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The journey began exactly a month ago, when Bold Eagle and his harness racing caretaker Hugues Monthule boarded a horse van in the French countryside. The pair made their way to the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, flew into Toronto International on Oct.19 and were ensconced in the woodsy, overgrown Mohawk backstretch by the first race on Breeders Crown elimination night. Flash forward to 10 a.m. Sunday morning (Oct. 27), Pierre Pilarski, Thomas and Sabine Bernereau, and Francois Jamier sat around a high-top table near the front of the Quest Restaurant on the ground floor of the Hilton hotel in Mississauga. Situated about halfway between downtown Toronto and Woodbine Mohawk Park, the hotel was quiet, save for a few families checking out and a handful of early risers enjoying the pool and hot tub, and only a few of the restaurant's tables were occupied. Outside, overnight downpours late in the preceding evening and early that morning gave way to gray, overcast skies. The sharp, cold air left flags in tatters and whipped open hotel doors as high winds gusted through the Eastern Ontario city. Despite the dreary conditions, Bold Eagle's connections sat looking relaxed and content. Bright-eyed and with smiles on their faces, they enjoyed each other's company and cordially entertained the occasional visitors who offered congratulations, accolades, and thanks to the team who brought their champion trotter across the Atlantic to post a dominating victory in the Breeders Crown Open Trot only 11 hours before. While the aftermath proved tranquil, the hours leading up to Bold Eagle's victory were fraught with nerves and stress. Bold Eagle arrived in the Mohawk paddock around 8 p.m. on race night and took his place in a stall in the northwest corner near the test barn. With his cotton-stuffed ears forward and head held up in the crossties, Bold Eagle stood quietly with a black-and-red cooler draped cleanly over his back as the finishing touches were put on his braided forelock. As the time to warm up grew closer, though, the stallion became animated. While longtime caretaker Monthule and trainer Sebastien Guarato began to pull equipment out of the black tack box positioned in the aisle just in front of the stall, Bold Eagle began lowering his head and pawing at the rubber-matted floor. Gentle pats on the shoulder, stern warnings, and kisses on the nose from Monthule helped stem the trotter's eagerness, but Bold Eagle soon grew more excitable. As Breeders Crown winners made their way past to the test barn, Bold Eagle fixed his gaze on them, extended his neck, and delivered deep, loud roars. His demonstrations intensified as the sophomore trotting fillies, stationed in the row across from Bold Eagle's stall, lined up to head out to the track. Jamier, an agent, the Bernereaus, co-owners, and Priscilla Navillod, Bold Eagle's masseuse and dentist, joined Monthule and Guarato as Bold Eagle prepared for his warmup around 9:45 p.m. Absent from the group was Pilarski, who remained in the clubhouse. "He was too nervous to come see 'Bold,' " said Kim Gudmand, a Danish photographer and fan who has followed Bold Eagle around Europe since the trotter's 3-year-old campaign and has become close with the trotter's owners. "He wanted to stay upstairs." "I was nervous, but it was not so much pressure from outside, it was more inside pressure," Pilarski explained via translation by Jamier. "Now (Bold Eagle) is getting on the edge where he is not so easy in front like he used to be. We came over here, so of course there was some pressure. "We arrived (Friday). We were pretty tired (Friday) night. We were at the racetrack," Pilarski said. "We went to downtown Toronto (Saturday) to get lunch and we all tried to get time just to destress. But when we arrived here, we could feel the pressure." In the early years of Bold Eagle's career, the trotter would warm up twice on race day, once with Monthule and once with his driver. Now, the 8-year-old is too excitable on the track and only goes for one light preparation with his driver. Two races after winning a Breeders Crown with Winndevie and immediately after driving McWicked to a fourth-place finish in the Open Pace, Brian Sears met Bold Eagle in the paddock and headed out onto the track with him, led by Monthule and with the rest of the team in close pursuit. The warmup was Sears' first time taking the lines behind Bold Eagle and although he talked briefly with the connections in the days leading up to the race, there was little other prep work the Hall of Famer could do ahead of hopping in the sulky. Sears took Bold Eagle one lap clockwise around the seven-furlong oval during a short break in the rain. Although high-strung, Bold Eagle quickly trotted up on the heels of two other joggers near the end of his lap and slowed to match their pace. Sears took Bold Eagle past the paddock and down the stretch, turned him, and went a short spurt at a quicker tempo before returning Bold Eagle to the hands of Monthule. Sears hopped off the bike outside the paddock door and made a B-line for the front of the paddock, darting down a narrow alley formed by the building's exterior and the parked starting gate. The White Knight's colors were tarnished with wet stone dust and the driver chomped furiously on a piece of gum. "He was alright, pretty grabby," Sears quickly commented before jumping in the bike behind Greenshoe and heading out for another heat. After his warmup, Bold Eagle's attitude changed again. After returning to his stall, Bold Eagle stood with all four feet planted firmly