Top German filly Danedream signaled her readiness for a defense of her Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) title with a determined half-length victory over Ovambo Queen in the Longines-Grosser Preis von Baden (Ger-I) at Baden-Baden Sept. 2.
Danedream marked consecutive victories in the G.P. von Baden. The daughter of Lomitas used the race as a springboard to her powerful five-length romp in last year's edition of the Arc. Sunday's victory also provided Danedream with an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2 as part of the "Win and You're In" challenge series sponsored by the Breeders' Cup.
A field of seven lined up in the G.P. von Baden, with Danedream heavily favored to retain her title. Her stiffest competition appeared to be Pastorius, who was coming into the race off two straight group I wins. Ovambo Queen was looking for her first group I victory after having finished a close fourth to Meandre in the Grosser Preis von Berlin (Ger-I) in her last start.
Next Vision set the pace, leading the field at a steady gallop throughout the early stages of the race. Ovambo Queen and Danedream raced in tandem just behind the leader, with Pastorius settled toward the rear of the field.
Next Vision continued to hold a slight lead as the field rounded the turn and entered the home straight. Ovambo Queen and Danedream were both coiled to make their moves and they both swept past Next Vision as the field fanned out across the racecourse. Also right in the mix was Pastorius, who had charged from the back of the field to join the two fillies in a battle to the wire.
Through the final two furlongs the three battled it out, with Danedream on the inside rail, Ovambo Queen in the center, and Pastorius on the outside. It looked to be anyone's race, with Danedream digging deep under Andrasch Starke to edge clear nearing the wire.
Ovambo Queen held off Pastorius by a half-length to take second. It was another 2 1/2-lengths back to Novellist in fourth.
Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:36.23 over a good turf course.
After the race, Patrick Barbe, the racing manager for part owner Teruya Yoshida said, "We are very happy. The instructions were to not give the filly a hard race and Andrasch only gave her one crack of the whip to keep her straight.
"Although she has not won by a very big margin, she has won very easily and we look forward to Longchamp again."
Danedream is trained by Peter Schiergen for Yoshida and Gestut Burg Eberstein. She was bred in Germany by Gestut Brummerhof, and is out of the unraced Danehill mare Danedrop. She hails from the female family of group I winners Plumania, Groom Dancer, and Indian Rose.