One of the mares in the race, Private Love, has been in “Amerique” prep races wearing shoes. Three races back, she won at 24-1, without shoes, defeating three a number of Jan. 29’s Amérique contenders.
Thirteen races back, 11 months ago, “Love” defeated four of the Prix d'Amérique contenders at 15-1 without shoes. Among them is last year’s 172-1 winner Oyonnax.
Second to Oynonnax last year was Quaker Jet. His last five wins were accomplished without wearing shoes. His most recent five races are all losses (making him an outsider in the 2011 Amerique). In those losses he wore shoes.
Last year in this event he went off at 107-1. On Jan. 29, “Jet” will be shoeless.
Also, there is a big driver change on Jet. Last year, Vercruysse, who is a 5-percent-winning driver, handled the horse. This year his trainer, Jean-Etienne Dubois, guides him.
Dubois, who wins at a 10-percent clip, is the same Dubois who was connected to owner/breeder Daniel Wilderstein, who won the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Classic with the ill-fated Arcangues (R-Kong, pictured left winning 'Classic.').
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