on the ground. Neck bowed and ears pinned back, the trotter put on his game face as the final preparations were made for his start. Boosted by Bold Eagle's work leading up to the race, Guarato had been steady all night. The trainer felt confident his trotter would earn a check after training Bold Eagle over the Mohawk oval Thursday (Oct. 24) "I was very satisfied and confident about the fact that he trained well," Guarato said via translation by Jamier. "He handled the turns the right way and he was calm and relaxed and had good energy. I was confident to be one-two-three." A chink in Guarato's armor of confidence finally showed as the trainer watching unnervingly as a Go-Pro was affixed to one of the shafts of Bold Eagle's sulky shortly before race time. Only after being reassured that American History carried the camera in his Open Pace victory earlier in the evening did Guarato's fixation on the device subside. At 10:40 p.m., Guarato and Monthule were at work in Bold Eagle's stall making the final preparations for the race. Sabine Bernereau found a seat on the edge of the tack box while Thomas stood in front of the stall, hands shoved in his pockets, shuffling his feet. Finally, Monthule unhooked the crossties and led Bold Eagle into the aisle. Guarato and Navillod hitched the brand new black-and-red Gorilla race bike to Bold Eagle's harness and tightened the Go-Pro mount a final time. The Gorilla was one of two equipment changes that evening, replacing the Custom model bikes used by Björn Goop and Franck Nivard overseas. Bold Eagle would also race without an undercheck in the Breeders Crown. "He has a tendency to play with it. It was the first time I took it off," Guarato said. Sears donned Pilarski's black-and-red colors, slipped a yellow cap over his helmet, and adjusted his goggles before striding up to Bold Eagle. Tucking the whip under his right arm, Sears clipped the pull-cord for the earplugs in place near his left stirrup, took the lines in his brown-gloved hands, and then came the call from the judge crackling over the paddock's loudspeakers. "Bring 'em out." Monthule led Bold Eagle to the paddock door, Sears hopped in the bike, and the trio made their way out. While the rain had given way for Bold Eagle's warm up, it returned with a vengeance for his race. In combination with high winds blowing down the stretch, the monsoon delayed the start of the 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace as pylons floated up out of their moorings and blew into the center of the track. Earlier in the evening, a wayward pylon forced a recall. Such delays and recalls proved Bold Eagle's undoing before the 2018 Elitloppet elimination. Although there were no such hindrances before the Open Trot, Bold Eagle still appeared agitated in the post parade. He threw his head up and down, darted left, then right, and looked to the grandstand as something caught his eye. Monthule watched from the porch outside the paddock, seeking refuge from the weather under the overhanging roof. Photographers, journalists, and fellow horsepeople - by now, friends - put their hands on his shoulders, hugged him, and wished him luck. Monthule politely accepted each, but his gaze never left his champion on the track. Each time Bold Eagle passed in front of the paddock, Monthule hopped down from his perch and ran to the edge of the track, black-leather shank in hand, ready to lend assistance to Sears if needed. Once, he obliged and Monthule led Bold Eagle up the stretch, past the row of photographers before turning Bold Eagle loose again. Monthule remained out on the track at the end of the line of cameras as Bold Eagle and his 10 rivals faced the gate for the Open Trot. Even as his competitors put their noses on the barrier, Bold Eagle lagged behind from his inside post position, throwing his head and jerking from side to side. However, as he caught the gate, Bold Eagle picked up his head and put his nose to the wings. As the truck sped away, Bold Eagle trotted straight and true, quickest off the car for the first several strides before letting Atlanta, Guardian Angel As, and Lindy The Great dictate the tempo. Reaching the backstretch, Sears yanked on the right line, tipping Bold Eagle's face into the stiff wind. Bold Eagle glided up from a 4 1/4-length deficit to take the lead passing the half. Lindy The Great faded in the pocket while Six Pack tried to follow Bold Eagle's move, but was left without cover, and Atlanta rode the pylons. Bold Eagle straightened away with the lead as Six Pack continued to give chase and Atlanta angled wide. Sears turned the whip onto Bold Eagle's hind end, and as easily as Bold Eagle left the gate, he put up 2 lengths in deep stretch. Sears took three glances over his right shoulder and on the last, realizing he could not be caught, raised his whip in victory. Bold Eagle trotted past the finish post with the plugs still in and his ears pricked as he completed the mile in 1:52.0. A huge smile lit up on Monthule's face and the caretaker thrust both arms straight up over his head as he part-ran, part-skipped, part-jumped up the stretch watching Bold Eagle cross the line. In the clubhouse, Pilarski, the Bernereaus, and Jamier stood pressed up against the glass. They clapped, clamored, and leaned as Bold Eagle neared the finish. Just like Monthule, the quartet threw their hands up as he crossed the line before embracing in a group hug. The pent-up stresses of the evening were instantly lifted, and the heavy rains went unnoticed to the dozens of owners, friends, and fans of Bold Eagle who flooded the track on the way to the winner's circle. Pleas of "clear the track, clear the track," from the outriders as a new batch of horses started their warmups went unheeded as Bold Eagle returned to the winner's circle. Sears threw a Bold Eagle scarf around his neck, "Allez Bold Eagle" and French flags flew, and smiles lit up the night as the cameras clicked away. Back in the paddock, after completing the post-race testing procedures and getting cleaned off, Bold Eagle stomped around with his neck bowed and his ears pinned back, looking none the worse for his dominant display. "I'm very, very happy for Bold, just to get this race in his record. To come here and to win," Pilarski said, looking over his champion. "It's going to make all his fans very happy." Although Bold Eagle is most regarded for his victories in the French classics going 2,700 meters, Guarato praised the trotter's abilities at 1-mile. "The first time he went to Solvalla, he beat the European record. It was amazing. The first time he went to Solvalla, nobody saw that before, what he did there," the trainer said. "The first time he's come here, he's a monster." The Breeders Crown Trot is Bold Eagle's 46th victory and boosts his earnings to $5,692,680. It is the first North American win for the horse, owner, and trainer. Although Bold Eagle and Pilarski had never raced in North America before, Guarato sent Rapide Lebel to a second-place finish behind San Pail in the 2011 Breeders Crown Trot at Woodbine. "I'm extremely satisfied and happy," Guarato said. "This horse brings a lot of happiness to everybody. The last couple of months, he was maybe not as good as he used to be. But he's still a champion and today, to win in front of everybody in North American is huge, huge." Bold Eagle traveled home to France Friday, Nov. 1. He will seek a third victory in the Grand Prix d'Amérique at Vincennes this January. "The plan is to probably race every four weeks to prepare for the Prix d'Amerique," Guarato said." It depends on how he takes the trip back home, but he could race in the Prix du Bourbonnais (Dec. 8) or the Prix du Bourgogne (Dec. 29)." The connections have since stated the Dec. 8 race at Vincennes will be Bold Eagle's next start. The morning after their Breeders Crown win, as Jamier sat with Pilarski and the Bernereaus back at the Hilton, it wasn't too early to dream about the future. "Maybe we'll be back next year," Jamier teased with a smile. by Brandon Valvo, for the Breeders Crown

The gallant mare Billie de Montfort (8f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort), off at 1.1/1 odds as the favorite, took today’s Grand Prix de la Toussaint (purse 120,000€, 2300 meters autostart, 13 starters) which was the Tour Europeen Trotteur Francais Finale, held at Hippodrome Wallonmie (Mons Ghlin). Race time was 1.12.3kr as Billie recorded her 18th career victory in 96 starts, now for 2,010,221€ earned. Gabriele Gelormini teamed the Sebastien Guarato trainee that is owned by breeder Philippe Dauphin. The 40/1 Blues d’Ourville (8g Password-Pursuit of Charm) took second for Benjamin Rochard, trainer Virginie Moquet and owner Damiel Marcon. Third was another Guarato trainee, the 7.9/1 Eridan (5m Ready Cash-Topaze d’Atout), with Hugo W. Langeweg Jr. at the lines for owner Philippe Dewulf. It was a fine racing weekend for trainer Guarato following last evening’s Breeders Crown victory with Bold Eagle in Canada.                On the undercard was the  Grand Prix des Geniteurs (purse 35,000€, 2300 meters autostart, 16 three year olds) and 2.2/1 Miss Moneypenney (3f Varenne-Cecile du Caillou) scored timed in 1.15.6kr for trainer/driver J.P. Van Den Putte for the Triumph Stable. The 9/1 Mateo de Reve (3m Silver Pierji)  was second for Luc Roelens and 11/1 Mya du Calvaire (3f Sugar Trader) took third for Hanna Huygens. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - France's Bold Eagle made the trip to Canada for the $500,000 (US) Breeders Crown Open Trot a winning one as driver Brian Sears guided the 8-year-old son of Ready Cash to a command performance victory in 1:52 over an off surface at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday night. Bold Eagle got away fourth as Lindy The Great jetted to the front in the early stages cutting a :26 2/5 opening quarter while rivals Atlanta and Guardian Angel As settled in behind. Sears wasted little time in going on the offensive with Bold Eagle and turning into the backstretch sent the $5.3 million winning International star on a mission to gain command which he did through a :55 2/5 first half clocking. Six Pack and Ake Svanstedt had left the gate hard from post 10 and waited in the early stages for Bold Eagle to get on the move and then once that happened he was left without cover. Six Pack continued to march forward through three quarters in 1:24 and turning into the stretch was a serious threat. Also looking for a shot was Atlanta and Yannick Gingras as that pair angled out with a shot to track down Bold Eagle. Brian Sears looked confident and comfortable heading into the stretch but he kept asking Bold Eagle to trot and trot he did right through the wire coming a final quarter in :28 flat and scoring in a respectable 1:52 clocking in his first North American appearance. Six Pack was valiant in second with Atlanta up for third. Lindy The Great and Marion Marauder rounded out the top five. Sebastien Guarato trains Bold Eagle who won for the third time this year in just 10 starts. Ecurie P Pilarski owns Bold Eagle who returned $5.70 was the post time favorite. Jean Etienne Dubois bred Bold Eagle. "He was a little tough scoring down. Everything went pretty smooth after that," Sears said. "He dug in down by the wire." "We're very satisfied," said Pierre Pilarski the winning owner. "It was a long trip to come here. I promised John Campbell two years ago and it worked out this year". To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

