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This Friday evening Paris Vincennes program included two groupe III harness racing events and the Quinte+ race of the day.   The Prix Caecilia (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2700 meters, 11 starters) began the groupe action and it went to 9/1 Foxtrot Sea (4m Olitro-Vezia) reined by owner/trainer Cedrik Megissier and timed in 1.14kr.   Frisbee d’Am (44fm The Best Madrik) was second with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Richard Westerink, the trainer of legendary Timoko. 30/1 Florida Sport (4f Tornado Bello) took third for trainer/driver Miguel X Mestra Suner.   The 7/10 favorite Filou L’Auvergnier was fourth.   Friday’s Quinte+ race was on the Vincennes card and it was the Prix Titania (purse 48,000€, 2850 meters, 14 starters), with victory to the 6.6/1 odds Crescendis (7f Querido de Blay-Libertatis) timed in 1.14.4kr with J-F. Senet at the lines. Senet also trains the winner for breeder/owner Thierry de Wazieres.   Crescendis                 --LeTrot photo   Crescendis won for the ninth time in 46 starts for 227,960€ in life earnings. 5.1/1 Deux Etoiles Gede (6f Roc Meslois) took second with Franck Nivard up for conditioner Alexandre Pillom. 19/1 Inga In Heaven (6f Orlando Vici) was third, handled by Franck Ouvrie for owner/trainer Fredrik Wallin. 3.6/1 Dascalia and 5.7/1 Dimmidisia completed the top five and resulted in the exact order Q+ payoff of 15,878.40€ for 26 winning ticketholders.   The Q+ pool was 3,868,236€ and total of this race handle was 7,944,000€.   The second groupe contest this evening was the Prix de Gien (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2700 meters, 14 starters). The 4.1/1 Good Boy Ligneries (3m Un Mec d’Heripre-Amy Ligneries) scored with J.Ph. Monclin up for trainer Philippe Billard (Souloy-Billard) and Ecurie le Tremont.   This winner scored for the fourth time in five starts now for 78,350€ in career earnings. Race time was 1.15.4kr. 6,1/1 Gallant Way (3m Ready Cash) was placed second with Eric Raffin aboard for trainer Philippe Allaire.   That was the result of the dq of second finishing Aramis Bar. Placed third was Gassman d’Essa handled by Anthony Barrier   15:50 C4 - PRIX CHAMBON P 100 000€ (June 8, 2019 at Vincennes) Groupe II - Attelé - 2850m - Grande piste Course Internationale Pour 5 à 10 ans inclus, ayant gagné au moins 160.000.).     Thomas H. Hicks  

Gr. II action today at Paris-Vincennes began with the Prix Marcel Laurent for four and five-year olds (purse 120,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 15 European starters). This was also a Q+ event this day and it went to the impressive 14/1 Delia du Pommereux (5f Niky-Noune du Pommereux) handled by Damien Bonne for trainer Sylvain Roger and breeder/owner Noel Lolic. Race time for the winner was a quick 1.10.9kr and Delia now sports 11 career wins in 37 starts for 728,650€ earned. The 10/1 Earl Simon (4m Prodigious-Tindrana) took second for driver Franck Ouvrie, trainer Jarmo Niskanen and Ecurie Skytten. Third was the 9/10 favorite Davidson du Pont (5m Pacha du Pont-Laguna du Pont) that J-M Bazire trains and reined for breeder/owner Albert Rayon. The 34/1 Enino du Pommereux (4m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) was fourth with Matthieu Abrivard at the lines for the Roger/Lolic team, and the fifth check went to 6.3/1 Italian invader Vitruvio (4m Adrian Chip-Tigre OM) with trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro up. The exact order payoff for a winning 2€ Q+ ticket was 7,419.20€. The monte four year old specialists took part in the Prix Olry-Roederer (Gr. II, 120,000€, 2850 meters, eight starters) with victory earned by 1.2/1 co-favorite Etonnant (4m Timoko-Migraine) timed in a track record for the age and distance of 1.13.6kr. Yoann Lebourgeois was in the irons for trainer/owner Richard Westerink as Etonnant scored for the eighth time in a 25 start career now for 301,700€ earned. The 9/1 Etoile de Bruyere (4f Kenor de Cosse-Reinette du Tijas) was second for Adrien Lamy and owner/trainer Ch. Dreux. 18/1 Ekeren (4m Ray Normanus-Queen du Soir) took third for David Thomain. The other 1.2/1 co-favorite Elladora de Forgan finished fifth. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Thursday’s featured Gr. II monte Prix Legoux-Longpre (purse 120,000 euro, 2850 meters, eight starters) saw even-money favorite Etonnant (4m Timoko-Migraine) score timed in 1.14.2kr. Yoann Lebourgeois was in the irons for owner/trainer Richard Westerink. The winner now has seven wins in 21 career starts for 222,100 euro earned. The 14/1 odds Dynasty Pierji (5f Prodigious-Rita Mitsou) was second for owner/trainer/jockey Damien Bonne. Third was 17/1 Exotica de Retz (4f Prodigious) that Ecurie des Charmes bred and owns, Sebastian Ernault trains and Mme. Beaufils-Ernault piloted. Four year olds mares contested the Prix de Corbeil (purse 39,000 euro, 2100 meters autostart, 15 starters) and the 1.13kr timed victory went to 1.8/1 odds Express Lady (4f Texas Charm-United Express) reined by Yoann Lebourgeois for trainer Gabriel Angel Pou Pou. She now has three wins in nine career starts. Eolia de l’Elle (4f Othello Bourbon) was second at 3.1/1 for Adrian Lamy and third was East Road (4f Texas Charm-Light Of Morning) at 24/1 for Julien Dubois. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

