While last weekend was quiet in North America for horses being prepared for the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) preview day was held at Longchamp on the outskirts of Paris, Sept. 15.
The Prix Foy Gray d'Albion Barriere, for 4-year-olds and up, fell to Ecurie Wildenstein's hard-knocking Aquarelliste, last year's Prix de Diane (Fr-I, French Oaks) winner, who beat a field of five over 12 furlongs. Ridden by Dominique Boeuf, Aquarelliste proved one length better than Anabaa Blue with Falbrav a head away third.
Homebred Aquarelliste, which is French for someone who paints in watercolors, completed the "good to firm" course in 2:29. She will be pointed next for the Arc on Oct. 6, by trainer Elie Lellouche in which she finished second to Sakhee last year, and then the Turf or possibly the Filly & Mare Turf in Chicago.
The late Daniel Wildenstein, a power on the French turf for years, won the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in 1989 with Wayne Lukas-trained Steinlen, and four years later was responsible for the greatest upset in Breeders' Cup history when Arcangues, trained at Chantilly by Andre Fabre, took the Classic at Santa Anita.
Also on the Longchamp card last weekend was the Prix Niel Casino Barriere at 12 furlongs for three-year-olds and up. The Niarchos Family's Sulamani, who had taken the Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I, French Derby) earlier in the season for trainer Pascal Bary, dominated the small field of three runners, coming down by two lengths. The late Stavros Niarchos won back-to-back Breeders' Cup Miles in 1987/88 with the redoubtable Miesque, but the family has yet to win the Turf.
The World Thoroughbred Rankings for the Turf remained
unchanged after the weekend with Sulamani on 125 pounds, two pounds below leaders Golan and Grandera, both trained in Europe. Five of the top seven ranked horses are European-based with only Bobby Frankel-trained Beat Hollow and Jonathan Sheppard's With Anticipation, both on 125, breaking the stranglehold.
Beat Hollow has worked twice recently at Belmont Park, going a half-mile on Sept. 8 in :49.05 and coming back one week later to cover three furlongs in :36.45. Another Turf aspirant, Denon, went five furlongs at Belmont in 1:03.47, Sept. 9, and covered the same trip in 1:02.60 six days later.
The coming weekend again offers only limited action for horses heading for the Turf, notably the $300,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs over 12 furlongs for 3-year-olds and up, and the 9-furlong Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds the following day.