Bold Eagle (8m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet),sent off as the 9/10 favorite odds, gamely held off challengers to win today’s Gr. I Grand Prix de Wallonie at Mons Ghlin, Belgium. Total purse was 150,000€ in this UET Masters Series event raced over 2300 meters autostart with 13 starters. Bold Eagle recorded his 45th career win in 65 starts now for 4,632,820€ in life earnings. Tony Le Beller teamed Bold Eagle for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. The 5.4/1 Valokaja Hindo (8m Great Challenger) was a nose back second for Christophe Martens and trainer Jean Michel Bazire. The 4.6/1 Billie de Montfort (8f Jasmin de Flore) was another length back in third for Gabriele Gelormini and trainer Guarato. 28/1 Beau Gamin and 116/1 Bon Copain completed the top five with Bugsy Malone, Tony Gio and Valko Jenilat all dq’s. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The 30/1 outsider Cristal River (7m Quaker Jet-Olga de la Greane) took the Friday evening Quinte+ Prix Gratia (purse 48,000€, 2700 meters) at Paris-Vincennes.   Francois Legadeuc teamed the Sebastien Guarato harness racing trainee that is owned by breeder Gerard Manzi. He scored for only the fourth time in 58 career starts but now has 218,630€ earned.   Race timed was 1.14.1kr. 13/1 Coumba Kuky (7f Matador de Vrie) took second for trainer/driver Gabriel Angel Pou Pou and 9/1 Dimmosia (6f Phlegyas) was third for trainer Loris Garcia and pilot Matthieu Abrivard. 12/1 Baron du Gouthier and 3/2 favorite Calou Renardierre completed he exact order top five finishers and set off a 54,137.60€ payoff for the eight winning 2€ Q+ tickets.   6th April   The Q+ pool was 4,332,038€ and the total pools of all bets on this race exceeded 8,656,000€. The 14/1 outsider Coach Franbleu (7g Prince d’Espace-Olydra) was fast off the start for Yoann Lebourgeois, opened a 15 length advantage and gamely held off late challengers to win the 75,000€ purse Prix du Treport raced over 2700 meters.   Coach Franbleu         - LeTrot photo   The winner, owned and trained by Franck Leblanc, now has 12 career wins in 53 outings for 495,870€ earned. Race time was 1.12.2kr.   The 7/10 favorite Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici)rallied late along the pegs for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire to be second and third was 4.9/1 Tessy d’Ete (7f Ganymede) with Franck Nivard up. 60/1 Detroit Castelets and 22/1 Cantin de l’éclair completed the exact order top five and the Quinte+ payoff was 13,153.80€ for the 36 winning ticketholders.   The Q+ pool this day was 4,564,058€ and the total of all wagering pools on the race was 9,547,000€.   Earlier the Prix de Saintes (Gr.III, purse 70,000€, 2100 meters autostart, three year old fillies) went to 1.1/1 favorite Galilea Money (3f Bold Eagle-Uturn Money) reined by trainer Jean Michel Bazire for breeder/owner Yvan Bernard.   Galilea Money   - LeTrot photo   Race time was 1.14.8kr. The winner recorded her fourth career win in seven appearances, now for 87,960€ earned.   She was impressive with this last to first surge. 4.3/1 Gaia Olmendorf (3f Ready Cash) was a game second for Christophe Martens and breeder/owner Ecurie Olmendorf. 4/1 Gemme deBussett (3f Brillantissime) held third for pilot David Thomain   Thomas H. Hicks  

Bold Eagle (7m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) returned to action today at Feurs in the Grand Prix du Centre-Est (Gr. III International, purse 100,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap) and he overcame a 25 meter handicap to score by a length timed in 1.13.3kr. Franck Nivard piloted the Sebastien Guarato trainee for owner Pierre Pilarski. The victory was Bold Eagle’s 42nd in a stellar career that has spanned 55 outings and his career earnings have now reached 4,311,620€. Jean Etienne Dubois bred Bold Eagle. The 1/5 odds favorite pleased the large and enthusiastic crowd as he defeated 6.7/1 Cavalleria (6f Prodigious-Janga) handled by trainer Nicolas Ensch and 56/1 Baronne de Bapre was third. The Feurs undercard included the Prix Timoko (purse 23,000€, 2850 meters, three year olds – the Open des Regions) and that saw 10/1 Fee de Janeiro (3f Tag Wood-Triskele Janeiro) score for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch and Ecurie de Tremont, timed in 1.18.1kr. 1.9/1 favorite Fakir de Puch (3g Ganymede) was next for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne and 52/1 Fraise Blanche (3f Tucson) was third for driver Laurent Lamaziere. The Prix Ready Cash (purse 21,000€, 2050 meters autostart, Open des Regions four year olds) brought 3.4/1 Exaltation Citron (4f Niky-Bara de Pintignies) to victory for Franck Nivard, trainer David Haon and Ecurie HD Trot. J-P Barjon bred this winning mare. Race time was 1.12.2kr. 2.7/1 Etincelle du Parc (4f Redlight Jet) got the second check for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne, with third to 24/1 Epona de Chenu (4f Vanishing Point) for driver Y-A Briand. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