YONKERS, N.Y. - When Yonkers Raceway revived the International Trot in 2015, harness racing trainer Richard Westerink supported the $1 million stakes by shipping Timoko across the Atlantic for the first and only time in the career of the recently retired 15-time Group 1 winner and €5 million earner. Then 8 years old, Timoko raced on the rim the entire 1 1/4 miles. After being turned away from the lead by Creatine, driver Björn Goop tried to give Timoko a breather in the opening quarter. However, as Mosaique Face advanced three wide, Goop put Timoko in play again to protect his position. Timoko put Mosaique Face behind him and continued on his first-over grind, pressuring Creatine through a quarter of :28.4. When Oasis Bi made a wide rally to confront Creatine past the half, Goop let the leaders get away by 3 lengths. Timoko benefited from the cover for about a quarter-mile before angling three wide entering the backstretch the final time. Racing into the lane, the plugs came out and Timoko found more. He wore down Creatine, but couldn’t pass Papagayo E, who saved every inch of ground in the pocket throughout the 10-furlong stakes. For all the extra ground he covered, Papagayo E only beat Timoko a half-length. “I think it’s one of the best races of Timoko,” Westerink said. “The horse was fighting and fighting until the end and it was a great race. It was incredible.” Although Westerink didn’t return to the International Trot with Timoko in 2016 - Timoko’s dual career of racing and breeding made the international voyage too taxing - the trainer will bring Dreammoko, a 4-year-old son of Timoko, to compete in the lucrative stakes this year. “It’s a little bit easier with Dreammoko. He’s not breeding, not yet,” Westerink said. “That’s why I can come with Dreammoko.” Part of Timoko’s first crop, Dreammoko is already a Group 2 winner, having taken the Prix Phaeton at Vincennes in March. He has earned €305,210 and placed in eight other grouped stakes in 28 races. Despite his success, Westerink wasn’t inspired when Dreammoko came to his stable as a yearling for owner Jan Stins. “He’s a very lazy horse in the work, more lazy than his father. Timoko, in the beginning was also like that. This one is even more lazy in the works,” Westerink said. “This horse, in the beginning, I said he’s not a very good horse, but when we pull the shoes, he’s better. In the beginning, he was not a very good horse for me. This year, we can take off the shoes and that transformed the horse.” Dreammoko finished second on debut in January 2015 and won his next start, both with shoes. After a barefoot win in his third start at Vincennes, Dreammoko went two for his next 11 racing with shoes. Westerink pulled Dreammoko’s shoes in his 15th start January 24, 2017 and the chestnut recovered from a brief break behind the gate to win the €65,000 overnight by 5 1/ 2 lengths in a lifetime best time. All of Dreammoko’s stakes performances since have come without shoes. One of the highlights of Dreammoko’s career thus far came in the Kymi Grand Prix at Kouvola June 17. Dreammoko raced against his sire, Timoko in the €165,000 stakes. Although many were critical of Westerink’s decision to pit Dreammoko against Timoko, the trainer enjoyed the unique opportunity. “It was fun for me. There was a lot of critique in the world. ‘How can you race a son against his father,’ ” Westerink said. “I think that made it more of a challenge for me. I love to take challenges and I think it was a good challenge. The horses were racing well, both of them.” Timoko entered the Kymi Grand Prix off a victory in the Group 1 Elitloppet Final at Solvalla May 28. Dreammoko came in off a third in the Tommy Hannes Lopp at Solvalla the same day. Timoko started from post three in the Kymi Grand Prix and Dreammoko, post nine in the second tier. Just before the start, Dreammoko shied away from the horse in front of him. After raising his head high and taking a few awkward steps, Dreammoko began in last 12 lengths behind. Meanwhile, Timoko raced to the lead. Hounded by Seabiscuit to his outside and Buzz Mearas to his inside, Timoko trotted through a blistering opening quarter in :26.4. While Timoko blazed a trail up front, Dreammoko raced into the flow fourth-over. Racing around the final turn, Timoko tried to fight off Carabinieri, who challenged on the outside. Meanwhile, driver Gabi Gelormini guided Dreammoko three wide and he advanced within 6 lengths of his sire. Although Timoko battled down the stretch, he could not withstand Carabinieri’s fresh legs. Timoko finished second beaten a length while Dreammoko stormed down the center of the track to finish third, 2 1/2 lengths behind his sire. “Dreammoko, he made a little mistake behind the gate,” Westerink said. “He lost 10 or 12 meters and in the last turn, he was coming on the outside. It was a great race. (Dreammoko) was speeding faster in the end, but he’s not a better horse than Timoko, I don’t say that.” Since his bout with Timoko, Dreammoko has twice finished second to rival and top 4-year-old Django Riff. Dreammoko was beaten first in the Prix de Milan at Enghien July 29 and again in the Prix de Geneve at the same track August 16. In his most recent start, Dreammoko finished third to Diablo Du Noyer and Django Riff in the Group 2 Prix Jules Thibault at Vincennes August 31. “He raced the last three times with Django Riff, the best horse of his age I think and he’s fighting, fighting, fighting,” Westerink said. “I think once he will beat him. Almost in Enghien in the last race, he almost beat him on the outside, Django Riff in the lead and (Dreammoko) on the outside. He lost by a head. He’s a tough racer, like his father. I think he’s a great horse.” Westerink plans to race Dreammoko one more time in Europe before shipping to Yonkers for the International Trot October 14. Dreammoko will head to Bologna, Italy to compete in the Group 1 Gran Premio Continentale September 17. Dreammoko will start from post four in the €209,000 stakes for 4-year-olds. “He’ll race once, next week in Bologna in Italy. He has number four,” Westerink said. “That’s a Group 1 race in Italy, a big race. We have a little chance, maybe we can win there. That would be nice, to win one before Yonkers.” Dreammoko’s start in Italy will be his first on a half-mile track, the same size oval he will find when he arrives in New York later this fall. Since many of Dreammoko’s best races have come on the lead, Westerink expects the 800-meter track to suit his International hopeful. “For him, it’s not a problem. I think it’s better for him,” Westerink said. “We can take the lead and it’s a little track, he can take the lead. He can come behind, but I think when we have the lead, it’s good for him.” More International Trot invitees will be featured as they are confirmed for the race. The $1 million Yonkers International Trot will be raced Saturday, October 14 at Yonkers Raceway.  by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

