LONGCHAMP, FRANCE - OCTOBER 02: Andrasch Starke riding Danedream wins the Qatar Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe at Longchamp racecourse on October 2, 2011 in Paris, France. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
I've got a full Super Saturday/Arc Festival/Sunday re-cap on the way a little bit later but I wanted to take a deeper look at the winner of today's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Danedream (GER) . The upset winner of the 2011 Arc seemingly came out of nowhere to not only win the biggest race in Europe, but dominate it by five lengths. She didn't come completely out of nowhere; she raced in Germany, Italy, and France this year, so many people had seen her race. But her accomplishments were relatively unknown compared to those of her more highly rated rivals.
Let's get the basics out of the way: Danedream is a German-bred three-year-old daughter of Lomitas (GB) out of a Danehill mare, Danedrop (IRE). (pedigree profile) Lomitas was a three-time Group 1 winner in Germany over the course of his racing career and finished with a lifetime record of 9-6-2-0.
During her juvenile season, Danedream won only one race out of five starts, although she was DQ'd from a win at Deauville in a listed stakes race in mid-August.
This season, Danedream began her three-year-old campaign with a disappointing 4th place effort in a listed stakes race at San Siro in Italy at one mile over ground rated "Good". She followed up her 2011 debut with a start in the Group 2 Italian Derby at Capannelle and finished 3rd of 12 as the only filly in the field. Crackerjack King (IRE) and Cazals (IRE) finished 1-2. The ground at Capannelle was rated as "Good" for the Italian Derby.
After a less than completely successful start to the season, Danedream finally picked up her first group company score when she easily won the Group 2 Italian Oaks by over six lengths as the 4/6 favorite at San Siro. The Italian Oaks was run over ground rated "Good" at 11 furlongs.
Following her success in Italy, Danedream shipped back to France to run in the mile and a half Group 2 Prix de Malleret at Saint-Cloud in late June. Racing over ground rated "Good to Soft" the German filly ran farther back in the field than she had in her prior races, found herself with a little too much to do in the late stages, and could only muster a 5th place finish. The blanket finish of the top five fillies produced margins of a neck, a nose, a neck, and 3/4 lengths. The race was won by Testosterone (IRE), a filly that Danedream would meet again in today's Arc.
Danedream returned to her native Germany in late June to run in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Berlin at Hoppegarten racecourse. Competing a at a mile and a half over ground rated as "Good", Danedream dominated an over-matched field of colts and fillies to win by an easy five lengths at the wire. She followed up that Group 1 win with another dominating performance in Germany, this time in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Baden over ground rated "Very Soft" at Baden-Baden. Her sire won the same race in 1991. After stalking the early lead, Danedream powered away from her rivals at the top of the stretch to win by six lengths. Among her rivals that day at Baden-Baden was last year's Grade 1 Canadian International winner, Joshua Tree (IRE), who finished over ten lengths back in 3rd place.
With today's five length victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Danedream has won her last four races, all Group 1s and all at a mile and a half, by a combined 14 lengths.
Below are videos of Danedream's last two races... in German, of course. Danedream is in the orange silks with the white cap. She sits in mid-pack in the first video and stalks the pacemaker in the second.
Grosser Preis Von Berlin
Grosser Preis Von Baden