Dettori provides Arc storyline

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TwinSpires Staff

October 4th, 2015

story and photos by RON FLATTER

Frankie Dettori leaps toward the crowd after winning

PARIS -- On an afternoon that was supposed to end up feeling a lot like it did after American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, it felt more like one of those days when California Chrome and Smarty Jones did not.

Appropriately, there was even the hint of a sprinkle from the gloomy sky the moment that Trêve failed in her bid to be the first three-time winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Resigned to a track with not an ounce of give in it, Trêve was left to finish an energetic but non-threatening fourth to Golden Horn – a 3-year-old colt that was made to order for the Longchamp turf that played Augusta National-firm.

“I think probably the ground was quick enough for her,” said John Gosden, who trained his first Arc winner. “We used her pacemaker (entered for Trêve’s benefit), which is handy. Frankie (Dettori) rode a gem of a race.

If it a Trêve three-peat was not to be, the next best story had to be Dettori. He – not Thierry Jarnet – was supposed to be the one riding Trêve and holding the Arc record all by himself for most riding victories. He had ridden Trêve in the 2013 Prix Vermeille prep race after getting the call from her new owner, Sheikh Joaan. But four days before the 2013 Arc, Dettori broke his right ankle riding at Nottingham, England. Jarnet got the emergency call and has had the ride since.

That was a microcosmic end to a 12-month period that had seen Dettori fired by Godolphin after he was forced to serve a six-month drug suspension. Now he finds himself with a fourth Arc win – tying Jarnet and five others and punctuating the accomplishment with his characteristic leap from the saddle when he and Golden Horn returned to the paddock. As far as Dettori is concerned, Trêve is in his past.

Trêve being led into the paddock

“There is no revenge,” he said. “Trêve has been a great mare. (Sheikh Joaan) was waiting for me in the winner’s enclosure and gave me a high five. He’s a very sporting man. Trêve has been a revelation these last three years. But I have to think about Golden Horn right now.”

Dettori will apparently do that thinking in Lexington this month at the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“That’s up to the owner with a very strong possibility because I think he retires this year,” Gosden said, “so I think that’s a very logical place to go.”

The same goes for 4-year-old colt Flintshire, the Arc runner-up for the second year in a row.

“He’ll go for the Breeders’ Cup. For the Turf,” said trainer André Fabre, who also said 3-year-old colt Make Believe, winner of Sunday’s Group 1 Forêt, would be aimed for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

As for Trêve?

“The stud, I suppose,” said trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, who was adamant about not blaming the ground or anything else for Trêve’s loss. “There was no factor. She was beaten by Golden Horn. He was maybe better than her, and that’s all. She ran a good race. Fillies sometimes have a day off. Maybe she had a day off. For the moment there’s no excuse. No excuse.”

Getting to the rail first in the homestretch proved to be the winning path for all eight Group 1 races Sunday on the last day before a $140 million grandstand rebuilding begins at Longchamp. It worked for Covert Love, a 3-year-old that regained the lead late to win the Opera by a nose over Jazzi Top. Winning trainer Hugo Palmer said the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf would be an option.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien said Ballydoyle, winner of the Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies, and Johannes Vermeer and Shogun, also-rans in the Jean-Luc Lagardère for 2-year-old colts, would be possibilities for the Breeders’ Cup turf races for juveniles.

The trip to Lexington was ruled out by connections for Lagardère winner Ultra, even though the Godolphin colt’s victory qualified him for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Golden Horn leads the field home in the Arc

A last look at the soon-to-be-demolished grandstand at Longchamp