August 26, 2017 - The gallant veteran Timoko (10m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces) was parked every step from post seven (by Dante Boko) but inched to the front in mid-stretch for Bjorn Goop to win the Gr. II Grand Prix Departement Alphes-Martimes (purse €180,000, 1609 meters autostart – one mile, 11 starters). This was the Cagnes-sur-Mer featured race and Timoko attracted a huge crowd as he recorded victory 36 in 101 starts now for €5,006,731 in career earnings. Richard Westerink trains and owns Timoko that Paul Van Klavern bred. Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) rallied for second driven by David Thomain for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Philippe Dauphin. Bocage d’Ortige (6m Mirage de Goutier-Providence D’Ortige) was third for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch. Dante Boko and Diadora BR were fourth and fifth respectively.  Earlier in the week Timoko was on-hand to meet the racing fans at Cagnes-sur-Mer and promote today’s superb program. Thomas H. Hicks

July 1, 2017 - The grand Timoko (10m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces) recorded a gate to wire harness racing victory in the Gr. II Prix de Washington (purse €120,000, 1609 meters, eight European starters) today at Enghien. Driver Bjorn Goop hustled the front stepping winning trainee of owner Richard Westerink to the lead off the gate and he was never challenged, permitting soft fractions, and setting up a blistering finishing kick (fractions 1.12.3kr at 1000 to go; 1.13.5kr at the 500 remaining mark; and 1.12.1 finish). The time was well off the 1.09.4kr race record held by Rapide Lebel. Timoko won the Washington for the second time and now has a 35-15-13 slate in 100 career starts, now for €4,925,731 earned in the stellar career. Paul Van Klaveren bred the winner that this day was off at 3/10 odds and bested 66/1 Venkatesh (8g Varenne-Honey Face) that Dominik Locqueneux drove for trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. 6/1 Cash Gamble (6m Ready Cash-No Way Back) was third for Franck Nivard and 9/1 Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) rallied late for David Thomain to be fourth. On the undercard was the Prix de la Porte Saint-Martin (purse €52,000, 2875 meters, nine three year-old filly starters) and 4,4/1 Eureka du Chene (3f Rieussec-Mityzvu du Chene) held gamely for the 1.18.3kr timed win driven by Franck Nivard for the Julien Le Mer/Claude Guedj trainer/owner team. 3/1 Evolution (3f Love You-Upper Class) was second in rein to Eric Raffin for Philippe Allaire/Kevin Tebirent (also breeder). Third was 5/1 Valentina Wind (3f Muscle Hill-Norah Wind) driven by Bjorn Goop for trainer Paul Hagoort and Stall Why Not. The day’s Quinte+ was the Prix du Roussillon (purse €48,000, 2150 meters, 16 starters). 7/10 favorite Sir Ratzeputz (7m Love You-Celebrate) scored easily for Bjorn Goop, trainer Timo Nurmos and Guldsvarten AB. The winning time was 1.14.1kr. 88/1 Auch (7g Niky-Migraine) was second for Ch.J. Bigeon, ahead of 20/1 Mind Your Face (8g Offshore Dream-Mind Your Manners) driven by Franck Nivard. Later in the program the Prix de l’Observatoire (purse €55,000, 2150 meters autostart) went to 3.1/1 Global Respons (6g Credit Winner-Com Mission) handled by the red hot Bjorn Goop for owner/trainer Stefan Persson. 6/1 Tesauro (5g Filipp Roc-Imziale) was next for Alexandre Abrivard and third went to 16/1 Titty Jepson (5f Varenne-Laura di Costa) piloted by Jean-Philippe Monclin. Thomas H. Hicks

