With the running of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday,
all races that could be considered prep races for the Breeders' Cup Turf
now been run. I think that I can hear some racing fans chortle and say, ‘The Arc
isn’t a prep race for anything, that the Arc is the Arc, one of the great
racing events in the world.’
I can’t argue with the fact that the Arc is a stellar race.
It is run at Longchamp, one of Europe’s most glamorous racetracks. If I’m
lucky one day I’ll return to Europe and get to go to this great race. However,
it does remain a fact that in recent years, horses that have finished in the top
five in the Arc, have had a significant impact on the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Does
that make the Arc a prep race for the Turf?
Call it what you please, but since 2000, five winners of the
Turf had their last race prior to the Breeders’ Cup in the Arc. All of those
winners were trained by one of the three best European trainers at preparing
horses to make the trip to the year-end World Championships.
High Chaparral finished third in the Arc in both 2002 and
2003 when four-time Turf winner, Aidan O’Brien brought him right back to
victory in the World Championships. O’Brien also did it in 2012 after St.
Nicholas Abbey finished fifth at Longchamp. Right now O’Brien does not appear
to be bringing any of his 2014 Arc runners, but he does have defending champ, Magician
as a likely runner.
In 2005 Andre Fabre brought Shirocco from a fourth place Arc
finish to the Belmont Park winner’s circle. It appears that Fabre will be
bringing the Arc second place finisher, Flintshire
to Santa Anita.
Four-time Turf winning trainer Michael Stoute went from the
Arc to a Turf repeat win with Conduit in 2009. This year Stoute as been aiming Telescope
for the Breeders’ Cup since
his August 20th
third place in the Juddmonte International.
finished third in the Arc, but right now it seems that there is only an outside
chance that this one will make the trip across the pond. Trainer John Gosden
said that they will come if owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum makes that decision.
The chart shows where all of the Turf winners since 2000
raced prior to the Breeders’ Cup. For the Americans, New York has been the best
place to have had prepped. For the Europeans it has been runners from Longchamp
that have by far had the most success in the Turf, so when you start
handicapping for the race, “Beware of the Arc.”