November 19, 2017 - Valko Jenilat (8m Kepler-Perle du Roc) held gamely and scored in today’s harness racing Gr. II Grand Prix de Bretagne (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, International) timed in 1.13.2kr and reined by Eric Raffin for trainer Sebastien Guarato and Ecurie G&F Raffre. The 1.1/1 favorite defeated peg hugging stablemate 12.6/1 Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) with David Thomain driving for owner Philippe Dauphin and trainer Guarato. 21.9/1 Charly du Noyer (5m Ready Cash-Ornella Jet) was third for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Philippe Allaire and Ecurie Normandy Spirit. These top three earned qualification for the Prix d’Amerique in late January. 5.3/1 second choice Bird Parker (6m Ready Cash-Belisha) was fourth for J.Ph. Monclin, trainer Allaire and owner Elisabeth Allaire, ahead for fifth finishing 66.1/1 outsider Shadow Gar (5f Pine Chip-Lady Killer Gar) with owner/trainer Pietro Gubellini up. Belina Josselyn finished ninth racing with shoes and UIza Josselyn was tenth. Bold Eagle was a late scratch. Fractions were conservative (1.14.1kr with 1500 meters remaining, 1.14.4kr at the 1000, 1.13.8kr with 500 to go). A sizeable crowd was on hand at Paris-Vincennes this day for a superb racing program. Thomas H. Hicks

November 9, 2017 - Today’s Gr. II Prix Marcel Laurent (purse €120,000, 2100 meters autostart, 10 four and five year old European starters) kicked off for some a path to the harness racing Prix d’Amerique. This field may be the best in the age class in Europe and what a victory it was for 1.11.3kr timed front striding Carat Williams (5m Prodigious-Miss Williams) teamed with David Thomain for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Francoise Deboudaud. This win was the sixth in succession for Carat Williams and increased his career earnings to €794,240. Day Or Night In (5m Muscle Hill-Ellie America) rallied for second driven by trainer Johan Untersteiner. Third was Urlo Dei Venti (4m Mago d’Amore-Armbro Wealthy) with Enrico Bellei up for trainer Gennaro Casillo. Django Riff (4m Ready Cash-Rasta Perrine) and Diabo du Noyer (4m Jasmin de Flore-Une et Indivisible) were fourth and fifth, ahead of Treasure Kronos that traveled comfortably in the death seat but could not sustain her stretch bid. Fractions were steady (1.09.2kr with 1500 remaining; 1.11.1kr at the 1000; 1.11.9kr with 500 meters to go). The winning Carat Williams was the 2/5 favorite while the next pair were off at 11/1 and 45/1 respectively. Thomas H. Hicks

November 2, 2017 - Today’s Gr. III Prix de Cevennes (purse €110,000, 2700 meters, 12 starters) drew a super quality harness racing field and victory went to 1/2 favorite Valko Jenilat (8m Kepler-Perle du Roc) teamed by Eric Raffin for trainer Sebastien Guarato and Ecurie G&F Raffre. 6.8/1 Ave Avis (7m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Avis) took second for trainer/driver J-M Bazire ahead of 7.6/1 Virginie du Maza (8g Prodigious-Pocket Edition) with trainer/driver Sebastian Ernault. Uppercut du Manche, Booster Winner and Amiral Sacha were fourth through sixth. The beaten field also included monte stars Bilibili and Bellissima France. Race time was 1.13.8kr. The Vincennes program also included the Q+ Prix de Soulac (purse €70,000, 2700 meters, 18 starters) with victory to 1.13kr timed 24.9/1 Aero King (7h Hooper-Quarmina du Hour) for Anthony Barrier and owner/trainer Vincent Lecroq. 98.4/1 Vasco Flower (8g Niky-Nimea) was second for Damien Bonne and owner/trainer Christian Bigeon with third to 8.6/1 Arius du Douet (7g Oyonnax) with Franck Nivard the trainer/driver. The Prix du Durat (purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters) also was a day’s highlight and 5/2 Blue Story (6f Opium-Loumana Flor) scored for Pierre Levesque, and trainer Thomas Levesque. Timed in 1.14.2kr the winner bested 6.7/1 Black Atout (6m Prodigious-La Laqune) and Mathieu Mottier for trainer Franck Leblanc. 9.4/1 Brune des Forges (6f Rolling d’heripe) was third for David Thomain. Other Vincennes action took place earlier in the week. On Tuesday the Prix Lameia (purse €42,000, 2850 meters, 15 starters three year old fillies) went to 1.15.6kr timed and 12.4/1 Estancia Love (3f Repeat Love-Quelle Aventure) with Matthieu Abrivard driving for Yves Boireau who trains for owner Jean Pierre Dubois. His Ecurie D was the breeder. 16.2/1 Esquisse Royale (3f Prodigious-Royale Flower) was next for Emilien Roulline driving for Philippe Moulin, trainer for Ecurie Victoria Dreams and this one was bred by Jean Philippe Dubois. Leo Abrivard teamed the third finishing 27.3/1 Escalade (3f Love You-Uranie du Corta). On Tuesday the Prix Marcel Dejean (Gr. III, purse €80,000, 2200 meters, 10 two year old starters) went to 1/2 favorite Fly With Us (2f Ready Cash-Nariane Marceaux) teamed with Eric Raffin for trainer Philippe Allaire and Ecurie Normandy Spirit. 5/1 Fontaleza (2f Prince d’Espace-Houlba du Pouline) and Jean Michel Bazire took second for owner/trainer Jean Michel Beaudouin. 13.4/1 Fend l Bise (2f Prince Gede-Una Prima Steel) rallied for third with trainer Franck Anne up, for Ecurie AB Trot, the breeder/owner. Wednesday at Laval was the Prix Albert et Raymond Poiteven (purse €30,000, 2875 meters, 15 three year olds) and the 1.15.6kr timed victory went to 6.9/1 Exotic Destination (3f Love You-Quiromantica) with Matthieu Abrivard up. Yves Boireau trains the winner for owner Jean Pierre Dubois. 9/10 favorite Exit  Money (3m Coktail Jet-Making Money) took second for trainer/driver J-M Bazire while 18.1/1 Energy Victory (3f Prodigious-Queens Victory) secured third for Mathieu Mottier, Philippe Moulin (trainer) and Ecurie Victoria Dreams (Jean Philippe Dubois breeder). Also at Laval was the Grand Prix de la Ville de Laval (purse €60,000, 2875 meters, 18 European starters) and the 1.14.7kr timed winner was 3.4/1 Univaldi d’Aval (9g Vivaldi de Chenu-Miss Me d’Aval) for J-M Bazire and owner/trainer Denis Bethouart. 2.2/1 Une Serenade (9f Gazouillis-Moonlight Serenade) rallied for second driven by Eric Raffin and 4/1 Cash Okay (5m Ready Cash-Tresokay) was third for Olivier Raffin. Thomas H. Hicks  