Veteran Timoko (10m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces-And Arifant) blasted to the front from post five and scored easily by three lengths for Bjorn Goop and trainer/owner Richard Westerink in today’s Benders Elitloppet Final (3SEK million to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, eight starters). He was clocked in 1.09kr (1:51.02) at 31/1 to pin a stunning defeat on Propulsion and Resolve at 16/1 and 11/1 respectively. Heavily backed Bold Eagle was fourth and Nuncio was fifth. Neither had anything left and had no excuses. Timoko was simply the best this day as he recorded career victory 34 in 98 starts for 47,248,058SEK (that is US$5,432,318 at today’s conversion rate). Quite a feat for quite a horse!!! Timoko Elimination 1 Bold Eagle (6m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet-Love You) easily took the first Benders Elitloppet 2017 elimination by six lengths timed in 1.08.4kr (mile rate 1:50.05) for driver Franck Nivard, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. The winner sat alongside pacesetter Delicious, in the death seat, with Resolve second over until top of stretch when the Eagle motored away under little urging. Bred by Jean Etienne Dubois the Eagle was off at 3/2 odds and bested 9/1 Resolve (6m Muscle Hill-Anikawiesahalee-Credit Winner) handled by Ake Svanstedt with third to 13/1 DD’s Hitman (6m Donato Hanover-Deedee’s Destiny-Muscles Yankee). Veteran Spring Erom (12m Gentle Star-Springflickan-Prince Mystic) landed fourth for Christopher Eriksson. Bold Eagle Elimination 2 Elimination #$2 went to home town favorite Nuncio (6m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for trainer/owner Stefan Melander. Propulsion was a game second for Johan Untersteiner, beaten half-length in the 1.10.1 clocked event (1:52.79). Timoko (10m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces-And Arifant) held third after traveling wide all the way for Bjorn Goop. The fourth spot to the final went to In Vain Sund (5m Revenue-Staro Yasmine-Supergill) for Erik Adielsson. Nuncio Bold Eagle will get first choice in the final post position by virtue of the fastest elim time. The big crowd of over 30,000 is enjoying the action on this warm day. Thomas H. Hicks

Timoko (10m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces) and harness racing driver Bjorn Goop left alertly and raced forwardly place as he, Oasis Bi (Johnny Takter) and Brillantissime (Pierre Vercruysse) tussled for the front throughout, until Timoko took the lead in the final bend. Timoko led during the long Cagnes-sur-Mer stretch to prevail by a length in this Gr. I UET Masters Series Grand Criterium de Vitesse de la Cote d’Azur (purse €200,000, 1609 meters autostart, 13 starters). Timoko has now won this prestigious event four times and today set the race record 1.09.5kr (1:51.76) at the mile distance, unusual in France. Off as 9/10 favorite the Richard Westerink owned/trained pupil was bred by Paul Van Klaveren and now has career earnings of €4,491,098 from 32 victories in 84 starts. 2.6/1 Un Mec d’Heripre (9m Orlando Vici-I Love You Darling) rallied to be second for J-M Bazire ahead of 90/1 Red Rose America (7f Varenne-Armbro Voice) reined by Pietro Gubellini.. The Lou Guida bred mare held off North American owned and Jerry Riordan trained Treasure Kronos (5f Raja Mirchi-Glide About) driven by Christoffer Eriksson from post 13, and fifth finishing Up And Quick (9m Buvetier d’Aunou-Fichtre) with Mathieu Mottier up. Next to the line were Timone EK, Oasis Bi, Rod Stewart, Anna Mix and Brillantissime. A full-house was on-hand for the classic event and a fine trotting card. Thomas H. Hicks

