American sire lines in France
American sire lines in France
Written by Tina Brauti
Published in TIMES: In harness, The Almanac 2004

France is known for strict rules when registering trotters with American bloodlines. Tradition in France says that the French trotter is a French trotter and a different breed than the American Standardbred is, and the French authorities say that the French trotter must be preserved. For this reason very few horses has been exported from the USA to France. It did however happen in the 1920's with the stallions The Great McKinney and Sam Williams, then later in the 1930's with Calumet Delco. In the late 1970's, the Star's Pride son Florestan was allowed as a sire - because his dam was the great French mare Roquepine. As a result of Florestan's huge success in the French breed, the French Trotting Association (S.E.C.F.) agreed that a few selected US stallions could have a few foals registered in the French stud book each year from 1988 to 1992. Today the American sire lines are responsible for a big part of the French trotter.

The reason why some people consider the French trotter beeing different from the American Standardbred, is because their origins are different and that the French trotters have different physical characteristics. The traditional French sire lines go back to the Godolphin Arabian (in the early 1700s). "The French Hambletonian", Fuschia, and a few other important sire lines in the French trotter, descend from the Godolphin Arabian. Fuschia leads to both Fandango and Kerjacques, two of the most important sires in French trotting ever. The bloodlines of the French trotters also include more thoroughbred blood in the maternal lines when compared to the American Standardbred. The Hambletonian, the foundation sire of the American Standardbred, descends from the Darley Arabian (late 1600/1700's).

The fact that the French trotter is known for quite a few other characteristics than the American Standardbred is not a surprise when knowing the different origins of these horses. These characteristics include the fact that French trotters are later developed for speed, they race best over long distance races and their gait is less fluent. The French trotter has changed dramatically the last 10 - 15 years, after beeing mixed with US bloodlines. For this reason it is easy to understand why a mix of French and American blood has become so successful all over Europe. These horses combine early speed with power over long distance races, and their overall soundness is supposedly better. All the big Stakes for young European horses are raced over longer distances than one mile, and the last few years it has been proven that a mix of US and French bloodlines is almost a necessity to win the big Stakes - no matter what country in Europe is considered.

The Great McKinney and Sam Williams The two sires Sam Williams and The Great McKinney were both foals of 1922 in the USA. They were exported to France before the French stud book was closed for the first time - January 30th, 1937. Both sires made an immediate impact on the French trotter.

Sam Williams was a son of Peter Scott and out of the mare Blitzie (daughter of Walnut Hall, a grandson of Electioneer). He sired several siring sons in France, with Tamerlan and Mousko Williams beeing the most important. Mousko Williams later sired Horus L and Carioca II, with Carioca II developing some one of the most influental sire lines today.

Carioca II's sire lines should be well known in the US. His son Ura is grandsire of Ourasi that battled with Mack Lobell and Sugarcane Hanover in the March of Dimes at The Meadowlands, and another son, Narioca, is grandsire of Roosevelt International winner Ideal du Gazeau. In France, Carioca II's son Sabi Pas is now responsible for one of the most respected sire lines. This is mostly through his son Fakir du Vivier, but also other successful sons of Sabi Pas are Jet du Vivier, Hetre Vert and Kronos du Vivier. All these sires have several sons and grandsons representing them in the French breeding shed today. Fakir du Vivier may be best known in the US as broodmare sire to Victory Tilly, but in France his sons has had tremendous success and today his grandson Coktail Jet is a huge success as a stallion all over Europe.

The Great McKinney was a grandson of McKinney and out of a daughter by Peter the Great. He was exported to France in 1927, and sired two great sons with the French supermare Uraine: Kairos and Ogaden. In the US, McKinney was a late bloomer but had guts and soundness to go heat after heat, day after day. He also sired horses with these characteristics, and his sire lines have died in North America of natural causes. In France the offspring of Kairos and Ogaden matched perfectly with the French trotter, and these lines are known for giving the more elegant horses in France. Even in Sweden the McKinney sire line was of importance for a long time, but has died out today.

