01/25/2015 11:50AM

Harness: Up And Quick Wins Prix d’Amerique

Kimberly Rinker/DRF Harness
Up And Quick leads the field through the stretch to win the Prix d'Amerique.

Up And Quick captured the 2015 Prix d’Amerique in come-from-behind fashion, taking home the winner’s share of the one million Euro prize money with him in front of an enthusiastic French crowd on a partly sunny Sunday afternoon.

Trained by M. Franck Leblanc, Up And Quick, one of the favorites in the 2,700-meter Grade 1 test, is owned by Ecurie Quick Star of France, and faced 17 other trotters to win the European classic.

“Capturing the Prix d’Amerique is more important to me than any other driver championship here in Europe,” said winning driver Jean Michel Bazire.  “I really knew that my horse was one of the best in the race, so I wasn’t worried about any of the other horses. Five hundred meters out, I knew I was the winner, my horse felt that strong. Tonight we’ll celebrate and then tomorrow it’s back to business as usual in the stable.”

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Unlike the mobile starts in North America, the Prix d’Amerique horses leave via a standing start after circling numerous times on the backstretch.  Mosaique Face, with Pierre Vercruysse aboard, took the early lead followed by Napoleon Bar (Enrico Bellei) and Solvato (OrjanKihlstrom). Up And Quick challenged first over, followed closely by 2014 Elitlopp winner Timoko and driver Bjorn Goop.

Maven, who had sat back for most of the journey, made a bold five-wide attack on the outside going through the final turn, but made an uncharacteristic break and was automatically disqualified.  On the front, Up And Quick took command away from the tiring Mosaique Face as longshot Voltigeur de Myrt (Gabriele Gelormin) came charging to nab second-place honors, a length behind the winner.  The hard-trying Timoko finished a solid third.

“The future of the horse is that now he’ll try for the Triple Crown of French racing,” said trainer Leblanc.

Up And Quick finished second to Maharajah in last year’s Prix d’Amerique, and all ten of his career victories have come over the Vincennes racetrack.  He had most of 2014 off to refresh (from Feb to Nov) and was considered one of the top contenders for today’s event.

It was the third Prix d’Amerique victory for driver Bazire, one of France’s leading trainer-drivers.

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