September 17, 2017 - Two  Gr. I events highlighted a superb Paris-Vincennes Sunday harness racing card and the Gr. I Prix de l’Etoile (purse €240,000, 2200 meters, 12 starters) went to 8.5/1 Ecu Pierji (3m Tucson-Tosca Pierji) for Mathieu Mottier, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Ph. Dewulf timed in a quick 1.11.1kr (solid fractions 1.09.8kr at the 1500 to go mark; 1.09.4kr at the 1000 and 1.11.kr with 500 meter left). 3.1/1 Erming d’Oliverie (3f Scipion du Goutier) was four back in second for Franck Nivard and trainer Franck Leblanc. 56/1 Easy des Racques (3m Rodrigo Jet) was home third for J.Ph.Monclin. The Gr. I Prix de Normandie (monte, purse €240,000, 3000 meters, 15 starters) went to 6.5/1 Cassate (5f Neoh Jiel-Quiva du Rib). Antoine Lamy teamed the winner for J.L. Dersoir, trainer for Ecurie Luck. 21/1 Chablis d’Lerfraie (5m Giant Cat) was next for jockey David Thomain and third was 6.3/1 Cyprien des Bordes (5m Ouragon de Celland) for trainer Joel Hallais and J.L. CL Dersoir in the irons. Race time was 1.14.3kr. The program also included the Prix Alfred LeFevre (monte, purse €100,000, 2850 meters, 16 starters) and 7/10 favorite Traders (5m Ready Cash-Graziella) prevailed for Yoann Lebourgeois and owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. 59/1 Caduceus des Brux (5g Mark Speed-Festina des Baux) took second for Mathieu Abrivard and 13/1 Boeing du Bocage (6m Scipion du Goutier) was third for the Franck Nivard/Franck Leblanc team. Earlier the Prix de Montelimar (purse €60,000, 2700 meters, eight European starters) drew three year old males and the 3/2 second favorite Express Jet (3m Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet) scored for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and Ecurie Opale timed in 1.14.7kr. The 1.3/1 favorite Classic Connection (3m Love You-Crys Dream) was a solid second for Franck Nivard, teaming for Yves Boireau and owner Jean-Pierre Dubois. 10/1 Echo de Larre (3m Echo-Sonnette Mike) was next for Mathieu Abrivard. The Quinte+ Prix de Moulins la Marche (purse €68,000, 2850 meters, 15 European starters) saw a host of longshots on top of the ticket timed in 1.13.2kr. 26/1 Vasco de Viette (8g Capriccio-Nonette Tivoli) scored for David Thomain ahead of 14/1 Apollon de Kacy and Franck Nivard. 79/1 Totem d’Azur, 24/1 Tell Me No Lies and 23/1 Venus de Bailly were home third through fifth. The payoff was huge. On Friday the Q+ was the Prix Ophelia (purse €50,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) and hard-working 1.9/1 odds Bolt (6m Prince Gede-Souvola) scored again for breeder/owner/trainer/driver Christophe Gallier. This victory was Bolt’s 15th in 48 career starts and raised his career earnings to €244,070. Thomas H. Hicks  

August 21, 2017 - Top flight trotting action today at Paris-Vincennes shined the harness racing spotlight on four Groupe II events. In the Prix Pierre Plazen (Gr.II, purse €120,000, 2175 meters, eight starters-three year old colts) 7.4/1 Eridan (3m Ready Cash-Topaze d’Atout) was an impressive 1.14.3kr timed winner for David Thomain. Sebastien Guarato trains the property of Philippe Dewulf that now sports career earnings of €195,950. 7/10 favorite Ecu Pierji (3m Tucson-Tosca Pierji) took second money for Mathieu Mottier driving for Guarato/Dewulf. 3.7/1 Eros du Chene (3m Un Amour d’Haufor-Ouknova de Lou) was third for reinsman Matthieu Abrivard. Classic Connection (3m Love You-Crys Dream) was sixth for J-P Dubois after winning his previous start. The monte Prix Herve Ceran-Maillard (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2175 meters, 12 starters) went to 1.12.6kr timed and 16/1 odds Cyprien des Bordes (5m Ouragon de Celland-Perle des Bordes) scored for jockey J.L.Cl. Dersoir, trainer Joel Hallais and Ecurie Rib.  Several highly respected entrants were miscue dq’s. 4.1/1 Cassate (5m Neoh Jiel-Quiva du Rib) was second ridden by Adrien Lamy for J.L. Dersoir and Ecurie Luck. 3/2 Catalogne (5f Cygnus d’Odyssee-Jabadie) landed third for Mathieu Mottier Next was the Prix Guy Deloisin (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2175 meters, 11 starters) and it yielded a victory by 1.3/1 Erming d’Oliverie (3f Scipion du Goutier-These d’Oliverie) handled by Franck Nivard for trainer Franck Leblanc and Ecurie de d’Oliverie). Race time was 1.12.2kr. 39/1 Exotic Destination (3f Love You-Quitomantica) was second for Matthieu Abrivard, trainer Yves Boireau and owner Jean Pierre Dubois. 5/1 Elite du Ruel (3f Timoko-Romance du Ruel) was third for trainer/driver Franck Anne. The final Gr. II event was the Prix Jockey (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, 10 starters) and 2/5 favorite Carat Williams (5m Prodigious-Miss Williams) scored for David Thomain, trainer Guarato and owner Mme. Florence Deboudaud. 8.7/1 Charly du Noyer (5m Ready Cash-Ornella Jet) was second with Yoann Lebourgeois up for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Marie Anne Thomas. 6.3/1 Cash And Go (5m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet), the brother to Bold Eagle, was third handled by Franck Nivard for the trainer/owner team of Guarato and Pierre Pilarski. This group is maturing and at least some will move to the elite level in 2018. Thomas H. Hicks