Kairos has been a success as a sire line builder and was grand sire to Pluvier III that won the Roosevelt International. Another grandson of Kairos, Nonant le Pin, is the sire of Buffet II who has several sons and grandsons in the French breeding shed today. Ogaden is grandsire of Caprior through the Prix d'Amerique winning son Feu Follet X. Caprior might be mostly known today as father to the great Dubois mare Nesmile (dam of Buvetier d'Aunou, Defi d'Aunou a.o.), but he also has several sons and grandsons among the French stallions. Another son of Ogaden was Luth Grandchamp - third sire to Quadrophenio that has made quite an impact with numerous sons in France as active stallions today. Quadrophenios son Caballio in Blue is the sire of Kesaco Phedo - the toughest contender against Kaisy Dream when these two champions were 3 and 4 years old.

Calumet Delco

This horse was foaled in 1929, and later exported to France. He was a son of Peter the Brewer, the beautiful son of Peter the Great and Zombrewer (granddam of Greyhound and Yankee Maid a.o.). Dam of Calumet Delco was Dillcisco - in the US mostly known as granddam to Star's Pride. Calumet Delco was owned in France by Monsieur Albert Veslard, the man that also owned the well known French stallion Gael.

As mentioned above, the French stud book was closed for blood outside of France for the first time January 30th 1937, and this became a problem for Mr Veslard. In 1937 his French stallion Gael had great fertility problems, but he still was registered as sire of several foals in 1938. Among these foals were the two important horses Quiproquo II and Quiroga II, and also the mare Quinauderie. Quiroga II went on to build an important sire line that is highly active today as well - mostly through his sons In Extremis (grandsire of Gazon), Jokai (grandsire to James Pile) and Mitsouko (sire of the great Hadol du Vivier but also other horses makes this line alive today).

The sires Quiproquo II and Quiroga II inherited different characteristics to their offspring, compared to what Gael was known for already. This was discussed for quite a while, and in 1992 the son of Albert Veslard made a public statement that the sire of the horses foaled in 1938 by Gael, was in fact by Calumet Delco. As there are no officially registered foals by Calumet Delco in the Stud Book du Trotteur Francais, his line doesn't officially exist, however its existence is commonly accepted in France where the leading trotting magazine, Trot Information, refers to this line as 'Lignee Calumet Delco'


There were quite a few people in France that were opposed to the fact that their idol Roquepine was bred to US stallions in 1970 and 1971. The French stud book was still closed at this time, and the two resulting foals had to be registered as bred in the US. These two colts were Florestan, foaled in 1971 by Star's Pride, and Granit, foaled in 1972 by Ayres. Both horses were shipped to France to be racehorses, but as they were registered as foreign bred horses, they had no races in France except for FFA races.

Florestan was a talented young horse, but racing a green horse against FFA competition is not a good recipe for making a good racehorse. It is said that this killed whatever chances Florestan had to be a Stakes winner, he had tons of ability. However, in 1977 it was made a decision to open the French stud book for foals by Florestan and his brother Granit, but only if these two horses became the property of the French National Stud.

Florestan made a huge impact on the French trotter. His siring sons are numerous, and the most successful ones are the great stallions Passionnant (grandsire to the promising young stallion Kinder Jet), Opus Dei, Podosis (sire of First de Retz, Gai Brilliant and Bonheur de Tillard a.o.) and Quito de Talonay (sire of the young champion Kitko and grandsire to the Dubois stallion Kaisy Dream).

Kimberland and Mickey Viking

The rules that made it possible for Florestan to be a sire in France were also taken into action regarding Kimberland, a horse foaled 1976 in the US. Kimberland was a son of Nevele Pride and out of the French mare Astrasia, and he was bred in the US by the legend Delvin Miller. In this respect it is interesting to note that Mr Miller also bred Big Lama, a 1962 foal by Jamie (son of Darnley) out of the French mare Lama. Big Lama made almost 55,000 USD before beeing exported to Sweden, and has been a tremendous success as a broodmare sire. The Swedish champion Copiad is his most known grandson.

