by Thomas Hedlund
Today is the day that European racing fans have waited for the entire winter.
The Prix d’Amérique goes this afternoon (Jan. 30) at Vincennes (4:20 p.m. CET time). The race will go off at 10:20 a.m. Eastern time in North America.
This year’s tilt has developed into an unusually open race where, basically, 10-15 of the 18-horse field can win.
Yet, it seems like Richard Westerink’s Etonnant will be the first choice in today’s race. The son of Timoko has showed great qualities required for a tough race like the Prix d’Amérique and Westerink lives with the hope that Etonnant can manage to do what Timoko never did in six attempts.
“Etonnant is fast and tough but he lacks the ability to accelerate explosively. On the other hand, we have a driver (Anthony Barrier) who suits the horse very well. I tried to win the Prix d’Amérique six years with Timoko and even if I had him in 120 per cent form, we never won, so I know it’s difficult. I look forward to (today’s) race and we have a shot since Face Time Bourbon is out of the game,” Westerink said in an interview on Saturday afternoon.
Etonnant will, first and foremost, have to face an armada of Jean-Michel Bazire-trained horses since the Bazire family have four participants in this year’s Prix d’Amérique.
Program for Vincennes:
Some facts about the race:
Watch it live:
There should be a link to watch the race live in the top right corner of the LeTROT page here:
It is possible the race can also be viewed here:
Elie de Beaufour best in Luxembourg
Bazire-trained Elie de Baufour dominated the $115,000 Prix du Luxembourg when the 2002 Vincennes’ Prix d’Amérique meeting began Saturday (Jan. 29) afternoon.
The Prix du Luxembourg is open to geldings, which is not the case for most of the high-staked races in Paris, and Jean-Michel Bazire obviously had aimed for this objective with his strong 8-year-old, who now has won 25 of 35 career starts.
Elie de Beaufour didn’t get anything for free in Saturday’s race. A three-wide opening in a high pace ended with a second over trip for a short while before Bazire targeted the lead as the uphill portion of the race ended at the backstretch. Elie de Beaufour (Royal Dream) held attacking opponents behind him by a length over the stretch and the gelding came home in a mile rate of 1:53.1 over 1.3 miles.
Eric Raffin drove Tomas Malmqvist’s Jazzy Perrine (Django Riff) in the $135,000 Prix Roquepine for 3-year-old fillies and the duo left the rest of the field behind with 250 meters to go after a perfect pocket trip. The mile rate was 2:01.2 over 1.6 miles.
Jazzy Perrine claimed the $135,000 Prix Gelinotte three weeks ago at Vincennes and for the moment she is dominating among the French-bred 3-year-old fillies.
Italian-bred Deus Zack (Victor Gio), trained by Sébastien Guarato and driven by Matthieu Abrivard, claimed the trophy in the $135,000 Prix Paul Viel for 3-year-old colts. Abrivard found a pocket trip and attacked three wide at the top of the stretch. Deus Zack got advantage shortly ahead of the finish and came home in a mile rate of 2:00.3 over 1.6 miles.
Heavy favorite Just A Gigolo went off stride 100 meters into the race and was disqualified.