August 6, 2017 - Saturday, the very accomplished Bold Eagle (purse €180,000, 2300 meters autostart, 12 starters) scored at Mons Ghlin for harness racing driver Franck Nivard timed in 1.13.4kr over an off track at 1/10 odds, holding off 19/1 stablemate Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) and David Thomain by a diminishing length. Sebastien Guarato owns this pair, the first owned by Pierre Pilarski and bred by Jean-Etienne Dubois, the second owned by Philippe Dauphin. 49/1 Booster Winner (6m Love You-Quille Viretaute) took third for Christophe Thierry and trainer Guarato. Ecurie Winner owns this one. Quick Fix and Zorro Photo finished fourth and fifth in a field outclassed by the top two. Bold Eagle now has posted 37 trotting victories in 43 starts for career earnings of €3,426,020. Bold Eagle The same day at Enghien was the monte Prix de Forges-les-Eax (purse €70,000, 2875 meters, nine starters) and the 1.17.2kr timed winner was 2.4/1 Dreole Verderie (4g Kalusphenio-Reole Verderie) with Eric Raffin in the irons. 47/1 Coranie Lebel (5f Quido du Goutier-Star Lebel) rallied to be second ahead of the 3/5 favorite Jerry Mom (4m Ready Cash-Graziella) that rallied for the three spot. Dreole Verderie Yesterday the Enghien action was focused on the Gr. III Prix Henri Cravoisier (purse €85,000, 1609 meters, ten starters). The punters liked 2/5 favorite Vivid Wise As (4m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip) and he won the race on disqualification of Varieta’Luis (3m Ideal Luis) that rallied past the roughed up pacesetter than Enrico Bellei drove for trainer Marco Smorgon and owner Scuderia Bivans SRL. Race time was 1.12.2kr. 34/1 Espoir des Vaux (3g Ubriaco-Marina des Vaux) was placed second, and 8/1 Euro du Chene (3m Neoh Jiel-Oseille du Chene) was placed third, a length back. The turf action this Sunday was leg 12 of the Trophee Vert raced at Carentan, the Prix Maurice de Folleville (purse €45,000, 2850 meters distance handicap, 18 starters). 3.7/1 Bugsy Malone (6g Ready Cash-Night Captain) overcame a 50 meter penalty to win for Yoann Lebourgeois and owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. This team extinguished the handicap quickly, open a lengthy lead mid-race, and held game for victory as he tired and swerved to the fan side in the lane. Time was a good 1.16kr on the grass and Bugsy won for the 17th time in 33 career starts now for €522,810 earned. 51/1 Univers de Marzy (8h Look de Star-Lovelie de Marzy) was second for Clement Duvaldestin and 7.4/1 Bon Copan (6m Love You-Haie) landed third. The prior week’s Trophee Vert at La Gacilly went to Bolt and driver Christophe Gallier but he was not entered today. Last week there was also a turf contest at Brehal for €35,000 purse and favored Authorized took that one for Pierre Levesque. Sweden’s Saturday V75 action was at Rattvik. The V75 Gold (150,000SEK to the winner) went to 1.8/1 Seedorf OMF (6g Algiers Hall-Indy’s Lindy-SJs Caviar) timed in 1.11.3kr over 1640 meters autostart for Orjan Kihlstrom, driving for trainer Stig H. Johansson, another great active legend in the sport. The featured event of the day was the Gr. II National for 300,000SEK to the winner of the 2660 meter test. 4.9/1 Trot Kronos (5m Muscle Hill-Melody Not-Coktail Jet) scored timed in 1.13.5kr for Jan Norberg, driving for trainer Veijo Heiskanen. Thomas H. Hicks

June 25, 2015 - Bold Eagle (6m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet), off as 3/10 harness racing favorite, surged from behind three wide cover at top of stretch and scored for Frank Nivard by two lengths timed in 1.10.5kr. Sebastien Guarato trains the Pierre Pilarski owned stallion that was bred by Jean-Etienne Dubois. The Gr. I Prix Rene Balliere carries a €200,000 purse and was raced over 2100 meters autostart with ten starters. Fractions were quick and steady (1.10.1kr at 1500 to go; 1.09.7 with 1000 remaining and 1.10.9kr with 500 meter left in the contest). Bold Eagle recorded his 36th career win in 42 starts, now for €3,344,620 earned. 16/1 Valko Jenilat (8m Kepler-Perle du Roc) was a solid second for Eric Raffin and trainer Guarato. Third was 8/1 Amiral Sacha (7m Ganymede-Nostalgique Sacha) driven by Gabriele Gelormini, 37/1 DD’s Hitman (6g Donato Hanover-Deedee’s Destiny) and 108/1 Pioneer Gar (8m Varenne-Follia) were fourth and fifth. Thomas H. Hicks

June 24, 2017 - Franck Nivard teamed Express Bourbon (3m Ready Cash-Kamera Bourbon-Cezio Josselyn-Etta Extra) to a 1.17kr victory this day in the Prix du Green Horse Festival (purse €21,000, 2850 meters, three year-old open). Sebastien Guarato trains this winner for owner Yvette Engelke. Haras Saint Martin bred Express Bourbon that is from a US$221,000 winning mare. Second was another well-bred three year-old, this the filly Erabella Madrik (3f Ready Cash-Talina Madrik-Korean-Ketty d’Occagnes-Workaholic) driven by Jean-Pierre Dubois, also owner, and trained by Yves Boireau. Her dam won US$439,000. Third was Early Morning (3m Coktail Jet-Passion d’Amour-Joyau d’Amour) reined by Thibault Borderie. Fourth went to Expeditious (3m Prodigious-Rapide Aventure-Love You-Bahama), his dam a winner of US$244,000, and today driven by Julien Dubois for trainer Philippe Moulin and Ecurie Victoria Dreams. The quality of this race set the pace for a superb Paris-Vincennes program tomorrow, with seven groupe races and a myriad of top performers led by Bold Eagle and Belina Josselyn in the Gr. I UET Masters Prix Rene Balliere for a €200,000 purse. The other Gr. I events are the Prix d’Essai, Grand Prix du President de la Republique and Prix Albert Viel. Eiffel Tower, Django Riff and Ecu Pierji are favorites in these. Program here: The great horses and races highlight a day of family entertainment at the Temple du Trot first featuring the equine stars.  Thomas H. Hicks

