Outsider Lucayan surged past Veneto in the final strides to win the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French Two Thousand Guineas, Fr-I) by a short neck at Longchamp May 13.
The race was marred by the death of the third-place finisher, Furner's Green, who broke his right front leg just past the finish line. The accident catapulted jockey Joseph O’Brien to the ground, but the talented young rider was unhurt.
A field of 12 went to the post in the Poulains, led by champion 2-year-old Dabirsim, who was sent off the heavy 4-5 favorite. The son of Hat Trick was seeking to get back on the winning track after a falling a head short of victory in the Prix de Fontainebleau (Fr-III) April 15. That had been the first loss for Dabirsim, who had won his previous five starts.
Lucayan, a 3-year-old colt by Turtle Bowl, was dismissed by the bettors at 27-1, despite having won the listed Prix FBA-Aymeri De Mauleon last time out and sporting a record of two wins and two second-place finishes in four lifetime starts.
Veneto broke alertly and went straight to the front. The chestnut colt was allowed to set a steady pace under Thierry Thulliez, and the duo led the field comfortably through the early stages of the race. They were tracked closely by Vault and Amaron, as Christophe Soumillon attempted to settle a rank Dabirsim in midfield. Furner’s Green and Dragon Pulse, who had defeated Dabirsim last time out, were content to race toward the rear of the field.
Veneto continued to lead with just over two furlongs left to run, but the rest of the field began to close in. It suddenly became a mad dash for the wire, with most of the field bunched closely amid heavy traffic.
Soumillon set Dabirsim down for the drive only to have to take up suddenly to avoid clipping heels. The pair quickly got going again, but the damage had been done and Dabirsim would have to settle for sixth.
Lucayan burst from the pack under Stephanie Pasquier to take a short lead over Veneto, who was refusing to throw in the towel despite having led the entire way. Furner’s Green finally broke free of traffic but was unable to catch the leaders and had to settle for third.
At the wire it was Lucayan by a short neck over Veneto, with Furner’s Green just another short neck back in third. It was a blanket finish for most of the field, with only about 3 1/2 lengths covering the first 10 runners.
Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:37.11 over a course listed as good to soft.
Francois Rohaut, who trains Lucayan for owners A. Mouknass and Pandora Stud, told reporters after the race, “I always believed he was capable of winning this.”
“The others were unlucky on the inside, but that is racing,” Rohaut continued. “Two years ago we lost this race, today we won it. He is very good horse and there is still more to come.”
Lucayan was bred in France by J.P. Columbu, and is out of the winning Grand Lodge mare, La Vltava.