Another Round For Plouffe And French Wine

French Wine winning at Hoosier Park
Published: March 31, 2024 01:00 pm EDT

Will French Wine get better with age? Co-owner Daniel Plouffe is eager to find out.

Now four, French Wine made his seasonal qualifying debut on Saturday, March 30 at The Meadowlands for trainer Julie Miller to initiate a 2024 campaign that wasn't originally in the cards. 

The millionaire son of Bar Hopping — a $120,000 yearling purchase — was supposed to be at stud in Ohio this season, but when fertility tests came up sterile, the plan changed.

"His season should start in Kentucky in April. There are series there for Kentucky-breds. The four-year-old season can be the hardest one because you're up against seasoned older horses so we'll try to manage him, see how it goes. I saw him about a month and a half ago, he's grown. He's a good racehorse, very sound, and can race from the front or back," said Plouffe, owner of eight grocery stores in Quebec's Eastern Townships and shares in about 40 Standardbreds and the same number of Thoroughbreds. They include French Wine's half-sister by Muscle Hill, French Cafe, a $250,000 auction yearling co-owned with breeder Marvin Katz.

Though overshadowed by division champion Tactical Approach at three, French Wine did beat that horse in a Kentucky Sires Stakes in a career-best 1:50 and was just nipped by him in the $450,000 Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile after an outside trip.

That was the race that most impressed Plouffe, whose son Jean-Christophe also is a co-owner.

French Wine is the latest in a string of millionaire racehorses for Plouffe, who's been active in Standardbred racing for decades. He also had stakes in Blissfull Hall, Courtly Choice, Rockyroad Hanover, Marnie Hall and Boudoir Hanover (recently sold, along with sister Bellissima Hanover, as broodmare prospects).

On the Thoroughbred side, Plouffe still retains a share in Canadian supermare Moira, who won the $1 million Queen's Plate in 2022 at Woodbine and came within a length of capturing the $2 million Breeders' Cup Fillies and Mares Turf last year at Santa Anita. She went through the auction ring last fall, but the ownership group bought her back at $3 million USD.

"Our feeling was that her value shouldn't dip much below that even if she has an ordinary year in 2024, but could go higher if she were to win one or two Grade 1 [stakes]. She raced great in the Breeders' Cup and the two horses who finished ahead of her [Inspiral and Warm Heart] aren't coming back," Plouffe said.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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