01/27/2017 8:49AM

Harness: Bold Eagle eyes consecutive Prix d’Amerique wins on Sunday

JLL - Letrot
Bold Eagle won the 2016 Prix d'Amerique and looks to repeat this year.

As France’s biggest trotting race approaches, the owner of expected heavy favorite Bold Eagle is confident that his 6-year-old stallion can repeat his 2016 victory in the Prix d’Amerique at Vincennes.

“I love and respect most of Sunday’s runners,” said owner Pierre Pilarski. “We have often faced them and they all have different and specific qualities. But Bold Eagle has all the qualities. If the course is regular and without incident, he should win!”

If he is to repeat in the storied race, the son of Ready Cash – winner of 28 of 32 starts and close to $1.2 million Euros - will be required to defeat 17 foes over a distance of 2700 meters (1 11/16 miles). The bulky field battling for the biggest share of the $1 million Euros purse includes some horses that will be familiar to North American viewers.

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Propulsion, a 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill who raced out of the Tony Alagna barn in North America as a 3 and 4-year old, comes into the Prix d’Amerique off a second-place finish in the Group II Prix De Bretagne. Propulsion has done very well as an aged trotter in Europe, winning 11 of 17 starts and more than $628,000 Euros since shipping overseas.

Wild Honey, who capped off a sensational North American career in the fall of 2015 by defeating Mission Brief in both the Kentucky Filly Futurity and Breeders Crown, has won 6 of 10 starts since shipping overseas while racing mainly in Sweden.

The 5-year-old Cantab Hall mare won a race at a similar distance at Ekilstuna, Sweden in November, but Wild Honey is currently a 30-1 proposition on some European betting sites. Clearly, this will be the toughest test of her career to date.

Anna Mix, who won the Prix De Bretagne, is another that may give Bold Eagle something to think about on Sunday, having won three of her last four starts.

Last year’s second and third-place finishers, Timoko and Oasis Bi, are also expected to start Sunday. But it’s clear that all eyes will be on heavy favorite Bold Eagle as he looks to duplicate his great sire Ready Cash’s Prix d’Amerique double.

Pilarski noted that the two main objectives for 2017 are Sunday’s race and the Elitlopp, raced in Sweden at Solvalla in May.  “I will never have the chance to own another horse like Bold Eagle,” he exclaimed. “Our main objective is to give him the longest career possible by saving him as much as we can. We know we will not be able to win all of the races.”

As for North American race fans getting a chance to watch Bold Eagle race here in the International Trot at Yonkers, Breeders Crown, or any other top stakes event, don’t count on it anytime soon.

“I don’t think we will ever go to North America because the best older horses such as Nuncio are racing in Europe,” Pilarski explained. “Also, customs and quarantine are very dissuasive.”

Unless there is a change of heart, it appears the only way for those outside of Europe to see this great trotter race is via satellite as he looks to make another mark on history this Sunday.

$1,000,000 Euros Prix d'Amerique Field

1 Treasure Kronos Christopher Eriksson
2 Briac Dark David Thomain
3 Call Me Keeper Pierre Vercurysse
4 Propulsion Ôrjan Kihlström
5 Belina Josselyn Jean Michael Bazire
6 Lionel Matthieu Abrivard
7 Booster Winner Eric Raffin
8 Princess Grif Roberto Andreghetti
9 Anna Mix Mathieu Mottier
10 Bird Parker Jean-Philippe Monclin
11 Akim du Cap Vert Franck Anne
12 Wild Honey Gabriele Gelormini
13 Voltigeur du Myrt Lorenzo Donati
14 Oasis Bi Johnny Takter
15 Univers de Pan Philippe Daugeard
16 Tiego d’Ëtang Charles Bigeon
17 Bold Eagle Franck Nivard
18 Timoko Bjørn Goop