January 24, 2017 - The monte Prix Dieppe (purse €62,000, 2700 meters, 12 starters, apprentice jockeys) was a superb harness racing contest that 4.3/1 Udine du Dezert (9f Le Retour-License To Win) won, timed in 1.14.9kr, with J-Y Ricart in the irons. David Bekaert trains the winner for owner Michael Zammit. 2.1/1 Vedette des Landes (8f New des Landes-Dolia du Houlbet) held second for Mlle. Noemie Hardy and trainer Sebastien Hardy, ahead of 3.1/1 Vamp Gede (8f Capriccio-Feeric Gede) with S-D Jardin aboard for trainer Alexandre Pillon. Apprentice drivers were on tap in the Prix Jallais (purse €55,000, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters). The 1.12.6kr timed winner was 3.1/1 Vision Fromentro (8g Ganymede-Princesse Natacha) with Bryan Coppens driving for Jorgen Westholm and owner Anders Van Dapperen HB. 2.1/1 Ange de Lune (7g Laetenter Diem-Kera Elle) was a narrowly beaten second for Jean-Etienne Abrivard and owner/trainer Matthieu Abrivard. 109/1 Vicomte d’Havane (8g Invar-Mandoline de Ry) was third for driver Charley Heslouin and trainer Bruno Marie. The Prix de Moutiers (purse €36,000, 2700 meters, 15 starters) went to Franck Nivard teamed, 2.4/1 odds, 1.16.6kr timed Dotka de Loiron (4f Goetmals Wood-Kotka). Franck Leblanc trains this D.B. Leclerc property. 4/1 Diane d’Haufor (4f Paris Haufor-Diane des Essarts) was a close second between rivals for breeder/owner/trainer/driver Christian Bigeon. 9.1/1 Dantellu Bella (4f Ready Cash-Salsa Bella) was third for Antoine Wiels and owner/trainer J-P Marmion. Danseuse Citrus and Crown were fourth and fifth. The Prix de Pont-Audemer (purse €65,000, 2100 meters autostart, nine starters) went to 1.12.7kr timed, 5.4/1, impressive winner Dreammoko (4m Timoko-Uranie d’Atout) that is trained by Timoko’s conditioner Richard Westerink and reined today by Gabriel Gelormini. 3.6/1 Drageur (4m Speedy Blue-Tilda) was second for Matthieu Mottier and owner/trainer Dominique Mottier. Third was 24/1 Dahir de l’Iton (4g Nuage de Lait-Manne de l’iton). Thomas H. Hicks

Timoko (9m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces) returned from stallion duty to win today’s harness racing Gr. II Grand Prix du Sud Quest (purse €200,000, 2575 meters autostart, 11 starters) at Agen La Garenne. Bjorn Goop reined the winner for trainer/owner Richard Westerink. The Paul Van Klaveren bred veteran recorded his 31st victory in 88 career starts now for €4,236,538 earned. Timed in 1.11.6kr, Timoko was quick to the lead with Dante Boko in the pocket. Brissac, from post 11, came alongside and raced much of the way in the death seat before giving way as Bird Parker (5m Ready Cash-Belisha) rushed forward in the final turn for J-Ph Monclin, trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Elisabeth Allaire. This Christophe Toulorge bred speedster took the lead and held it to the line under heavy urging albeit Timoko re-rallied to a just-beaten second. But, as Timoko closed on the pegs, Bird Parker moved right despite his teamster leaning to the outside, with his right wheel placed under Timoko’s left, impeding his progress and forcing driver Goop inside the pylons. Thus, Bird Parker was a dq placed second. 20.3/1 Ave Avis (6m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Avis) was third for driver/trainer J-M Bazire and owner Mme. O. Roffi-Urano. Comte de Bellaige bred this one. Dante Boko (6g Going Kronos-Margherita Rosa) was an all out fourth for Pierre Vercruysse, trainer Lutfi Kolgjini and Stall Be The Best. Anna Mix (6f Ludo de Castelle-Ires) was a fast closing fifth for Franck Nivard and owner/trainer Franck Leblanc. The third through fifth finishers were together timed in 1.11.9kr. Replays follow. The fine Agen program also included the Grand Prix Baron d’Ardeuil (purse €21,000, 2575 meters autostart, 14 European starters) with the 1.15.2kr timed victory to 35.7/1 Royal Roc (5f Filipp Roc-Gressy Roc) with Mathieu Abrivard the trainer/driver for Scuderia Sant Eusebio. 32/1 New Approach was second for Pierre Vercruysse and trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. Bel Avis (5g Ganymede-Alorca Maris) took the €19,000 Prix de l’Agglomeration over the 2625 meters distance, besting nine rivals timed in 1.13.9kr. Bel Avis was off as 2/5 favorite for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and Wildenstein Stables Ltd. Comte de Bellaigue bred the winner that defeated 9.6/1 Bolero d’Houlbec. The Prix President Dominique de Bellaigue (purse €23,000, 2625 meters, 11 European starters) went to 1.14.9kr timed and 4/1 odds Pioneer Gar (7m Varenne-Follia). Dominik Locqueneux reined this winner for trainer Johanna Lindqvist and Scuderia Super Chico SAS. 9.4/1 Unetelle d’Artease (8g Capriccio-Escapade) was second for Franck Nivard and third was 57/1 Univers d’Enfer. On Friday evening at Enghien two year-olds (11) contested the Prix du Pont de la Tournelle (purse €32,000, 2150 meters autostart). The 1.20.5kr timed winner was 1.1/1 Envieux (2m Kaisy Dream-Vista Wood) with owner Jean-Pierre Dubois driving for trainer Yves Boireau. Ecurie D bred this one. 7/1 Evariste du Bourg (2m Jasmin de Flore-Saratoga du Bourg) was second for owner/trainer Sebastian Guarato and driver Ch. Thierry. 42/1 Etendard Majuro was third. Thomas H. Hicks

