L’OBSERVATION DES ETOILES
Courtesy of Ren Carothers (@RenCarothers)
Ah, Paris... la Ville Lumière...the City of Lights. What an appropriate description for this majestic metropolis, steeped in history and fortified by innovation, especially when Longchamp will be basked in the glow of racing’s stars, and those rising, this weekend. Sixteen flat races are carded over Saturday and Sunday. Nine of them are Group 1 events, headlined, of course, by the 98th running of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, sponsored by Qatar. Two of the other Gr1 races are the Prix Marcel Boussac and Prix Jean- Luc Lagardere, which are part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series, offering #FutureStarsFriday berth.
The Prix Marcel Boussac was originally called the Critèrium des Pouliches. This race is to be the measure by which their juvenile filly division is to be judged. Past editions of this event have certainly set a high standard. Wuheida won in 2016 and later triumphed in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Cartier champion Found captured the Prix Marcel Boussac in 2014 on her way to global domination, claiming victory in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The great Miesque conquered her peers in 1986 and subjugated the best the world had to offer in two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (1987 & 1988).
This year’s Prix Marcel Boussac has eight declared runners. Their names may be new to you, but take a closer look and you’ll find their families are not as unfamiliar as you might think.
Star Terms – Her sire is champion Sea the Stars, a half brother to another champion in Galileo. Sea the Stars won six consecutive Gr1 races in a span of just six months. Among his conquests are the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby (like his brother), and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (like his mother, Urban Sea). Star’s dam is a daughter of Australian champion sprinter Exceed and Excel named Best Terms. She was champion two-year-old filly in England in 2011, winning four races as a juvenile, including the Gr2 Lowther Stakes and Gr2 Queen Mary. Second dam, Sharp Terms, was unraced, but is a half sister to three group winners, among them, First Charter, who won the Gr2 Londale Stakes and was third in the Gr1 Irish St. Leger.
Pink Dogwood – She’s by Camelot, 2012’s Cartier champion three-year-old colt and Irish Horse of the Year. Camelot won the Gr1 Racing Post Trophy at two, and, at three, the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, and Irish Derby. Her dam is the stakes placed sprinter Question Times, making Pink Dogwood a full sister to Gr1W Latrobe, who won the Irish Derby and was second in the Irish St. Leger, and a half sibling to Gr3W/MG2P Diamond Fields (Gladness Stakes, 2nd Sands Point, 3rd Lake Placid). Question Times is a daughter of MGr1W and champion two-year-old Shamardal, and a half sister to Gr3W/Gr1P Sunday Times (Sceptre S., 2nd Cheveley Park S.). The biggest thing to take away from this fact is that Sunday Times is also the dam of Chad Brown trainee Newspaperofrecord, who is now two-for-two after wiring the field and crushing by 6-1/2 lengths in the G3 Miss Grillo. So, in a way, you could say Pink Dogwood and Newspaperofrecord are cousins, which will make for a fun “family feud” should they square off in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Lily’s Candle – Her sire, Style Vendome, was a multiple stakes winning sprinter at two-years-old and, at three, captured the Gr1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains at a mile, just shy of the race record. Lily’s Candle is out of Golden Lily, whose sire, Dolphin Street, won the Gr1 Prix de la Foret. Golden Lily is a half sister to stakes winners Lily America (Prix La Camargo) and Liliside (Prix de la Californie, Prix La Camargo, Prix de La Cochere).
Rocques – She’s by Lawman, who won the Gr1 Prix du Jockey-Club (aka the French Derby) and Gr1 Prix Jean Prat, and her dam, Regina Mundi, was stakes placed in Italy. Regina’s sire, Montjeu, was named European champion three-year-old colt in 1999 after a campaign which included Gr1 wins in the Irish Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and he racked up three more Gr1 victories at four. Regina is a half sister to SW/Gr2P Delsarte, and Humble and Proud, who is the dam of G1 Sword Dancer winner Glorious Empire.
Lagrandecatherine – Her sire, Pedro the Great, won the Gr1 Phoenix Stakes at two, and her dam, Sizalia (Grand Handicap Synergie, Grand Prix de la Ville du Croisic), is a daughter of Dream Well, 1998’s Horse of the Year in Europe. Her female family includes Tuzla. She won the G1 Ramona Handicap and was second to Silic in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Mile. Also part of the tribe is Toscanni, winner of the Gr3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes and second in the Gr1 National Stakes.
