Ace Impact never had raced 1 1/2 miles before, but bettors Sunday were influenced more by his undefeated record than his inexperience as a middle-distance stayer. It worked out just fine for all of them at ParisLongchamp.
A 3-year-old colt by Cracksman, post-time favorite Ace Impact (9-5) was near the back of the pack most of the way before he responded to the urging of jockey Cristian Demuro in the final quarter-mile on the way to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Group 1, $5,293,250 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
ACE IMPACT IS AMAZING IN THE QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE! ???? pic.twitter.com/UdOsjHMJbK— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 1, 2023
On a sunny, 80-degree day in Paris, the race on a good-to-soft turf course was one of the five Breeders’ Cup qualifiers on the card built around the 102nd running of Europe’s richest race.
Owned by Gousserie Racing and the Serge Stempniak Stables and trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, the winner of this year’s Prix du Jockey Club (G1) and Prix d’Ornano (G2) ran his record to 6-for-6 and became the first horse since Saumarez in 1990 to win the Arc in his first time stretching to 2,400 meters, which are just 15 yards short of 1 1/2 miles.
Westover (6-1) finished second, a short head better than Onesto (55-1) in third. Japan-based Through Seven Seas (10-1) was fourth, and Coolmore supplement Continuous (14-1) came in fifth in the field of 15.
The winning time of 2:25.50 without a run-up followed listed early fractions of 1:22.29 through seven furlongs, 1:51.63 through 1 1/8 miles and 2:02.40 for 1 1/4 miles.
It was the second Arc win for Rouget and Demuro, who teamed with Sottsass for the victory in 2020.
After a seven-year run of upsets from 2010 to 2016, the favorite has won the last two and four of the last seven runnings of the Arc.
Blue Rose Cen confirms brilliance in Opéra
Lurking in fourth through the first half of the race, Blue Rose Cen (8-5) earned her fourth Group 1 victory in the past 364 days with about a neck score in the $528,500 Prix de l’Opéra, an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Coming off a disinterested fifth in the 1 1/2-mile Prix Vermeille (G1) at ParisLongchamp last month, the 3-year-old Churchill filly responded well to her cutback to 2,000 meters, or 13 yards short of 1 1/4 miles.
Trained by Christopher Head for breeder-owner Leopoldo Fernández Pujals, Blue Rose Cen got a patient ride from Aurélien Lemaitre. Entering the final furlong, she was a close third behind Jackie Oh (11-1) and Lumiere Rock (8-1), finally outlasting them to the winning post.
Jackie Oh, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, placed second, one length ahead of third-place Lumiere Rock. Al Husn (7-2) took fourth, and State Occasion (27-1) finished fifth of the 13 fillies and mares.
The winning time was 2:03.71 without a run-up after pedestrian fractions of 1:06.48 for six furlongs, 1:30.70 for seven, 1:41.74 for a mile and 1:52.53 for 1 1/8 miles.
Highfield Princess outsprints rivals in Abbaye
Highfield Princess, who finished fourth in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, could make a return trip to the U.S. after she overcame a poor draw to win the $369,950 Prix de l’Abbaye (G1), a straightaway, 1,000-meter race run on the infield far from the ParisLongchamp grandstand.
With Jason Hart riding for trainer John Quinn, the 6-year-old Night Of Thunder mare was held up in mid-pack after starting from post 14 in the 18-horse field. Quinn gradually took her forward until she assumed the lead in the final furlong, pulling away to a one-length victory covering six yards less than five furlongs.
Incredible performance! Highfield Princess is flat out most of the way but defies a nightmare draw to win the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines for @jasonhart13 and John Quinn ?? pic.twitter.com/UWgZOCdgKL— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 1, 2023
Owned by John Alexander Fairley’s partnership Trainers House Enterprises of England, Highfield Princess (2-1) was one of four favorites who won Breeders’ Cup preps on Sunday’s card. Long shots finished right behind her. Perdika (32-1) was second by a head. After a protracted look at the photo, Aesop’s Fables (43-1) was ruled to have come in third, Get Ahead (11-1) fourth and Rogue Lightning (18-1) fifth.
The winning time was 55.07 seconds without a run-up after early fractions of 22.41, 32.51 and 43.36 seconds for the first two, three and four furlongs.
Since last year’s visit to Keeneland, Highfield Princess has gone 7: 2-3-1, winning this Group 1 and a Group 2 sprint in August at Goodwood.
Justify filly Opera Singer dominates Boussac
O’Brien won a record-tying fifth time when the favorite Opera Singer, a 2-year-old sired by Justify, led from gate to wire for a five-length triumph in the $423,460 Prix Marcel Boussac (G1), a win-and-you’re-in for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Opera Singer (8-5) had a narrow lead over Darnation (2-1) and Rose Bloom (9-1) before Moore asked for more with about two furlongs left in the race that went 1,600 meters, about nine yards short of a mile.
A Group 3 winner going a mile Aug. 26 at the Curragh, her Ireland home base, Opera Singer kept widening her lead in the final furlong on the way to a winning time of 1:36.40 without a run-up after early fractions were shown to be 39.64 seconds for the first three furlongs, 1:03.58 for five, 1:14.76 for six and 1:25.37 for seven.
Rose Bloom finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of third-place Les Pavots (5-1). Ribaltagaia (19-1) was fourth, and Darnation faded to fifth of 10.
Opera Singer is out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Liscanna. She was bred by the late Evie Stockwell, the mother of Coolmore co-owner John Magnier.
Rosallion wins for England in Lagardère
Fifteen days after a third-place finish in a Group 2 race in his home country England, deep-closing Rosallion (6-1) rallied from worst to first to win the $423,460 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (G1), a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Bred and owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and trained by Richard Hannon, Rosallion was last of the 10 runners after roughly a quarter-mile in 22.54 seconds and ninth through the first half-mile in 45.11 seconds. When early pacesetter Henry Adams (17-1) got through five furlongs in 56.47 seconds, jockey Sean Levey had moved Rosallion up to sixth.
Once into the final straight, Levey shook the reins, and the 2-year-old Blue Point colt responded. Inside the final furlong, Rosallion drew even with Unquestionable (7-1), the O’Brien-trained, Moore-ridden colt who had moved from mid-pack to a late lead through a six-furlong sectional of 1:07.31.
Rosallion crossed the finish line a length ahead of Unquestionable. The late-closing favorite Beauvatier (1-1) wound up another 1 1/2 lengths back in third, Henry Adams took fourth and Zabiari (9-1) was fifth of 10.
The winning time was 1:18.23 for a one-turn race that, without a run-up, was measured at 1,400 meters, nine yards short of seven furlong.
Rosallion is 4: 3-0-1 with previous wins on debut at Newbury and in the listed Pat Eddery Stakes in July at Ascot.
The Lagardère also was an early race on the Europe road to the Kentucky Derby, awarding 10-5-3-2-1 points for first through fifth places.