anders Lindqvist and Peter Gerry, 1.8/1, 2825 meters, increased earnings to €30,730 with career slate 4-2-1-1 in nine starts 2nd Aphrodite d’Arbaz (4f Coktail Jet-Mascotte d’Arbaz), Jean-Francois Senet driver, 15/1, 2850 meters 3rd Avartin Belri (4m Fortuna Fant-Kolankie), Bruno Chanonat up, 13/1, 2850 meters The great GNT day of racing concluded for me with the three year-olds competing in the Prix Grand Lille TV for  €22,000 over 2700 meters autostart. The well-bred daughter of Goetmals Wood scored easily in 1.16.1kr for trainer/driver Jarmo Niskanen, she the favorite. Bruno Bakalao was second for Spain’s Gabriel-Angelo Pou Pou at the lines. May 21, 2014 Le Croise Laroche, Prix Grand Lille TV, €22,000, 2700 meters autostart, 15 starters, 1.16.1kr 1st Belle de Reux (3f Goetmals Wood-La Rouge-Buvetier d’Aunou), Jarmo Niskanen trainer/driver, 1.9/1 2nd Bruno Bakalao (3m Orsy Dream-Jimmberlay), Gabriel-Angelo Pou Pou up for trainer Antonio Ripoli Rigo, 24/1 3rd Bossanova Marza (3f Rocklyn-Pierji),  Matthieu Verva for Mlle. Celine Leclercq, 9/1 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com    

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