Veteran Timoko (9m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulounces) took today’s Gr. II Prix Kerjacques (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, 10 starters) at Paris Vincennes to increase his harness racing career earnings to €4,037,993 with his 29th victory in 84 outings. Note that Ready Cash retired with earnings of €4,282,300. The Richard Westerink trained and owner international superstar was off at 2.6/1 and raced on or near the lead throughout and took the field into the legendary Vincennes lane. The 3/5 favorite hotly contested with Timoko in the stretch and eventually made a miscue under heavy urging when he began traveling in less than a straight line. His disqualification along with the same for Ustinof du Vivier (5.4/1) and Olmo Holz enabled outsiders to garner good shares of the purse. 17.6/1 Africaine (6f Oiseau de Feux-Italienne) rallied for second driven by Pierre Vercruysse for owner/trainer Jean-Etienne Dubois. 50.6/1 Univers de Pan (8m Kenya du Pont-Gypsilore) and trainer/driver Philippe Daugeard raced well to land third (he appears to be regaining good form) and 50/1 Sierra Leone (10f John Arifant-Une d’Havetot) was fourth for trainer/driver J.W. Hallais with fifth to 70/1 Anette du Mirel (6f Laetenter Diem-Lisa du Mirel) for reinsman Eric Raffin and trainer Anders Lindqvist. The sixth and seventh checks went to Treskool du Caux and Beckman. Fractions during today’s Prix Kerjacques were modest with the final time 1.12.3kr (1.13.6kr at 1500 meters to go; 1.12.8ikr at 1000 mark and with 500 remaining) being a new race record nevertheless. Now its three weeks for Timoko until the Elitloppet. Race replay follows: Timoko had previously earned and accepted an Elitloppet invitation. Thomas H. Hicks  

Today’s Gr. I UET Masters Series Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes-sur-Mer went to veteran Timoko (9m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces) with harness racing driver Bjorn Goop aboard for trainer/owner Richard Westerink. The purse was €200,000 with 45% to the winner of the 1609 meters autostart sprinter contest, the last major trotting race of the winter season in France. Timoko was away quickly from post seven in the 13 horse field, following scratch of Un Mec d’Heripre, as was first to lead Oasis Bi (8m Toss Out-Up Front JM) with Johnny Takter up for trainer Stefan Pettersson. Takter parked Timoko for about three-eighths mile before yielding to the winner. Goop then rated the pace craftily and kept Oasis Bui boxed in the pocket until into the stretch when Timoko pulled away for two lengths plus victory. Off as 4/5 favorite, Timoko and 6.8/1 second finishing Oasis Bi bested 159/1 Luckycharm Hanover (8m Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover) that closed strongly along the pegs for Yannick Alain Briand. Spain’s Trebol (9m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait-Prince Mystic) rallied from far back to nab fourth at 13/1 for trainer/driver Gabriel-Angel Pou Pou. The 162/1 outsider Vicomte Boufarcaux was fifth. Kadett CD and Going For Gold Zaz were disqualified for breaks and Anna Mix was unplaced at 14/1 while 4/1 Voltigeur de Myrt finished seventh behind longshot Air Frame at 143/1. Time for the winner was 1.10.2kr (race record 1.09.6kr in 2002 by Varenne). Timoko also won this classic event in 2015 and 2013. His now three wins compares well with legendary Une de Mai, a five time winner from 1969-84, and Ourasi that won four times from 1986-89. Thomas H. Hicks

January 3, 2015 - The barefoot Timoko (9m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces) rallied to score impressively in the Gr. II International Prix de Bourgogne (purse €120,000, 2100 meters autostart, 14 entrants with 13 at the start after Texas Charm was scratched) for harness racing driver Bjorn Goop and trainer/owner Richard Westerink. Timed in 1.11.7kr over the rain soaked Paris-Vincennes cinders Timoko was off the 1.3/1 favorite. 11.3/1 Amiral Sacha (6m Ganymede-Nostalgique Sacha) was a good second for Gabriel Gelormini, Ecurie Sidere and trainer Florent Lamare. Moses Rob was third but disqualified for being rough-gaited and that placed 18.4/1 Univers de Pan (8m Kenya du Pont-Gypsilore) third for trainer/driver Philippe Daugeard. Placed fourth was the 2015 Prix d’Amerique winner Up And Quick (8m Buvetier d’Aunou-Fichtre) driven by J-M Bazire with fifth placed to Un Mec d’Heripre (8m Orlando Vici-I Love You Darling) for Roberto Andreghetti. Uhlan de Val was placed sixth. The race was the day’s Quinte+ with a jackpot of €5.25 million and the win/place handle alone exceeded €1.1 million. Stretch replay: The gala event this Sunday showed that Timoko has the Prix d’Amerique in sight. From the start, Mosaique Face (1 - Lutfi Kolgjini) moved ahead and then Timoko (3 - Björn Goop) took the lead into the wind. Then, Up And Quick (2 - Jean-Michel Bazire) provided a big effort to reach the front until the final phase when detached from his rivals for an open-lengths victory. Timoko’s trainer Richard Westerink was quoted after the race: "My pupil was really good at work. Björn Goop has chosen to shift the soon enough. He knew what he was doing. It always surprises me. He knows some inexplicable success. The Prix d'Amérique looks good. We will try to do better than third. He is ready. " Thomas H. Hicks  

