Prix d’Amerique -The Event


Prix d’Amerique day is special, very special. Most attendees consider it an honor and privilege to be part of the culture and festival-like presentation of arguably the world’s greatest trotting race. The day showcases the best of French trotting (monte and attelle over various distances and starting methods raced over perhaps the world’s premier trotting surface). The fans embrace it, the bettors embrace it, the horse industry embraces it, and it works!
 Quaker Jet

Lessons Learned – pageantry, promotion, enthusiasm, entertainment, product – the icons of trot, the race, the celebration among friends and colleagues.


Prix d’Amerique 2010 – The Preparation


As most fans of world trotting know the Prix d’Amerique field is partly set by the results of several “qualifying” races and various invitations to the best currently racing trotters in Europe, creating a field of 18 free-for-all trotters, which in the 2010 race included eight horses with lifetime earnings over 1 million euros.
Prix de Bretagne 11/21/09
Prix du Bourbonnais 12/12/09
Prix de Bourgogne 1/3/10
Prix de Belgique 1/17/10
Criterium Continental 12/27/09 (4 year olds)
Prix Tenor de Baume 1/17/10 (6 year olds)
The Prix d’Amerique embodies long history and the theme of “thanks to America” for its assistance to France in World War I. The 2010 edition was the 89th renewal, having begun in 1920. The venue is the “Temple du Trot”, Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes, located on 42 hectares within the Bois de Vincennes. Billed as the showdown of the world’s best 18 trotters the spectacle also features 150 artists, a parade of dancers and acrobats, the horses and their connections plus the “Carrousel des Lances de la Garde Republicaine”. Conducted before 40,000 fans the Prix d’Amerique illustrates passion, enthusiasm for the favorite entrants (cheering sections), a wide-open global betting event run by PMU, commemorative merchandise developed by a leading designer, donations to charity and the sponsorship of fragrance retailer Marionnaud (since 2001). These elements set the Prix d’Amerique apart from any other trotting event.
Further, Cheval-Français positions the great race within “International Week” that features 27 races for European and International registered trotters along with three days of Trotting Promotions Auction Sale, a visit to the Grosbois Training Centre and the Expo Etalons at Vincennes. Trotting fans and investors from around the globe gather in Paris for the week. Trotting art enthusiasts could also bid at L’Art du Trot in Paris, conducted by Million & Associates that presented 374 lots for auction sale.
As one might expect Cheval-Français promotes International Week and the Prix d’Amerique widely by its outstanding website and locally in Paris using well placed billboards and signage. Several feature videos accompany the effort to present the big race and the sport of harness racing as “Le Trot. Plus qu’une allure une CULTURE”.


Thoughts Re: Brooks Matter


Thoughts Re: Brooks Matter
While courts of law will ultimately decide the fate of Mr. Brooks and his various family enterprises, recent actions in the matter inspire questions that affect North American harness racing, its perception by fans, media and betters and the actions taken by harness racing governance (USTA, Standardbred Canada and state/province racing commissions). Several of these points are listed below:
·         Why did Standardbred Canada wait until late January to suspend the accused participants when the only “apparent change” in the case involved moving funds within Europe and Mr. Brooks being relocated from home confinement to jail?
·         Why did other governing organizations such as the USTA and New Jersey Racing Commission affect its suspensions a week after Standardbred Canada’s action?
·         Did these suspensions cover all Brooks’ related party entities (e.g., Tactical Armor Products, the breeder of many Brooks’ horses)?
·         What affect do the suspensions and stoppage of transfers involving Brooks’ horses have on non-related parties that may have acquired horses from Brooks but the transfers have yet to be processed?
·         Where do the suspensions leave trainers currently in charge of Brooks’ racehorses, two year olds and breeding stock? Are trainers and other creditors able to place liens on horses and force their sale to satisfy creditors when the USTA and Standardbred Canada have a stated ban on transfers? Can suspended owners lease their racing stock to non-related parties during this period?
·         What elements of the Brooks case set it apart from other ethics situations, such as use of performance enhancing medications, operation of stables in “phantom names”, racing rule violation s and the like, which may affect the betting public?
·         Why have other state/province racing commissions not affected consistent suspensions of accused or even guilty parties when ethics issues become widely publicized?
While we do not have answers to these questions, and the Brooks case has yet to be played out in the courts, this situation reveals weakness in the consistent governance of harness racing in North America and the perceived ethics issues that likely have a negative impact on pari-mutuel wagering and the industry’s attractiveness to new and existing owners and investors.

