Rain could not stop Sweden’s Maharajah from winning one of the most prestigious trotting races in the world, the Prix d’Amerique, on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 26) over a sloppy track at Vincennes.
After a pocket ride, driver Ôrjan Kihlström found racing room going into the stretch and went around leader Up and Quick, driven by Jean Michel Bazire.
Maharajah won by a length and was timed in 1:58 (mile rate). The purse for the winner was $615,000.
This was the fourth time Maharajah has raced in the Prix d’Amerique; the first time he finished second, then fourth and last year he was unplaced.
|Rebekah Mae Photography|
|Maharajah's breeder, Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, toasts a triumphant Prix d'Amerique victory with SOA of NY vice president Peter Venaglia and SOA of NY president and CEO and USTA director Joe Faraldo.|
"We got a nice trip behind Up and Quick, but of course I had some anxious moments around the last corner, as we were boxed in and my horse felt very strong," Ôrjan Kihlström said. "But as Ready Cash went offstride, we got racing room and I had plenty of gas in the tank."
Maharajah is trained by Stefan Hultman and is owned by The Travkompaniet, a company with more than 4,000 stockholders.
Maharajah was bred and raised by Hambletonian Socitey director Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg and is sired by Viking Kronos and out of a Giant Chill mare. Maharajah is now the winner of more than $3.2 million in his career.
Ready Cash, who went offstride going around the last corner, was disqualified and placed last. The defending champion, Royal Dream, finished seventh.
Maharajah paid 9-1 to win and was the third favorite. Maharajah has won 38 races from 51 starts and has earnings of $3.2 million. He has been at stud and his first crop of 77 foals were born last year. He stands at Menhammar Stud, where he was born. That’s very convenient as his trainer Stefan Hultman trains from the stud farm, too. The stud fee is $10,000.
To watch a replay of the race, click here.
A total of 33,508 trotting fans from all over the world attended the race. That’s 8,000 more than were at Solvalla for the Elitlopp in late May.
Despite the huge crowd only $2.5 million was wagered at the track; that was 3.1 percent down from last year and the total handle on the day in the PMU (the French betting company) was $52.8 million inclusive, betting on races at Cagnes sur Mer and St Galmier. However, $52.8 million was down 2.1 percent from last year.
After many years where the handle on French horse racing just went up, a decline started last year as Sports betting and Poker were allowed.