Since 1879 the Parc de Vincennes track, five miles east of Paris, has been the focus of French trotting (see following pages). Such big events as the Prix d'Amérique bring out 50,000 spectators and, in ceremonial splendor, the helmeted Garde Républicaine (above) as a guard of honor. France is the only major country where there are two different styles of trotting races. On each day's program there are races in which drivers ride in sulkies behind the horses, and others in which riders are mounted on their horses (a technique abandoned in the U.S. around the turn of the century). French trotting blood, rich in staying power after years of breeding for distance racing, is now dominant in Europe, and the recent successes of horses like Jamin and Masina have attracted breeders from all over the world.
Between races, bettors crowd the main hall at Vincennes, a spacious, balconied room completely different from the wholly functional $2-window areas at U.S. race tracks
Trotting to saddle demands enormous stamina and obviously affords no more protection from flying mud than riding in a sulky
The wide track allows for larger fields than are normal in the U.S. Here patrol judges in a car watch trotters turn for home
April 17, 1961
A trotter returning to his stable wears bright-colored earmuffs, often used in France to cut down the noise of crowds