Prix Tenor de Baune 1-17-10


Prix Tenor de Baune 1-17-10 Vincennes 110,000e, 2700 meters
Qwerty, owned, trained and driven by Pierre Levesque may have inserted himself in the Prix d’Amerique mix with a decisive win over the Prix d’Am distance in 1.12.8. Qwerty defeated the highly regarded Quarcio du Chene driven by Bjorn Goop and Queen’s Glory.
1.       Qwerty (Levesque) 1.12.8 (bh6 Quadrophenio-Anne Speed-Ianthin)
2.       Quarcio du Chene (Goop)1.13.0
3.       Queen’s Glory (J Ph Dubois) 1.13.1
4.       Quakler Jet ( J Et Dubois) 1.13.1
5.       Impeto Griff (Raffin) 1.13.6
6.       Quisling d’Anjou (Delanoe)
7.       Quilon du Chatelet (Nivard) 1.13.7
8.       Quinoa du Gers (Bazire)  1.13.7
9.       Queen Legend (Locqueneax) 1.13.8
10.   Quid de Chahains (Vercuysse) 1.14.1
11.   Quick Nevele (Chavatte)
12.   Queroan du Jay (Lenoir)
13.   Quitus du Mexique (Guarato)
14.   Quela Rive (Verbeeck)
15.   Quilien d’Isques (LeBeller)

Prix de Belgique 1-17-10


Prix de Belgique 1-17-10 Vincennes  110,000e 2850/2875 meters

Distance advantage prevailed as favorite Paris Haufor dominated the final B defeating Oasis Gede. Orlando Sport finished 5th while 25 meter handicapped Meaulnes du Corta, Russel November, Malakite, Nouba du Saptel, Olga du Biwetz and Opal Viking could do  no better than 8th. The Prix d’Amerique could be setup for Paris Haufor, Rolling d’Heripre and veterans Meaulnes du Corta and Olga du Biwetz.

1.       Paris Haufor (Bigeon) 1.13.6  (bh7 Vivier de Montfort-Feline du Relais-Podosis)

2.       Pasis Gede (LeBeller) 1.14.1

3.       Ghiaccio Del Nord (Bellei) 1.14.1

4.       Quarla (Nivard) 1.14.2

5.       Orlando Sport (Baude) 1.14.3

6.       Perlando (Verbeeck) 1.14.4

7.       Paradis Cordiere (Labigne) 1.14.4

8.       Meaulnes du Corta (Levesque) 1.13.8 + 25 meters

9.       Niky (Abrivard) 1.14.5

10.   Russel November (Langeweg Jr.) 1.13.8  +25 meters

11.   New des Landes (Hardy)

12.   Return Money (Duvaldestin)

13.   Paola de Lou (L. Abrivard)

14.   Malakite (Verva)  +25 meters

15.   Nouba du Saptel (Geslin) +25 meters

16.   Olga du Biwetz (Bazire) +25 meters

17.   Opal Viking (Kontio) +25 meters

Prix de Croix 1-16-10


Prix de Croix  1-16-10 Vincennes 110,000e; 2850/2875 meters
Rolling d’Haripre easily defeated Ready Cash and positioned himself for a Prix d’Amerique bid. Overcoming a 25 meter handicap Rolling covered 2875 metersd in 1.15.2 rate over an off track.
1.       Rolling d’Heripre (Bazire) 1.15.2 (bh5 Dahir de Prelong-Harmony Blue-Blue Dream) +25 meters
2.       Ready Cash (Verbeeck) 1.15.4 + 25 meters
3.       Nu Pagadi (Goop) 1.16.7
4.       Roc Meslois (Belloche) 1.16.9
5.       Rocklyn ( J Ph Dubois) 1.16.9
6.       Renommee d’Obret (Nivard) 1.17.0
7.       Rieussue (Levesque) 1.17.2
8.       Roxane Griff (Piton) 1.17.6
9.       Rossini des J’pes (LeBeller) 1.18.0
10.   Insect face (Haugstad) 1.19.1
11.   Rapide du Bois (Raffin)
12.   Micro Mesh (Locqueneux)
13.   Lavec Kronos (Roussel)
14.   Rhea Pride (Duvaldestin)


Racing Rebound Requires Resolve


Racing Rebound Requires Resolve

The horse industry, broadly defined,  faces incredible current and future challenges as non-pari mutuel gaming expands to satisfy government budget woes and relentless spending, legislators increasingly oppose supporting the horse industry, North American horse racing popularity and handle decline and the industry’s behavior signals that it is its’ own worst enemy. Yet, in some countries throughout the world horse racing has retained its glamour and popularity and “punters” continue to play at an increasing pace. In some countries horse racing is a major league sport worthy of respect, investment and patrons’ entertainment expenditures.