YONKERS, N.Y. --- Timoko heads to Saturday's $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway without having raced since the end of June, but his connections believe the 8-year-old harness racing French star is ready to roll. Bjorn Goop, who drives Timoko regularly for owner/trainer Richard Westerink, said via email this morning that Timoko's absence was because of stallion duty. The horse was scheduled to return to action in the UET Masters Trot final on Sept. 13 in Belgium, but was scratched because of a fever. Timoko and Goop will start the International Trot, which returns to Yonkers after a 20-year hiatus, from post No. 4 and are 6-1 on the morning line. Bee A Magician is the 3-1 favorite from post five in the 10-horse invitational event, which will be raced at 1-1/4 miles rather than the traditional one-mile distance. "They have trained him really hard and say he is very well prepared to race super good so expectations are higher now since we got a good post position," Goop said. Post time is 2 p.m. for Saturday's first race at Yonkers, with the International Trot set for 3:10 p.m. approximately. Timoko, the winner of the 2014 Elitloppet, has two Grade 1 victories this year in Europe and finished third in the Prix d'Amerique. He has won 19 of 57 career starts and earned $3.72 million. "The horse has had a good training," Westerink said following Tuesday's International Trot draw in New York City. "He is a little light, but I don't think it will be a problem." Westerink is looking forward to racing in the U.S. for the first time. He also is looking forward to a strong effort from Timoko, having told writer Fabrice Theil, "I do not just come to visit Manhattan with my family." "It was a dream for me to race in the States as a child, so this is fantastic," Westerink said Tuesday. "This is a really big race and it is good for the sport." The International Trot was first held in 1959 and was won by France's Jamin. France has won 12 editions of the race, which trails only the 13 triumphs by U.S. horses. Sweden's His Majesty won the most recent International Trot in 1995. The event was resurrected this year by Yonkers Raceway President and CEO Tim Rooney. "With Yonkers now a major player in the overseas simulcast market, we feel this is the best time to showcase our track to the world by again inviting the best trotters in the world to race here," Rooney said in a statement. "We have had tremendous cooperation from our horsemen and all of us are looking forward to it." Goop is no stranger to Yonkers, having raced at the Hilltop as part of the 2011 World Driving Championship. Goop, in fact, made his last start in the U.S. a winning one, with a triumph in a 1-1/16 mile race at Yonkers as part of that series. "I have driven at Yonkers before and also several half-mile tracks in Sweden regularly, so I think and hope it's an advantage," said Goop, who turns 39 on Oct. 13. * * * Sweden's Mosaique Face, the winner of the UET Masters Trot final in September and runner-up in this year's Elitloppet, drew post eight - the most outside spot on the starting gate - for the International Trot. The 6-year-old stallion will be driven by Adrian Kolgjini for trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. Owned by Tommy Nilsson Holding AB, Mosaique Face has won 14 of 54 lifetime starts and earned $1.57 million. "I think the biggest competition is Mosaique Face and Bee A Magician," Westerink said. "If Mosaique Face is out in front, he can win. If he is not leading, he will not win." * * * BBS Sugarlight, a 6-year-old gelding from Norway, counts this year's Oslo Grand Prix and Olympic Trot among his 19 career wins. He will start the International Trot from post nine - the trailing spot behind Creatine in post one - with Johan Untersteiner driving for trainer Fredrik Solberg. The earner of $827,607 in lifetime purses, BBS Sugarlight is owned by Knut Groenlie and Gunnar Jarlsen. "He started to be a really good horse one-and-a-half years ago and has been increasing all the time in his results," Groenlie said. "Stability (is his best attribute). He is a speedy horse from the start." * * * Italy's Oasis Bi, who finished second in the Oslo Grand Prix and third in the UET Masters Trot final, drew post 10 for trainer Stefan Pettersson and driver Orjan Kihlstrom. The 7-year-old stallion has earned $1.01 million in his career and is owned by P.G. Svard's Frackstad Lantbruks AB. "Expectations fall a little bit after the start position, but we are still optimistic," said Svard, who has a farm that produces eggs from more than 500,000 chickens near Mantorp, Sweden. "But there is enormous happiness and we are very proud for the invitation. We are really happy to be invited and lucky to be here." Oasis Bi, bred by Italy's Giuseppe Biasuzzi, is by Toss Out, who won a division of the 1993 Zweig Memorial at Syracuse, and out of the Self Possessed mare Up Front JM. "I bought him as a 1-year-old," Svard said. "He has the American blood to thank for his talent." Oasis Bi's starting spot trails Papagayo E, who leaves from post No. 2. "If Papagayo opens early and we come to the rail, I hope to follow him," Svard said. * Papagayo E, a 5-year-old stallion from Norway, will start the International Trot from post No. 2 for trainer Jan Waaler and driver Ulf Ohlsson. He has earned $508,624 lifetime and is owned by Tom Andersen and Claes Sjolin. He won this year's Jarlsberg Grand Prix and was third in the Oslo Grand Prix. "Fantastic," Andersen said about Papagayo E's draw for the International Trot. "That's what we hoped for - one, two or three. We have a fast horse, strong horse, and it looks really promising. He has never been better than today, I would say. I'm really excited to be part of this race. As everyone, we gamble, but if we have a good start we can finish in the top three." The winner of 11 of 24 career starts, Papagayo E raced only in Norway until a year ago, when he began testing the international waters. "We have a couple small tracks in Norway and he was racing on those, so I think he's actually going to like this track," Sjolin said about the half-mile oval at Yonkers. * * * On Track Piraten, a 7-year-old gelding from Sweden with lifetime earnings of $1.31 million, will start from post six. Erik Adielsson will drive for trainer Hans Stromberg and owner Stall CK HB. The horse won the Prix du Luxembourg and finished fourth in the UET Trotting Masters final. "He's a very strong horse," Stromberg said. * * * Five-year-old Rod Stewart, from Italy, drew post three. He finished second in this season's Grade 1 European Championship for 5-year-olds and is trained by Jerry Riordan, a Rhode Island native who has spent the past two decades in Europe. Enrico Bellei will drive the $467,260-earner for owner Graziano Ceccaroni. Rounding out the International Trot field are U.S. representatives Creatine and Natural Herbie. For more about the International Trot and its participants, please visit the event's special website here. Following is the field in post order for the International Trot with listed drivers, trainers and morning line odds: 1. Creatine, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 4-1 2. Papagayo E, Ulf Ohlsson, Jan Waaler, 5-1 3. Rod Stewart, Enrico Bellei, Jerry Riordan, 12-1 4. Timoko, Bjorn Goop, Richard Westerink, 6-1 5. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 3-1 6. On Track Piraten, Erik Adielsson, Hans Stromberg, 10-1 7. Natural Herbie, Verlin Yoder, Verlin Yoder, 8-1 8. Mosaique Face, Adrian Kolgjini, Adrian Kolgjini, 6-1 9. BBS Sugarlight, Johan Untersteiner, Fredrik Solberg, 6-1 10. Oasis Bi, Orjan Kihlstrom, Stefan Pettersson, 8-1 Note: BBS Sugarlight and Oasis Bi start from the second tier. Ellen Harvey and Yonkers Raceway contributed to this story. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA      