June 10, 2017 - The Saturday sunny harness racing card at Paris-Vincennes included top flight trots led by the Gr. II Prix Louis Jarel (purse €120,000, 2175 meters, nine five year-old starters). The 5/10 favorite Carat Williams (5m Prodigious-Miss Williams) scored on dq timed in 1.11.1kr for driver David Thomain. Sebastien Guarato trains the winner for Mme. Francoise Deboudaud. 9.7/1 odds  Clif du Pommereux (5m Love You-Noune du Pommereux) was placed second for driver J-M Bazire, trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. Placed third was 18/1 Caid Griff (5m Password-Savane Griff) reined by Mathieu Mottier for trainer Guarato and Ecurie Griff. The cause of the placings was dq’d Cash and Go (5m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet), a full brother to Bold Eagle. On the program was the E-Q+ Prix de Villeneuve Sur Lot (purse €48,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters). 54/1 Picone (8m Credit Winner-Fabiaz) scored, timed in 1.13.2kr for trainer/driver Santo Mollo and Ecurie Don Miguel. 38/1 All Feeling (7m Otello Pierji-Quelle Cerencaise) was second for Christophe Martens, ahead of 97/1 outsider Vie de la Ferme (8g Quatre Juillet-Erika de Vilzy) reined by J.Ph. Monclin for Axel Wend, the breeder/owner. Another  interesting winner this day was in the Prix de Gien (purse €68,000, 2700 meters, 11 European starters), as 15/1 Hambo Transs R (3m Love You-Bewitched) scored for the excellent team of driver Robin Bakker and trainer Paul Hagoort. Mille Fleurs from Holland is the winning owner. Romain Derieux teamed the 2/5 favorite Anzida Liards (7m Look de Star-Nausicaa du Sud) to victory in the Prix du Quercy (purse €85,000, 2850 meters, 10 European entrants), timed in 1.13.5kr. David Bekaert trains the winner for breeder/owner Richard Padovani. 9/1 Orient Horse (9m Abano As-Irma del Rio) was second for Pierre Levesque and Glen Ord Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Onions Hilda) took third for Christophe Martens. Later in the program the Prix de Fecamp (purse €50,000, 2700 meters, 17 starters) went to 1.13.5kr timed and 11/1 odds Cicero Noa (5g Mandarino Blu-Ma Belle Reine). Pierre Vercruysse teamed the winner for breeder/owner/trainer Jan Vanhoucke. Then, three year-old fillies took to the track for the Prix d’Istres (purse €8,000, 2700 meters, 11 European starters) with the 31/1 odds Estola (3f Nectar-Nika) prevailing for pilot David Thomain, trainer Emmanuel Ruault and Ecurie Comte P. de Montesson. 14/1 Elite du Ruel (3f Timoko-Romance du Ruel) was second for trainer/driver Franck Anne. Third home was Electra Jet (3f Ready Cash-Olivia Jet) that was bred by Jean Etienne Dubois and now owned by Ecurie de As and trained/driven by Pierre Vercruysse. Primula Brazza’ Wins Q+ at Vincennes June 9, 2017 - 19/1 Primula Brazza’ (8f Oiseau de Feux-Erlarosa Brazza’) took the Friday evening Quinte+  Prix Titania (purse €48,000, 2850 meters, 16 starters) at Paris-Vincennes. Franck Nivard was the pilot for Scuderia Dell’Acquario and trainer Salvatore Carro. 11/1 Auro Normande (7f Ready Cash-Normandia) took second for owner/trainer/driver Eric Lambertz. Third home was 39/1 Baraka de Bellou (6f Prodigious-Olifina) and pilot Mathieu Mottier and Denis Elhalk, the trainer/owner/breeder. Race time was 1.14.5kr. On the same card was the Prix Adalberta (purse €56,000, 2850 meters, 13 European starters) and that 1.14.7kr clocked victory was earned by 9/10 favorite Cerenzo Turbo (5m Ganymede-Poesie de Vigne) from among a close pack at the finish. Franck Nivard teamed the Philippe Billard trainee that Ecurie Turbo owns and bred. 4.3/1 Tesauro (5g Flipp Roc-Iniziale) was second for pilot Alexandre Abrivard, ahead of 7.5/1 Titty Jepson (5f Varenne-Lama di Costa) reined by David Thomain for Vincent Lacroix, the trainer for Scuderia Nininni. Thomas H. Hicks

April 22, 2017 - Bold Eagle (6m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) kept on rolling with an easy front-end score at Enghien in the Prix de l’Atlantique (Gr. I UET International, purse €200,000, 2150 meters autostart, 11 starters). Franck Nivard was again the harness racing pilot and the 1.12.2kr timed winner now has 34 wins in 39 career starts for €3,193,300 earned. Sebastien Guarato trains Bold Eagle for Pierre Pilarski and Jean Etienne Dubois bred and early developed the champion. The 1/10 favorite bested 23/1 stablemate Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) that Guarato trains for Philippe Dauphin. Third was 13/1 Ave Avis (7m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Guis) driven by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer J-M Bazire and owner Ottavia Rolfiu-Urano. Boosters Winner and Duke Of Greenwood took the fourth and fifth positions behind the “exceptionale!!!” champion. A “huge” crowd was on-hand at Enghien-Soisy to see one the greatest perform after more than a two-month layoff. The Q+ on today’s Enghien program was the Prix du Casino Baurnere (purse €60,000. 2150 meters autostart, 15 European starters) and the 4/5 favorite Attacus (7g Hand du Vivier-Nelocata) prevailed for Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner J.M. Machet. Attacus recorded his 11th career win in 41 starts for €337,300 earned and he was timed in 1.14.9kr. 9.1/1 Zonguldac (8g Love You-Heartenings Crown) finished second for driver Christophe Martens and Radieux (7g Love You-Dordogne) was third for Dominik Locqueneux and owner/trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. Agora and Blues d’Ourville completed the top five. Thomas H. Hicks  

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