American Post won the French 2,000 Guineas (Fr-I) Sunday at Longchamp, taking advantage of the bad luck suffered by Antonius Pius 75 yards from the finish in a most unusual conclusion.
Ridden by Jamie Spencer, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Antonius Pius appeared to have the Poule d'Essai des Poulains well in control, timing the move to take a one-length advantage 150 yards from the wire. Suddenly, the 3-year-old son of Danzig veered right, colliding with the rail and quickly slipping to fifth place.
American Post, who had every chance to claim victory under Richard Hughes in the final furlong but appeared to be beaten after being forwardly placed in the one-mile event, came to life when left on the lead by the mishap. The Juddmonte-bred son Bering registered his third group I score by a half-length over Diamond Green, who was unlucky to lose when hampered by the antics of the erratic Ballydoyle color-bearer. Godolphin's Byron was third, a neck farther back and just in front of Ershaad.
The result was another disappointment for the O'Brien crew in this year's major races so far. One Cool Cat beat only his pacesetter in the 2,000 Guineas (Ire-I) and Necklace was similarly left out in the 1,000 Guineas (Ire-I). Also on Sunday, Royal Tigress was last in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I).
"I'm gutted," Spencer told The Racing Post
. The rider was suspended for six days as well, when stewards ruled he had not done enough to keep his colt straight. "To lose a race like that is heartbreaking.
"He hit the rail so hard he's lucky he didn't turn over. I'm gutted because we've worked so hard with this horse and he's got serious ability – he had them stone dead."
O'Brien, while disappointed, was only slightly more so than winning trainer Criquette Head-Maarek.
"I was disappointed because he would have been second and he was beat," she said. The trainer blamed the fast ground and said she wait to make a decision the French Derby.
"He didn't really stretch like he can," Hughes said.
Gary Stevens, rider of Diamond Green, was also dissatisfied, saying, he'd have been "a sure winner if the incident hadn't happened."
The winning time was 1:36.5.