Ceratonia – She’s by 2003 Cartier champion sprinter Oasis Dream and out of the stakes winning mare Rumh, making her a half sister to Wild Illusion, who won this race last year for trainer Charlie Appleby. Wild Illusion’s form carried into her three-year-old season, as she captured the Gr1 Nassau at three, and was second in the Investec Oaks at Epsom. Ceratonia’s second dam, Royal Dubai, was highweight filly at two-years-old in Germany and is a half sister to Royal Highness, whose multiple graded-stakes scores include the G1 Beverly D. Stakes. This female family also produced multimillionaire Electrocutionist, winner of the 2005 Gr1 Juddmonte International and 2006 Gr1 Dubai World Cup.
Dubai Beauty – She’s by one of the greatest horses to step on the turf, Frankel, who was a perfect fourteen-for-fourteen in his illustrious career. Ten of those victories were Gr1s, among them the 7f Dewhurst and the 10.5f Juddmonte International. In retirement, Frankel has proved a champion sire, too, producing the likes of the sensational Cracksman. As for Dubai Beauty’s dam, Minidress, she’s a stakes placed daughter of a horse you know well, Street Cry, who was third in the 2000 Juvenile before going on to claim G1 success in the Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster Handicap. Dubai Beauty’s second dam is Short Skirt. She was a multiple Gr3 winner who also put in runner-up efforts in the Gr1 Yorkshire Oaks and Gr1 Epsom Oaks. Short Skirt is a half sister to Whitewater Affair, who was highweight older mare at four-years-old in England and produced Victoire Pisa, two-time champion in Japan. This family also includes 1986’s Sydney Cup winner Marooned, and Arctic Owl, who won the Gr1 Irish St. Leger in 2000.
Matematica – Mill Reef’s record of six consecutive Gr1 wins stood for thirty years until this filly’s sire, Rock of Gibraltar, won his seventh in the 2002 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. The streak came to an end in his next start, the Breeders’ Cup Mile, in which Domedriver was just 3⁄4 of a length the better. Still, Rock of Gibraltar’s accomplishments were rewarded with 2002 Horse of the Year honors. Her dam, Mathematicienne, is a daughter of 2001’s Cartier champion three-year-old colt and superstar sire, Galileo, and is a full sister to SW Galipad. Matematica’s half sister, Soustraction, won the Gr3 Prix d’Aumale, was second in the Gr2 Prix Vanteaux, and third in the Gr1 Prix Saint-Alary. Her second dam, SW Never Green, is a half sister to Solemia, who won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2012. Never Green is also a half to group winners Prospect Park (Gr3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte, Gr3 Prix du Lys) and Prospect Wells (Gr2 Prix Greffulhe). This remarkable female family also includes multiple Gr1Ws The Gurkha (Sussex S., Poule d’Essai des Poulains), Silasol (Prix Marcel Boussac, Prix Saint-Alary) and Green Dancer (Observer Gold Cup – now Racing Post Trophy, Prix Lupin, Poule d’Essai des Poulains).
Now, let’s turn our attention to the boys. The Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, also known as the Grand Criterium, has produced some superstars. In 1991, Arazi won this race, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. 2001’s victor was Rock of Gibraltar, who set a record, winning seven consecutive Gr1s before getting beat a heartbreaking 3⁄4 of a length in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Hold That Tiger won in 2002, capped off his champion two-year-old season with a third place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and was fifth in the Classic the following year. 2013’s victor was Karakontie, who would later triumph in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
This year’s edition has six declared runners:
Boitron – He’s by French Derby champ Le Havre and out of the mare Belliflore, a daughter of Gr3 Coventry Stakes winner Verglas. She was second in the Gr3 Prix du Palais Royal and third in the Gr1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. This female family includes some big names, among them Gr1 winners Al Hareb (Gr1 William Hill Futurity Stakes), Snowland (Gr1 The Galaxy), French champion two-year old Myboycharlie (Gr1 Prix Morny), The Last Lion (Gr1 Middle Park) and Tarascon, champion two-year-old filly in Ireland (Gr1 Irish 1000 Guineas, Gr1 Moyglare Stud Stakes).
Anodor – This colt’s sire, Anodin, is a full brother to the great Goldikova, who won the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2008, 2009, 2010, and was third in 2011. Anodin won the Gr3 Prix Paul de Moussac and was second in the Gr1 Prix d’Isphan, Gr1 Prix Jacques le Marois, Gr1 Prix de la Foret, and the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He was also third in the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes. Anodor’s dam, Decize, is a daughter of Kentucky Dynamite, who also won the Gr3 Prix Paul de Moussac, and was Gr1P, second in the Prix Jean Prat. The most exciting name found in Anodor’s female family is, without a doubt, his fourth dam’s half sister, Gr1W Maximova, who produced Prix Marcel Boussac winner Macoumba, who might best be known as the dam of leading sire Malibu Moon.