North American horse industry participants and investors must conduct objective and thorough assessment of their business, consumer behavior and financial models. The industry must examine itself without bias and demonstrate willingness to learn from others and embrace change. The industry must mobilize its resources and cease endless infighting and special interest positions that oppose change and send a negative message to customers and governmental entities.

Some of the elements of the assessment process are listed below”

1.       Administrative authority and control (what can work, what does not)

2.       Scope of product/service offering

·         Wagering options that attract legacy pari-mutuel patrons as well as new patrons attracted to lottery type structure with high potential payouts and which require no or limited handicapping effort and skill and which provide a level competitive playing field

·         Live race dates and tracks needed to showcase the product (extended race meets or not)

·         Domestic simulcasting (inbound, outbound)

·         Foreign simulcasting (inbound, outbound)

·         Account wagering

·         Non pari-mutuel gaming (complementary or not)

·         Technology – kiosk wagering, hand-held devices  and other advancements on track

·         Non-wagering services and entertainment

·         Required level of customer service on and off track

·         Utilization of media technology to create awareness, educate, communicate and deliver services

3.       Competition from racing, gaming and other alternatives on-premises and on-line

4.       Customer education (definition, scope, delivery mechanisms)

5.       Patron services, promotion and media coverage to generate positive response and glamour

6.       Race classification and entry systems (conditioned, claiming, age and earnings graded, state owned and bred limitations, race secretary performance standards, measurements and authority)

7.       Race conduct (performance enhancement medications, equipment enhancements such as trotting hopples, whipping, geldings, catch drivers, competition)

8.       Product variations (distance, starting methods, direction, handicapping, post positions, turf vs. dirt, monte)

Industry leaders must emerge with realization that they are operating in a new, more competitive landscape with real changes in marketplace, technological and governmental dynamics. The pace of those changes is accelerating. While each organization may ultimately select its own path there are business imperatives that every entity must agree upon and embrace fully with their actions and financial resources. To do otherwise says “leave the keys on the table, turn out the lights on the way out and join the unemployment line.”


Wagering Records Set Down Under!!!



Record betting in tough times
By Ray Thomas
From: The Daily Telegraph (courtesy of Standardebred Canada) November 19, 2009 7:36PM
If horse racing has an image problem, then it’s not stopping most of us from having a bet.
For a nation renowned for its love of a punt, the "Sport of Kings" still remains the popular gamble of choice for many. The TAB reported yesterday that betting records were smashed during the 2009 Spring Racing Carnival – proving once again that in troubled times a bet on the horses is almost like a public panacea. Punters seem to forget about the so-called global economic crisis and concerns about job security to try their luck on the nags. Racing has been thought of as "recession proof" since the days of the Great Depression when the out-of-work and out-of-luck scraped together whatever money they could find to back the legendary racehorse Phar Lap.
Even though Phar Lap usually started at prohibitive odds, for most desperate punters the gamble was worth it. Phar Lap almost always won and a bet on the champ was considered safer than bank interest anyway. This year’s spring carnival certainly didn’t boast an equine star like Phar Lap but we still bet up big.
Tabcorp has revealed that NSW and Victorian TAB punters wagered more than $1.57 billion across the 50 official days of the 2009 spring racing carnival.In NSW alone, TAB betting on the three racing codes from September 30 to November 18, 2009 reached $839.59 million (up 6.3 per cent on last year) – an all-time record. During this period, thoroughbred racing investments by NSW TAB punters was $630.48 million (up 5.8%) compared to the Victorian TAB which reached $568.38 million (up 0.1%).Tabcorp processed some 47.7 million transactions through the NSW and Victorian TABs on Melbourne Cup Day, including 636 bets per second during the peak of trading.NSW TAB punters wagered a nation-high $55.3 millon (up 9.2%) on the Melbourne Cup alone.
The only other year in the last decade where NSW outgrew Victoria in spring racing carnival turnover was in 2008, when NSW was coming off a low base caused by Equine Influenza. Victoria’s TAB growth was higher than NSW’s in all 10 years prior.
What’s that about Australians loving a bet? Tabcorp’s managing director of wagering, Robert Nason, had every right to be beating his chest yesterday."We have delivered our best spring racing carnival operational performance on record, seamlessly processing tens of millions of transactions for the benefit of our customers and our racing industry partners," Nason said."This is a considerable achievement when you take into account that no wagering operator in the world processes the number of transactions Tabcorp does over a prolonged, high volume period such as the Spring Racing Carnival."
These betting turnover figures not only underline our love for a punt, but show the resilience of horse racing. The sport has endured some troubled times of late starting when the horse ‘flu outbreak shut down all race meetings in NSW for three months in late 2007.
Emotion-charged debate about jockeys’ use of the whip has stirred the animosity of animal welfare groups in the last 12 months, and now the racing industry is threatening to implode as wagering groups have gone to the Federal Court in a dispute over betting taxes.
Despite all the negatives, horse racing remains a popular pastime with racetrack attendances booming and betting turnover on the rise."As a nation, in general most of us do like to have a bet," Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said."It’s part of the very fabric of our society, it is an Australian way of life. I don’t think many people realise but in NSW there are more racetracks than post offices."Betting on the races isn’t affected by recessions or economic downturns because people still like the opportunity to try and win that little bit extra."It helps many people take their minds off the stress of everyday life."I think the big difference between having a bet on racing rather than the pokies is to find the right horse to back, you need to use your skills and intellect."A punter at the races should take into account all the variables to come up with a selection and that is part of the appeal."On the pokies, it is nothing more than random luck."
The concern for racing administrators like V’landys is whether the racing industry’s lifeblood, TAB betting revenues, can continue to sustain the sport if the turnover tax model favoured by Racing NSW is thrown out by the courts.
Many racing jurisdictions are struggling when it comes to attendance and handle , but that certainly wasn’t the case for the recently concluded 2009 Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne, Australia. Reports indicate betting records were set during this year’s event, with more than $1.57 billion wagered during the 50-day Spring Racing Carnival. In New South Wales, betting from September 30 to November 18, 2009 reached $839.59 million (up 6.3 per cent on last year) – an all-time record."We have delivered our best spring racing carnival operational performance on record, seamlessly processing tens of millions of transactions for the benefit of our customers and our racing industry partners," said Robert Nason, Tabcorp’s managing director of wagering. "This is a considerable achievement when you take into account that no wagering operator in the world processes the number of transactions Tabcorp does over a prolonged, high volume period such as the Spring Racing Carnival."

