Was Bazire right to leave Jushua Tree out of today’s Prix d’Amerique?

The talented 5-year-old dominated the $340,000 Prix Bold Eagle on Saturday at Vincennes, making some wonder if the famed horseman should have aimed higher this year.

by Thomas Hedlund

Jean-Michel Bazire chose to let his top 5-year-old Jushua Tree (Bold Eagle) stand in the stall when the Prix d’Amérique goes at Vincennes today (Jan. 28). Instead of claiming his place in the PdA, Bazire opted for Saturday’s (Jan. 27) $340,000 Prix Bold Eagle for 5-year-olds and the big favorite proved best among several strong crop siblings.

Jushua Tree found a spot third over while the leader J’Aime le Foot defended his position in front when outside trotter Josh Power asked a timid question for an overtake. The two front horses kept the pace going and Jushua Tree’s attack three wide became more a road of transport than a serious attack. Three horses entered the home stretch three across the track, but it would soon be clear that Jushua Tree was the best horse this day. The best J-horse in the French crop danced to a safe victory, without shoes for the first time in his career, and won in a mile rate of 1:56.2 over 1.6 miles.

Replay here.

Italian-bred Dimitri Ferm finished well as the runner-up and quick-opener Justin Bold claimed third place.

Was it the right decision to pass on the Prix d’Amérique for Jushua Tree? Yes, probably. Bazire knows what he’s doing and Jushua Tree is 5 years old. The Prix d’Amérique will be back in 2025 and another year means more merits and more muscles. The Bold Eagle son will be France’s big hope next year and by winning Saturday’s Prix Bold Eagle, he painted the already nice Prix d’Amérique weekend’s picture in the most beautiful of colors.

Meanwhile, the $340,000 Prix Ourasi was quite a race.

Four-year-old trotters battled and the fans at Vincennes got plenty of bang for their buck. Favorite Koctel du Dain did not make it gait-wise in the initial part of the race, but was eventually sent to the lead as the field turned into the flat part of the track, after the long stretch in front of the grandstand. Koctel du Dain got company on the outside from King Opera and in third over Kana de Beylev saved her speed for the finish.

Koctel du Dain struggled with his gait when the field was in the last turn and he couldn’t hold his trot all the way as he made a break with a quarter of a mile to go.

The race was then open for anything to happen and that played out in the home stretch. Horses were all over the track with five, six of them with a chance to win. Not many could have foreseen that Sébastien Guarato’s Krack Time Atout (Face Time Bourbon) would be the winner when 300 meters remained. Far, far outside, almost in the audience’s area, Paul-Philippe Ploquin attacked with Krack Time Atout and the winner of the 2023 $340,000 Criterium des 3 ans claimed another big win at Vincennes as he hit the wire first in a mile rate of 1:56 over 1.6 miles.


Ksar finished second while Karlito and Katinka du Mouchel shared the bronze medal in a dead heat.

Trainer William Bigeon has his horses in great shape when he races at Vincennes and for the moment, his younger trotters have reach high levels. In the $160,000 Prix Roquepine for 3-year-old fillies, Bigeon’s Louisiane de Bomo (Ready Cash) proved best paired with Benjamin Rochard.

Louisiane de Bomo got cover three wide throughout the last turn after a third over trip and when the field turned into the stretch, Louisiane de Bomo accelerated and sprinted to a seemingly outstanding win. But far outside, longshot Little Star Fleury (136-1) flew and approached the leader as the wire got close. The nose first at the wire was Louisiane de Bomo’s, who came home in a mile rate of 2:00.2 over 1.6 miles.

Replay here.

The 3-year-old colts had the $160,000 Prix Paul Viel as their objective this weekend and Jocelyn Robert-trained Lovino Bello (Village Mystic) was served the perfect trip by Eric Raffin. Second over, covered by first over trotter Lemon Tree proved to be the winning tactics as the bettors’ choice Luciano Menuet was stuck behind leader Little Brown. Raffin had his eyes on the favorite on his inside and didn’t attack three wide until the top of the stretch. Lemon Tree had the advantage for a while and attacking horses on the outside approached quickly as the wire got closer. Raffin then let Lovino Bello speed between horses and the victory became safe in a mile rate of 2:00.1 over 1.6 miles.

Replay here.

Lombok Jiel finished strongly as the runner up ahead of Lemon Tree.

Matthieu Abrivard had two strong cards in his hands when the $125,000 Prix du Luxembourg, over 2,100 meters, was held at Vincennes on Saturday’s card. With Gaspar de Brion, he used optimistic tactics, aiming for the lead after 600 meters. At that point, the favorite Ganay de Banville had been pushed to the lead as early leader Missle Hill very much wanted a cover trip on the inside.

Abrivard’s second horse in the race, Face Time (Coktail Jet), driven by Gabriele Gelormini from the second line behind the gate, started the attack three wide on the backstretch and in the last turn, Face Time challenged new leader Ganay de Banville seriously.

Face Time fought well and succeeded in keeping favorite Ganay de Banville behind him at the wire. After quite an unlucky trip, Missle Hill finished strongly to be third on the inside.


The mile rate for winner Face Time was 1:53.2.


The 2024 Prix d’Amérique is here and Paris is the place to be for all European harness racing fans. After yesterday’s sparkling show at Vincennes, it’s now time for the very best older trotters to compete in front of the large crowd at the Paris track’s grandstand.

And what can the fans expect to see when the race gets underway at 4:20 p.m. Paris time (10:20 a.m. ET).

The crowd, at least a big part of the crowd, will keep their fingers crossed for the Duvaldestin stable’s Idao de Tillard, who is mentioned as the new Face Time Bourbon or Bold Eagle. Idao de Tillard is maybe not on the same level as them yet, but the trotter is a ”crack,” a star who probably would adapt to any kind of racing conditions all over the world. With that said, he should be the horse to beat in today’s Prix d’Amérique.

There are 17 challengers though and at least 10 of them are still hungry for a win in one of the toughest races in the world and there is no room for mistakes in the bike for Clément Duvaldestin.

A highly non-professional prediction regarding how the race will develop looks like this: Idao de Tillard will make a quick start, aiming for a position as third, fourth on the outside, while Izoard Vedaquais will be sent to the lead after a quarter of a mile. If that happens, and Izoard Vedaquais hits the lead, the race can be locked in for a kilometer. Drivers at Vincennes are well aware of Izoard Vedaquais’ ability to race in the front, in high pace, so the probable moves from behind will come on the backstretch, just before the uphill part of the track begins.

So where do we find the winner? My winner is Ampia Mede Sm and for her to go all the way, Franck Nivard needs to find the magical road to success, which he is very well capable of doing. If Ampia Mede Sm gets her cover trip, let’s say until the last turn, her speed can make checkmate with the opponents, without a doubt.

Off course, Idao de Tillard will be hard to beat if he gets the race where he’s most efficient, but today can be the day when trainer Fabrice Souloy claims his first win in his country’s biggest race.

Program: here.

Watch the racehere.