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Filmmakers from France head to US to prepare for Hambletonian
Thursday, March 21, 2013 - by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

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Freehold, NJ --- With snow on the ground throughout much of the US, it’s hard to believe there are people getting ready for the Hambletonian on August 3. Not just trainers; filmmakers also, including Charles Bernard from France.

Filmakers from the French all equine network Equidia and White Bliss, an Art Major-Coochie Mama yearling, at Fair Winds Farm.

Bernard is a producer for Equidia, a network broadcast in every cafe and pub in France, showing horse sports around the clock. Bernard is producing a documentary for Equidia to promote the simulcast of the Hambletonian to the French pari-mutuel system PMU for the first time in 2013. In a country that bets almost $80 million on their own headline race, The Prix D’Amerique, there is reason to be optimistic for Hambletonian day handle.

"I’m making a 52 minute documentary about harness racing here in North America, so I’m trying to show the French audience breeders and the trainers like John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, Linda Toscano," said Bernard.

"We want them to discover what harness racing here is like. The film will be broadcast on Equidia just a week before the Hambletonian. We want the audience to be familiar with the people here and the business of trotting."

Bernard, along with videographer Bertrand Rube, has already visited trainer Jimmy Takter’s training center, along with Linda Toscano’s stable at Showplace Farm. He also traveled to Hanover Shoe Farms, Perretti Farms, Fair Winds Farm and the clinic of equine surgeon and Standardbred owner Dr. Patty Hogan.

USTA/Ellen Harvey photos
2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share gets a very close look at the camera. Trainer Linda Toscano is at right, producer Charles Bernard and videographer Bertrand Rube at left.

Bernard says that French breeding farms are not typically as big as many American farms.

"Perretti Farm is a wonderful place, huge," he said. "I talked with Anthony Perretti and that was quite interesting because they were working in the car business and then they turned to the horse business. They told me it’s not just a business, it’s a passion.

"They told me if you want to make money, you better work in the cars and then do the horses. It must be a passion wherever you are in the US or France, because it’s really hard to find money."

Bernard and his crew will spend the rest of the week visiting the Meadowlands, Yonkers and the Harness Racing Museum.

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