In this photo by Gerard Forni, Royal Dream trots to an upset victory over Ready Cash in the 1 million euro (about $1.3 million) Prix d'Amerique on Sunday afternoon in Paris, France. Royal Dream, an 8-year-old stallion by Love You, followed Ready Cash's moves and then trotted by his rival in the long homestretch at Hippodrome de Vincennes. The mile rate time for the race was 1:55.4.
Ready Cash, who was trying for his third straight Prix d'Amerique win, got away in the middle of the 18-horse field as Swedish drivers Orjan Kihlstrom and Lutfi Kolgjini, driving Maharajah and Raja Mirchi, respectively, battled each other in the opening quarter of the 2,700 meter distance race (about 1.67 miles). Their overly aggressive drives left their horses spent when Franck Nivard rushed Ready Cash up with about one-half mile still to be raced.
This year's Prix d'Amerique was promoted as a match between France and Sweden, as Sweden on paper had a good team with Maharajah looking for revenge, and strong Swedish contenders in the recent Tenor du Baune race winner Raja Mirchi, along with Noras Bean and Quercio du Chene, the latter with Swedish ace Bjorn Goop in the bike.
If the race had been a mile, the Swedes might have been together at the wire, but with the distance of the Prix d'Amerique, the Swedish trotters made one of the worst efforts in many years and all finished in the beaten field without a single euro to take home.
The French mare Roxane Griff was the early leader, but after a quarter Maharajah (Viking Kronos) was in the lead, since Orjan Kilhstrom had been more aggressive than usual, opening fast from the far outside. He did not park the challenging Raja Mirchi (Viking Kronos), who arrived after the half and was allowed to take command, but Kihlstrom also did not wait and re-took command. In the front group was also Noras Bean (Super Arnie).
The early fractions to the three-quarter mile and the five-eighths mile mark was around 1:54-speed, which is fast but should not have been "killing."
The field trotted up the hill on the Vincennes backstretch and the big favorite, Ready Cash (Indy de Vive), who had followed not too far behind Maharajah, then started his fast challenge and by the time they went into the last turn he had already circled the field. By now, all the Swedes were done.
Royal Dream, driven by Jean-Phillippe Dubois, son of famed French horseman Jean-Pierre Dubois, put his horse on Nivard's back and followed them until the homestretch.
Jean-Philippe Dubois took Royal Dream up on the outside of Ready Cash and he was able to take control immediately as Ready Cash started to be pacey and Nivard could not drive on him at all. He instead had to try to keep him flat, which he managed by great skill, but the judges still posted an inquiry on the double Prix d'Amerique-winner for being rough-gaited.
Ready Cash was permitted to keep the second while the American-pedigreed Main Wise As (Yankee Glide - Desert Flower K.) finished fast to third ahead of the longest shot in the field, Roxana de Barbray (Speed Clayettois) and The Best Madrik (Coktail Jet).
Click here or use the following link to watch the video of the race on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF48KvZzix8 --By Lars G. Palm