Kimberland also had great success as a sire, and today he is represented with numerous grandsons in the French breeding shed. Some of these horses are Voici du Niel, Ulf d'Ombrée and Ustang de Mai.

The Nevele Pride blood has proven to be very good to cross with French mares also on other occasions. In 1986 the French stud book was again opened for the horse Mickey Viking - again under the conditions that he had to be sold to the French National Stud. Mickey Viking was bred in the US, and a foal of 1979. He was by the Nevele Pride-son Bonefish and out of the Songcan-mare Misty Sister. This makes Mickey Viking a brother to the multiple Stakes winner Newmarket and also Love Me Tender S - the dam of Constable. In 1986 Mickey Viking entered his French breeding career, after having raced in France and already owned in France.

Mickey Viking entered stud in 1986 but died in 1987. His limited oportunity did however make a huge impact on the French trotter. He has several siring sons, and his most famous is the French top sire Viking's Way.


Because Florestan had made such a big impact, and Mickey Viking's limited crops had such success, the French authorities decided it was time to buy another US stallion and bring to France. The French National Stud now bought the 2 year old champion Workaholic, by Speedy Crown out of Ah So (by Speedy Count). Workaholic entered French stud in 1989 and soon became the new champion sire in France. He now has numerous sons and grandsons as well, breeding the French mares. The filly that beat the colts in the Orsi Mangelli in Italy in 2002, Leda d'Occagnes, is by the Workaholic-son Cygnus d'Odyssée.

The French Stud Book opens slightly

In the beginning of the 1980's the French stud book was open a little for horses with Standardbred origins. It was agreed to that 10 French mares could be bred to selected Standardbred stallions (the best in the US and Europe) and the resulting foals will be registered in France. This gave us horses like Tarass Boulba (by Speedy Somolli) that became a hit as a sire, and Send me Flowers (mare by Super Bowl) that became the dam of the stallion Classic Rodney.

In the years 1988 to 1992, the French Stud Book were opened for limited opportunities after the French Trotting Association (SECF) and the USTA made an agreement. The agreement said that 10 French mares were to be bred in the US and 10 Standardbred mares were to be bred in France, and the resulting foals were to be registered in both Stud Books. In France, this deal made stallions such as Cezio Josselyn and Defi d'Aunou by Armbro Goal, Battling Joe by Speedy Crown, Big Prestige and Buvetier de Aunou by Royal Prestige and And Arifant by Sharif Di Iesolo. Each of these stallions have raised the speed in the French trotters and have several sons in French breeding shed today. Two exceptional daughters of Speedy Somolli were also a result of this agreement: Amour d'Aunou (dam of In Love With You and granddam of Love You - both promising sires in France today) and Amour d'Aunou that set a French record as a 3 year old in 1:58 and made almost 1 million Euros.

During this agreement, very few American breeders were interested in shipping mares to France to breed to French stallions. For this reason, a few Standardbred mares were shipped to France by French horsemen, and this resultet in a horse like Coktail Jet (out of the Super Bowl mare Speedy Sug) a.o.

Today it is the sire lines from Nevele Pride and Speedy Crown that has been most successful when crossed with the French trotter. The only sire in France from Super Bowl's sire line is Emil Suede by Napoletano. However, Super Bowl is broodmare sire to the huge success Coktail Jet. The Victory Song line is doing very well through Sharif de Iesolo (Italianbred grandson to Victory Song). In Europe Sharif di Iesolo is known as "Europe's Speedy Crown", and his son And Arifant in France has numerous sons and also grandsons breeding mares.

In 1993 the French stud book was again closed for regisering horses with Standardbred parents, but Workaholic is an exception. A few years ago, to preserve the origins of the French trotters, the decision was made that it is no longer allowed to register foals with both sire and dam of 50% Standardbred origins.