Enable scores repeat win in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Courtesy of Marcus Hersh of DRF.com
In midwinter, Enable began stretching her legs, taking small steps toward her 4-year-old season, her campaign eagerly anticipated following a brilliant 3-year-old year capped by a win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Winter turned to spring, and Enable’s luck turned south. Injured, she was taken out of training as her connections took a wait-and-see approach toward the rest of the year.
Midsummer, and Enable had returned to steady exercise under the watch of trainer John Gosden, but time was not on her side. The weeks ticked away, and a repeat bid in the Arc depended on everything going right. Enable made her comeback far from center stage on Sept. 8, winning the September Stakes over the all-weather surface at Kempton Park, a lone start, Gosden decided, that would have to suffice moving the filly forward into the Arc.
It all worked, but only barely.
Using her positional speed to get a perfect trip, her run expertly timed by jockey Frankie Dettori, Enable on Sunday at Longchamp became just the eighth horse to win the Group 1, $5.77 million Arc twice.
The margin of victory was a head, and in another couple of strides, Enable would have been engulfed by the onrushing 3-year-old filly Sea of Class, who ran much too well Sunday to lose but did. In third came Cloth of Stars, who, reversing modest form this season, ran a peak race in the Arc for the second year in a row, having finished second to Enable last year.
Waldgeist, roughly the co-second choice with Sea of Class behind heavily favored Enable, couldn’t quicken with the top two but ran on creditably for fourth. Capri finished fifth, leading home five Aidan O’Brien-trained starters in a 19-horse field that for the most part ran to form.
Gosden and Dettori now have won the Arc in three of the last four years, with Golden Horn home in the 2015 edition. Khalid Abdullah, who races in North America as Juddmonte Farms, bred and owns Enable, a daughter of Nathaniel and Concentric, by Sadler’s Wells. Abdullah won his sixth Arc.
It had been 35 years since a horse had won consecutive Arcs when the French filly Treve did it at age 4 in 2013, and now Enable has duplicated that feat. Enable ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:29.24, paid $4 in North American wagering, and won despite probably lacking full fitness. Enable carried 128 pounds, seven more than Sea of Class and three fewer than older males Cloth of Stars and Waldgeist.
“It has not been easy,” Gosden told overseas press. “We actually had a slight hiccup between Kempton and here, a temperature thing … Enable wasn't at her best today. She's got the job done, and it's very much down to her mind and ability.”
Enable broke from a favorable post, 6, and raced fifth, two or three paths off the fence, on a course rated “good” that had better ground on the inside than out. It was in large part because of that perception that jockey James Doyle on Sea of Class took a sharp right turn as soon as Sea of Class left stall 15, heading straight for the inside rail. Sea of Class is a pure hold-up horse, but Doyle said he would have liked to have stuck at least a little closer to the leaders had that been an option; as it was, he and his filly were 18th as Enable comfortably stalked the pace.
Enable galloped along around the Arc’s one long turn, edging up from fifth to third after cornering into the false homestretch and getting ever nearer the pacesetting Nelson as the true run at him loomed. Dettori, surely calculating how much gas he’d have in his tank, waited until there were only 300 yards left to truly ask Enable, who quickened to the front and went for home.
Doyle, meanwhile, could do nothing but sit at the rear given his circumstances, and it was until just a quarter-mile remained that Sea of Class really got to begin racing. Her yellow silks bobbed off the fence, finding one large gap, squeezing between a much smaller one, and eventually getting clear running on the far outside as she quickly closed the gap on Enable. But then came the 100-meter mark, and just after that, the finish, too soon for Sea of Class, and just in time for Enable.
“She ran a great race,” said trainer William Haggas. “I was thrilled with the ride she got. It was just unfortunate we needed another five meters.”
Enable might have more to give this season and likely will be offered a chance to do so Nov. 3 in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, where she will be heavily favored. Sea of Class also could be considered for a Breeders’ Cup run, though she might have the Filly and Mare Turf as an option.
Whatever happens next month in Louisville, Ky., the two fillies put on a great show Sunday in Paris.
For more of the best horse racing analysis, go to DRF.com. Read up to 30 premium articles free every month! Check it out.
- September 20, 2021
Churchill Down’s Fall meet has commenced, and this past Saturday’s “Downs After Dark” program had fans tracking ascending stars.
- September 18, 2021
At its meeting last night, the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors unanimously elected Barbara Banke as Board Chairman. Owner of Stonestreet Farms in Lexington, Ky., Banke becomes the first woman to Chair Breeders’ Cup Limited.
- September 17, 2021
$1 Million Ricoh Woodbine Mile Headlines Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Races on Saturday and Sunday in Canada on NBCSN
The “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – presented by America’s Best Racing” will be at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto for two live programs of outstanding turf racing on Saturday, Sept. 18 on NBCSN (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET).