From the "Countdown to the Breeders' Cup World Championships Newsletter"
Sunday’s $777,6000 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville will award an automatic berth into the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita. Under the enhanced conditions of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, the Le Marois winner will have its entry fees for the Mile paid for and the winning connections will receive $20,000 in travel expenses.
Run at about a mile, the le Marois figures to be led by Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Excelebration. The 4-year-old son of Exceed And Excel is 6-for-12 lifetime for trainer Aidan O’Brien and will appreciate getting out from Frankel’s daunting shadow, having finished second to that superstar in three of his past four starts.
Excelebration won the Gladness (Ire-III) at the Curragh in April in his seasonal debut then was second to Frankel in both the Lockhinge (Eng-I) at Newbury in May and Queen Anne (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June. He’ll look to add the Le Marois to a resume that also includes the Prix du Moulin (Fr-I) at Longchamp in 2011.
Stiff competition could come from Juddmonte Farm’s homebred Cityscape, who won Meydan’s Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) in March but has not hit the board in two subsequent starts. The 6-year-old son of Selkirk is 6-for-19 lifetime for trainer Roger Charlton and will cut back after running fourth in Sandown’s Coral Eclipse at about 1 1/4 miles July 7.
The le Marois could also include George Strawbridge’s homebred Moonlight Cloud, who won Sunday’s Maurice de Gheest (Fr-I) at Deauville and could wheel back on a weeks rest at Deauville. The 4-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirithas won 7-of-12 but made the biggest wave in a loss, when she was second, beaten just a head to the undefeated Black Caviar in Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee (Eng-I) in June.