Royal Marine – He’s by 2008’s Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Raven’s Pass and he’s out of Inner Secret, a daughter of 1996’s Eclipse champion grass horse, Singspiel. Singspiel was second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, went on to win the Japan Cup and, in 1997, the Dubai World Cup, Coronation Cup, and Juddmonte International. Inner Secret is a half sister to Gr1 winners Librettist (Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, P. Fresnay le Buffard Jacques Le Marois) and Dubai Destination (Queen Anne Stakes). Her half brother, Secret Number, is a multiple GSW, also sired by Raven’s Pass (Gr2 International Bosphorus Cup, Gr3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes). Royal Marine is himself a half brother to Crystal River, who won the Prix Casimir Delamarre, and his second dam has some noteworthy siblings, too. She’s a half sister to Hishi Akebono, 1995’s champion sprinter in Japan, and MGr1W Agnes World (Gr1 Darley July Cup, Gr1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp). This female family also includes a pretty big name to American audiences – Tourist, who won the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Mile in 1:31.71, the fastest time in the race’s history.
Broome – He’s by Australia, who won the 2013 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown and continued to shine at three, with Group 1 triumphs in the Juddmonte International, Epsom Derby, and Irish Derby. While Australia, a son of 2001 European champion three-year-old and prepotent sire Galileo, never competed in the United States, his dam, Ouija Board, made her visits from across the pond worthy of the history books. In a campaign including wins in the 2004 Epsom and Irish Oaks, she captured the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which, after a runner-up finish in 2005, she claimed again in 2006. Broome’s dam, Sweepstake, is a daughter of Gr2 winner Acclamation. She won the National and Bendanken Stakes, and picked up some graded black type with a second in the G3 Appalachian at
Keeneland, and third in the Gr3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot. Broome’s second dam is a full sister to Gr3 winner Dust Dancer (Prix de la Nonette), who produced Tyranny, dam of Gr1 winner Zoffany (Phoenix Stakes).
Dark Jedi – His sire, Kodiac, is by champion sprinter Danehill and a half brother to another champion sprinter, Invincible Spirit. Jedi’s dam, Whitefall, is a daughter of Dubai World Cup victor Street Cry and Grand Prix de Clairefontaine winner Nalani. Other runners contributing group-winning black type to this female family include Narwala (Gr3 Princess Royal Stakes), Aynthia (Gr3 Premio Memorial Mario Incisa), Affidavit (Gr2 Prix Hubert de Chaudenay), and Maiden Tower (Gr2 Prix de Sandringham, Gr2 Prix de la Grotte). Maiden Tower was also second in the Gr1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, and G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.
Shaman – He’s a son of 2004’s Cartier champion two-year-old colt Shamardal, who lists the Dewhurst Stakes, Poule d’Essai des Poulains, Prix du Jockey Club, and St. James’s Palace Stakes among his accomplishments. His stakes winning, G3P dam, Only Green, won the Prix du Pont-Neuf and Prix de Saint-Cyr, and was third in the Prix Imprudence, before producing Green Sweet, winner of the Prix Omnium II. Only Green is a daughter of multiple Gr1 winning sprinter Green Desert (July Cup, Sprint Cup) and is a half sister MGr1W Occupandiste (Prix Maurice de Gheest, Prix de la Foret), who was champion older mare in France and produced MG1W Mondialiste. You may recognize that name because he won the 2015 Woodbine Mile before running second to Tepin in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He later won the 2016 Arlington Million. The name-dropping doesn’t stop there, however. Shaman’s second dam is a half sister to Irish One Thousand Guineas winner, and champion three-year-old filly in England, Mehthaaf, and Elnadim, champion older sprinter in Europe. Keep paying attention, because this colt’s third dam is Gr2W Elle Seule (Prix d’Astarte), a half sister to multiple stakes winners, including champion sprinter in Ireland, Bianconi, Gr1W Fort Wood (Grand Prix de Paris), G1W Northern Aspen (Gamely), and Eclipse champion two-year-old Timber Country, who won the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and at three, won the Preakness after a third place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Their dam is 1994’s Broodmare of the Year, and G1W, Fall Aspen. This pedigree is so star-studded, it probably needs its own write-up, but two members of the extended female family that can’t be missed are four-time Gr1W Ribchester (Prix Jacques le Marois, Queen Anne S., Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, Lockinge S.) and four-time Gr1W Dubai Millennium (Prix Jacques le Marois, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Dubai World Cup), the latter of which was given a Timeform rating of 140, the highest assigned since Dancing Brave’s 140 in 1986.
So, you see, while these races may be run on foreign ground, the contenders hail from families with which you are already familiar. Again, it’s fitting that the “City of Lights” should serve as host to rising stars such as these. Those that climb the highest this weekend just may put themselves within view of Louisville come November and #FutureStarsFriday.
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$1 Million Ricoh Woodbine Mile Headlines Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Races on Saturday and Sunday in Canada on NBCSN
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