This Sunday, the $1,410,000 Prix d'Amerique will be contested at the Vincennes Racetrack outside of Paris, France. This 2,700 metres (1 2/3 mile) race is the biggest standardbred race of the French racing calendar and is always a well attended event with Eurpoe's best traditinally competing. Unlike American racing which is centered on younger horses; this race is limited to horses between the ages of four and ten; geldings need not apply. The last American winner was Moni Maker back in 1999.
Unlike North American races, there are unique qualifying standards to be able to race in the Prix. A horse must have earned at least $225,000 since January 1, 2009 with at least $43,000 of that amount earned in harness (in France, horses race in both harness and under saddle and it is not uncommon for trotters to race in both). Priority is given to the winners of the 2009 Crtierium and the 2010 Prix Ténor de Baune as well as the top four finishers (based on points) in a series of qualifying races which consist of the Prix de Bretagne, Prix du Bourbonnais, Prix de Bourgogne and Prix de Belgique. When determining the rest of the field, the highest adjusted money earners get to race (earnings are adjusted based on the age of the horse with the younger horses getting the biggest adustment).
An interesting fact is while the race is typically contested with a standing start, the race condition actually calls for the use of a starting gate when there are nine or less starters declared.
Due to the lack of North American participation in this year's edition, there has been little mention of the race. The race will be simulcast by the Meadowlands both on track and through their NJAW. First race on the simulcast program (a small number of the total races will be 9:40am EST).
Here is the replay of the 1999 Prix d'Amerique won by the super American mare, Moni Maker:
The official Prix d'Amerique website may be accessed here (a few of the pages have translation available).