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2006 Pre-Arc Saturday at Longchamp

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates with the trophy for the Prix del la Foret Casino Barriere De Biarritz (group 1) won by Caradak
Date: 09/30/2006

The highlight of the fall racing season in Europe is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Arc is always run on the first Sunday in October, but there are important stakes races over the entire weekend. It is likely that several of the participants at Longchamp this weekend will ship across the Atlantic to Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup. Despite rains earlier in the week, sunny skies on Friday helped dry the course back to a rating of "good", ideal conditions for European-style racing. Kicking off the Arc festivities was the Saturday card, which included five Group stakes events.

Caradak gets the win in the Prix de la Foret by a neck over Welsh Emperor and Linngari

The highlight race on Saturday was the 250,000-euro Prix de la Foret (G1), a 1400-meter (about 7 furlong) sprint over the "nouvelle piste" course for older horses. 4-1 shot Caradak stalked the early pace of 55-1 Welsh Emperor and 23-1 Linngari around the far turn. Through the stretch, jockey Frankie Dettori asked Caradak for run and got it, taking a short lead at the 1/8 pole and holding off the stubborn pacesetters to win by a neck in a time of 1:20.90. The pacesetting Welsh Emperor and Linngari finished in a dead heat for second, while it was 3/4 length back to 5-2 favorite Stormy River in third.
Results chart with a link to the photo finish shot

A smiling Frankie Dettori comes back after the race aboard Caradak. Simon Crisford, racing manager of winning owner Godolphin said "We're doing well in France this year! He really deserved this victory. He's a better horse over a mile and was given a beautiful ride by Frankie. We will have to think about the Breeder's Cup Mile but we also have Librettist for that race. He looks as though he could be right sort for the Hong Kong Mile. He's been trading at the top level for two seasons now and we're very pleased with him." Jockey Frankie Dettori added, "Despite a bad draw for this course (post 11) we quickly took a good position, which was a good thing considering the lack of pace. He's a tough horse and has confirmed his ability."

Vendangeur on the outside holds off Ponte Tresa to win the Prix Chaudenay Casino Barriere De Menton

The rest of the stakes races on Saturday were all Group 2 events with purses of 130,000 euros each. The first of these was the Prix Chaudenay, a 3000-meter (about 1 7/8 mile) marathon over the "moyenne piste" course for 3-year-olds. 69-10 shot Gravitas led the field the first lap of the course while heavy 2-5 favorite Getaway was shuffled to the back at the start and raced in seventh early. The rest of the field settled just a few lengths off the pace biding their time and saving energy for the stretch run. Entering the lane, Gravitas continued to lead but 7-1 Vendangeur, who was 5th after the first mile, was asked by jockey Stephane Pasquier and he responded, gaining ground well and taking over the lead at the 3/16 pole. 37-1 longshot Ponte Tresa challenged for the lead inside the 1/16 pole but Vendangeur held him off in the final strides to prevail by a head in a time of 3:09.90. It was 1/2 a length back to the late-running favorite Getaway who was left with too much to do late.
Results chart with a link to the photo finish shot

Vendangeur returns after winning the Prix Chaudenay. Winning trainer Elie Lellouche said, "It's a long-awaited and much-deserved victory. Stephane rode a great race. This horse has still got potential and he will probably stay in training next year." Jockey Stephane Pasquier added, "I decided to push the button early in the straight because I have always believed that when horses are coming into the straight you should go for it immediately. The horse has got great acceleration and he displayed that today."

Montare gets the nod on the outside over Lahudood in the Prix De Royallieu Hotel Hermitage Barriere

The Prix de Royallieu featured older fillies and mares going 1 9/16 miles over the "grande piste" course. 66-1 longest shot Rising Cross led the field down the backstretch while 23-10 favorite Montare was unhurried at the back of the pack under jockey Olivier Peslier. Rising Cross led the procession into the stretch, but 4-1 shot Lahudood, who stalked the pace the whole way, took over the lead at the 1/4 pole. Montare was just getting into her best stride and was closing on the outside. The pair battled over the final furlong but Montare got up in the last strides to win by a head in 2:39.50. It was a length back to 20-1 Alix Road in third.
Results chart with a link to the photo finish shot

Montare returns after the race. Winning jockey Olivier Peslier said, "She hardly does a thing in training. From riding her in the morning, there is no way you could guess that she could run at this level. I was told how good she is and I've been able to see for myself twice already. She was more outpaced than last time but responded when I asked her to accelerate. Once she had taken advantage she stopped, no doubt thinking that the race was over. The winning post arrived in time. As I had received a fine for whip abuse in the previous race, I stopped using my whip a little early."

Echo of Light wins the Prix Daniel Wildenstein Castel Marie-louise De La Baule over Picaresque Coat

The Prix Daniel Wildenstein featured older horses going 1600 meters (about 1 mile) on the "Grande Piste" course. 53-1 longshot Notability took the lead right out of the gate and set the pace for the first half mile while being stalked by 10-1 Picaresque Coat and 4-5 favorite Echo of Light. Entering the stretch, Picaresque Coat took over as the pacesetter dropped from contention, and held the lead through mid-stretch. Frankie Dettori switched Echo of Light to the outside, made his bid for the lead at the 3/16 pole, and drew off through the stretch despite bearing out in the final 1/16 to win by 2 lengths over Picaresque Coat in a time of 1:37.00. It was 3/4 length back to 62-1 longest shot Hello Sunday in third.
Results chart with a link to the photo finish shot

Echo of Light returns after the race. Simon Crisford, racing manager of winning owner Godolphin said, "He's a very talented colt who has taken a long time to grow into his frame. He is still babyish. He is getting better with every race. He settled in well behind today. Frankie is sure that he's better on a left handed track than a right handed track. He'll stay in training next year. He's very powerful and is a son of Dubai Millennium so is an apple of our eye. He was always the favorite of Sheik Mohammed when he bought him as a yearling. We have won five out of five races in France this year and I don't think we'll be running many more."

Soldier Hollow wins the Prix Dollar Casino Barriere De Montreux over Manduro

Closing out the stakes action on Saturday was the Prix Dollar for older horses at 1950 meters (about 1 3/16 miles) on the "Grande Piste" course. 15-1 longshot Boris de Deauville lead the field for the first mile while being stalked by 7-2 Soldier Hollow and 4-1 Touch of Land. Entering the stretch, jockey Olivier Peslier asked Soldier Hollow for run, as the second choice surged to the lead at the 1/4 pole. Through the stretch, 9-10 favorite Manduro, who had raced in mid-pack early, came on strong but Soldier Hollow had something left in the tank, holding him off in the final strides to prevail by a neck in 1:59.40. It was a long 2 1/2 lengths back to pacesetter Boris de Deauville in third.
Results chart with a link to the photo finish shot

Soldier Hollow, who was third in the Arlington Million last out, in the "rond de presentation" or walking ring before the race. Winning owner Helmut von Finck said, "It was very hard to beat Manduro, but he's a real fighter and gave everything today. This is my first Group I win in France. It is fantastic to win here on Arc weekend. He might go for the Champion Stakes or the Premio Roma (on Nov 2 in Italy), which he's already won," Winning jockey Olivier Peslier added, "We had a good position in second all the way and my horse was very relaxed. I let him go early on, entering the straight. He never slowed down." Christophe Soumillon aboard beaten favorite Manduro said, "Once again, he finishes like a train but unlucky in running, he was too late. We had a bad draw (the rail) in a slowly run race. We just could not make it."

If you want to understand some of the differences between racing in North America and France, check here.

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