Sundsvall Open 8-29-09

Commander Crowe 2009 Sundsvall Open

The new Commander Crowe
A horse back in full form. A driver that gets it 100% right. A trainer whose instincts were correct. Three reasons Commander Crowe managed to take home the Sundsvall Open Trot today; the new Commander Crowe.
In front of a record crowd of 20.000 spectators at Bergsåker Commander Crowe performed at his very best; assisted by driver Peter Ingves performing at his very best. And then it had little importance that the opponents were the best trotters Sweden can muster; Torvald Palema, Triton Sund, Adrian Chip…today they looked small compared to The Commander. To the new Commander to put it more exact. His trainer Petri Puro felt something was missing in his star trotter and turned his work-out schedule upside down. After a break, before his comeback at Visby, before running a 1.10-mile at Tingsryd Petri declared that he had Commander Crowe back where he wanted him. Not so many training stints dragging a sulky, but many under saddle, that was Petri’s new recipe. And did it turn out right! A new confidence about him, a new quickness from start, and a stamina his critics lacked in his performances is easily detected in the new Commander Crowe.

Flawless Ingves

Today’s win – worth 100.000 Euros – turned out to be decided already in the start where driver Peter Ingves went flat out and was able to squeeze by Adrian Chip to get to the lead. Behind them a breaking Colombian Necktie created bother for drivers looking for position, but in the end it turned out really good for Åke Svanstedt behind Torvald Palema, who found second on the outside, behind Glen Kronos. 600meters from home Åke had to start his attack so that Torvald should not get locked in by those coming from behind. At that moment a battle began that lasted all the way up to the finish line. And not to give Torvald a chance to win this with his patented super-speed, Peter Ingves had already a lap from home put the pedal to the metal.
– He was absolutely great today, said Peter Ingves after the race.
– I hardly have the words for it…
– I mean, to beat Torvald Palema, who in my eyes is the best trotter in the world, in a fight mano-a-mano is really something.

It was a tough fight, two horses side by side down the home stretch, but it was evident that the race belonged to Commander Crowe from 50 meters left an in. Still Peter Ingves felt compelled to ask Åke Svanstedt after the finish line for the result of the race.
– Are you blind? Åke had to settle for 2nd-place with Adrian Chip finishing 3rd within a length of the winner.

Commander Crowe raced without his hind shoes this afternoon, and not shoeless as predicted. That means that there probably is one more gear to be found by Petri Puro when that day comes. Petri Puro, who btw was an absentee today – home, out with a bad back. But Petri, take it from the 20.000 that were there – you’re horse was great!