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Amateur Competition Still Up For Grabs

Published: May 28, 2017 2:19 pm ET

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Mickael Gilles Lemarchand, driving Be Cash Money, a son of Ready Cash, won the first of two legs of the French-American Friendship Trot over the 1,200-metre inner track at Hippodromo Argentan in Normany on Sunday, May 28.

Alan Schwartz led Team America to a second-place finish driving the Ready Cash filly Bety Du Goutier. Schwartz generously survived a judge's inquiry as the first try at a start resulted in a wild and crazy array of horses that caused a recall. Bob Davis' horse was scratched for not having his paperwork in order which negated all of two days of studying the program and viewing videos.

Jean Phillipe Bazire, cousin of the French very accomplished driver of the same name, did not disappoint the family name garnering a third-place finish.

Peter Kleinhans recovered from an early break to finish fourth, and Tony Ciuffetelli took the nickel. Joe Faraldo, also badly affected by the recall, was placed seventh with four horses of the 12 being disqualified.

The North American amateur drivers have the distinct honour of being the very first amateurs ever invited to France to compete against their counterparts.

“The French Le Trot placed us in the hands of three great hosts, Damien, Marie-Anh and Emmanuelle, who chauffeured us around,” Faraldo explained. “We were shown every hospitality from a brasserie in Trouville to restaurants in Arromanches and Caen.”

Monday is a free day in the City of Lights with a scheduled dinner cruise on the Siene under the watchful eye of the Tower Eiffel.

Tuesday's menu includes a visit to the famed training centre at Grosbois followed by an evening race, the Prix Iphigenia.

The French had much more to celebrate than their amateur victory, as the 10-year-old French-bred Timoko, who was barely bested in the return of the International Trot at Yonkers Raceway two years ago, won the Elitlopp on Sunday in Sweden. This is the last year that Timoko can race in France and hopefully the $1 million International at Yonkers on October14 will temp his connections to return for revenge.


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