by Thomas Hedlund
The $997,700 Grand Prix d’Amérique is celebrating 100 years as an event. The first edition of one of the harness racing world’s most prestigious races took place in 1920, when Pro Patria crossed the wire as the first winner.
Many great trotters have written their special histories in the Prix d’Amérique throughout the years. The Levesque family’s super mare Rocquepine won the race three years in a row between 1966-1968, but she wasn’t the first horse that was that successful in Paris. Already in 1926, mare Uranie won her first out of three editions of the PdA and three or more wins in the race makes the particular horses immortal in the fans’ minds.
Ourasie was the king of the trotting world in the 1980s and the Jean Réné Gougeon trained chestnut trotter succeeded four times on the black track in Paris.
Varenne, by many fans considered the best trotter in the world, had his years in Paris in 2001 and 2002 and the Italian bred champion showed his different abilities by winning the mile race Elitloppet in Sweden the same years.
Since Varenne’s two victories, the Prix d’Amérique has been a story where the home country France has largely dominated, with three exceptions when Swedish-bred trotters won.
This year seems to similar to 2019, when Jean-Michel Bazire dominated in great style by winning paired with Belina Josselyn. Bazire has three horses in the race and his Davidson du Pont will most likely be the first choice when the 18 horses gather for the often tumultuous start.
Sébastien Guarato has one more weapon in his barn and his 5-year-old star Face Time Bourbon has attracted a lot of interest. The trotter has dominated among his crop brothers and sisters in Europe during two seasons ahead of this big objective.
The Prix d’Amérique is contested over 2,700 meters with a purse of 900,000 euros. The race is on at 4:10PM (CET) on Sunday (about 10:10 a.m. New York time).
Winners of Prix since 2000:
2000 — General du Pommeaux
2001 — Varenne
2002 — Varenne
2003 — Abano As
2004 — Kesaco Phedo
2005 — Jag de Bellouet
2006 — Gigant Neo
2007 — Offshore Dream
2008 — Offshore Dream
2009 — Meaulnes du Corta
2010 — Oyonnax
2011 — Ready Cash
2012 — Ready Cash
2013 — Royal Dream
2014 — Maharajah
2015 — Up And Quick
2016 — Bold Eagle
2017 — Bold Eagle
2018 — Readly Express
2019 — Belina Josselyn
Prix d’Amérique 2020
Horse (sire)– Driver (Trainer)
1. Excellent (Real de Lou) – Alexandre Abrivard (Laurent Claude Abrivard)
2. Chica de Joudes (Jag de Bellouet) – Alain Laurent
3. Looking Superb (Orlando Vici) – David Thomain (Jean-Michel Bazire)
4. Vivid Wise As (Yankee Glide) – Yoann Lebourgeois (Alessandro Gocciadoro)
5. Enino du Pommereux (Coktail Jet) – Matthieu Abrivard (Sylvain Roger)
6. Delia du Pommereux (Niky) – Sylvain Roger
7. Davidson du Pont (Pacha du Pont) – Frank Ouvrie (Jean-Michel Bazire)
8. Bahia Quenot (Scipion du Goutier) – Junior Guelpa
9. Face Time Bourbon (Ready Cash) – Björn Goop (Sébastien Guarato)
10. Milligan’s School (Yankee Glide) – Anthony Barrier (Stefan Melander)
11. Vitruvio (Adrian Chip) – Alessandro Gocciadoro (Alessandro Gocciadoro)
12. Uza Josselyn (Love You) – Pierre Vercruysse (Réné Aebischer)
13. Valko Jenilat (Kepler) – Paul-Philippe Ploquin (Sébastien Guarato)
14. Ringostarr Treb (Classic Photo) – Jean-Philippe Monclin (Jerry Riordan)
15. Billie de Montfort (Jasmin de Flore) – Gabriele Gelormini (Sébastien Guarato)
16. Belina Josselyn (Love You) – Jean-Michel Bazire
17. Propulsion (Muscle Hill) – Örjan Kihlström (Daniel Redén)
18. Bold Eagle (Ready Cash) – Eric Raffin (Sébastien Guarato)