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Dominique Boeuf and Lady Marian return after winning the 2008 Qatar Petroleum Prix de l'Opera (G1)
Although the big race of the day is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, it is just one of five Group 1 stakes on the card. Arc weekend to the Europeans is analogous to the Breeders' Cup Championships in America, with multiple divisions settling their year-end championships over 2 days. The other races on Sunday include the Prix de l'Opera at about 1 1/4 miles for the fillies and mares, the Prix de l'Abbaye at about 5 furlongs, the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Grand Criterium at about 7 furlongs for the juvenile colts, and the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches at about 1 mile for the juvenile fillies. All races on Arc day are contested over the "Grande Piste" turf course at Longchamp except the Prix de l'Abbaye which was run over the "Ligne Droite" or straight line course which bisects the infield. Rains during the day downgraded the course to "good-to-soft" or yielding, after Saturday's racing was conducted over a good course.
Lady Marian wins the Qatar Petroleum Prix de l'Opera (G1)
Winning jockey Dominique Boeuf said, "She's a real racehorse! After her good win in the Prix de la Nonette she has proved her significant talents. She's improved again and the race was like a walk in the park for her today. I am delighted with my association with Werner Baltromei as the horses in the stable are better and better year after year and I'll sign to be his partner for a next Group 1!"
Left: Lady Marian in the walking ring for the post race festivities. Winning trainer Walter Baltromei said, "For me, Dominique Bœuf is the best jockey in the world! We don't know the limits of this filly. We'll have to see how she comes out of the race but we'll think about the Breeders' Cup. I hope that she will stay in training next year."
Right: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Lush Lashes returns after the race. Her trainer Jim Bolger said, "She has a wound on the outside of her off foreleg and it must be very sore. We'll see how long the wound holds her up but if it is just superficial we'll think about races like Hong Kong."
Marchand D'or winner of the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp (G1)
When they did get underway officially at 5:30PM, 17 of the original 20 broke from the gate. 40-1 Captain Gerrard led for the first 3 furlongs, while stalked by 100-1 longshot Moorehouse Lad, then stopped badly when bothered at the 3/16 pole, allowing Moorehouse Lad to inherit the lead. 7-5 favorite Marchand D'Or, who sat in midpack early, came outside for running room and took over the lead with a furlong remaining, drawing clear to a 1 1/2 length win in 54.40 seconds. It was another length back from Moorehouse Lad to 15-2 Borderlescott third.
Sporting Life chart
Left: Marchand D'or after last year's Prix de la Foret. Winning jockey Davy Bonilla said, "The race unfolded as I had thought it would. Behind Equiano, we had a wonderful trip and despite a short flat moment. He responded alright when I urged him to go though. It is a shame for the record. We could have beaten that as I was free wheeling in the last 150 yards. I was not to keen on asking him anything more. The race was in the bag."
Winning trainer Freddy Head said, "I've never known a horse like him, going back to the great British sprinters over the years like Dayjur. I've never ridden a horse as quick myself either and he proved he can run in Group Ones from five to seven furlongs. We might well go to Hong Kong now if he is OK."
Right: Overdose "winning" the false start running. The undefeated Hungarian champ's trainer, Sandor Ribarszki, was quite upset and said, "I don't think we are going to run again. I am very very unhappy, we have come 1700km for nothing." The horse did wind up scratching when the race was re-run later in the day.
Jockey Davy Bonilla aboard Naaqoos taunts runner-up Milanais as he wins the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium)
Left: Naaqoos in the walking ring before the race. Winning jockey Davy Bonilla said, "He had got into the habit of breaking slowly from the stalls but today he jumped out and I went from being the jockey who was supposed to ride a waiting race to one who lead the field! He's moved up a category and no doubt still has progress to make. He's a very good colt who should make a horse for the Poule d'Essai des Poulains or 2000 Guineas next year."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. Winning trainer Freddy Head said, "The horse gets tougher in each race and he has made a lot of progress. I congratulate Davy Bonilla for the great ride he gave the horse as he was supposed to wait but the way the race turned out he found himself in front as the horse is very fast. He had the presence of mind to not stop him, and make the most of his speed. That's the sign of a great jockey."
Proportional winning the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches (G1)
Left: Proportional returns after the race. Winning trainer Cristianne Head-Maarek said, "I was convinced that she would win on her debut and I was disappointed in the Prix des Marettes where we did not understand what was asked of her. This did not diminish the respect that I have for her. Then I ran her over 7 furlongs at Chantilly to avoid any travel, but I knew that the distance was too short for her. I asked the Prince (owner Khalid Abdullah) to run her in this Fillies' Criterium and was convinced that she had a leading chance. She is bred to stay further and will now have a break. You will see her next year."
Right: Proportional heads out for the post parade. Winning jockey Stephane Pasquier said, "She showed more speed than in her first two outings and really accelerated well when I asked her. She was then very brave right to the end."
The three horse photo finish for the win in the 2008 Qatar Arabian World Cup. Lahib (outside horse of the first 3, green and yellow silks) was the winner.
Right: Lahib returns after the race.
On to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - the feature race of the weekend
On to the 6 Saturday stakes - including the Prix de la Foret, Prix du Cadran, Prix De Royallieu, Prix Chaudenay, Prix Daniel Wildenstein, and Prix Dollar
If you want to understand some of the differences between racing in North America and France, check here.
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