Lope De Vega Rolls to Victory in French Derby

Lope De Vega romped to an easy three-length win in the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I).

Lope De Vega made it a French classic double by romping to an easy three-length victory in the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I) at Chantilly June 6. The French Derby triumph followed up his earlier win in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, or French Two Thousand Guineas (Fr-I), May 16.

Lope De Vega was the last of the 22 runners to load, but was away sharply as Vivre Libre shot to the front to set the pace. Jockey Maxime Guyon quickly placed Lope De Vega in a prominent position just behind the leader as the bulk of the runners scrambled for contention.

Lope De Vega continued to track the leader until they entered the sweeping turn toward home. Guyon moved his hands slightly, and with that, Lope De Vega cruised easily to the front and kicked away from the field as they entered the straightaway. The pair continued to widen their lead on the remainder of the field, crossing the wire well in front while easing up.

Planteur got up for second, three-quarters of a length in front of Pain Perdu. Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:07.10 on the soft going.

Viscount Nelson, one of two Aidan O’Brien-trained runners, could do no better than fifth, while his stablemate and race favorite, Cape Blanco, never was a factor and finished 10th.

Winning trainer Andre Fabre admitted to reporters after the race he had been a bit concerned about whether or not Lope De Vega could get the distance.

“I had a doubt about him staying, he is from a Machiavellian family, so there was a question mark there,” Fabre said. “I am tempted to drop him back to a mile for the (Prix Jacques Le) Marois (Fr-I, in August). There is a little doubt (about his stamina), so it is better to run over too short than too far.”

Bred in Ireland by his owner, Gestut Ammerland, Lope De Vega is by Shamardal, who captured the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I) in 2005.  He is out of the stakes-winning Vettori mare Lady Vettori, and hails from the immediate family of graded stakes winners Lady Blessington and Gotta Have Her.