Harness racing trainer/driver Richard Westerink showcased lightly raced Cocomoko (3m, Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces) today at Le Cepiere and it produced a comfortable win clocked in 1.17.3kr in the Prix Aerocons Tellation (€22,000 purse, seven starters) as the 9/10 favorite. 2.8/1 Cristal des Baux was second ahead of 11.7/1 Carl des Penguen. The winner is worth tracking for the future. At Vincennes the Prix Regulus (€55,000 purse, 2850 meters, 13 starters) went to As Dore (5m Coktail Jet-Dragee d’On) for teamster Dominik Locqueneux and trainer Franck Leblanc. Timed in a sharp 1.12.7kr the 10.1/1 odds winner handled Arpont d’Ostal (5m Meaulnes du Corta-Quina Perrine) and J-Ph Mary ahead of third finishing Valmayor (5g Le Retour-Kornnaya du Bac) for Joseph Verbeeck at 4.7/1. The card also featured the Prix Leo (€55,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 16 European starters) resulted in a 1.11.6kr victory for 9.1/1 odds Toopie du Hetre (8g Jasmin de Flore-Ixla de Perthos) and Eric Raffin. Favorite at 1.3/1 odds Universal Rider (7m Nahar de Beval-Hanska) ended second for Mathieu Mottier with Ucapata third at 14/1. Thomas H. Hicks

March 8, 2015 - Harness racing driver Bjorn Goop teamed the Richard Westerink trained Timoko (8m Imoko - Kiss Me Coulonces - And Arifant) to a two length score in today’s Grand Criterium de Vitesse de la Cote d’Azur (Gr. I UET Masters Series, 12 international starters, €200,000 purse, 1609 meters autostart) . Away alertly Timoko, racing barefoot, yielded to Pascia’Lest and then regained the front that he never relinquished. Scoring his 26th career victory, Timoko improved life earnings to €3,235,478. Off at 7/10 favorite odds Timoko held off a determined Maven (6f Glidemaster - M. Stewart) with Johnny Takter up. Maven was taken off the gate at the start from post eight and followed the field in the second tier until moving four wide off the final bend. She finished steadily, easily circling the balance of the field. She was off at 5.7/1 and raced with no shoes in front. Vanika du Ruel (6f Jardy - Jacarandine) was third at 18/1 for trainer/driver Franck Anne ahead of Une Fille d’Amour (7f Infant du Bossis - Never So Great) at 23/1 for David Thomain, with fifth to 45/1 Linda di Casei (10f Uronometro - Comtesse Ferm) for trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro. Timoko reportedly will travel to the US later in 2015 to contest the International and the Breeders Crown. Today Timoko was clocked in 1.11.3kr (1:54.72 mile time), well off the race record held by Varenne (1:52 established in 2002). Timoko captured this race in 2013 timed in 1.10.2kr. Thomas H. Hicks

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