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2010 Breeders' Cup: The Arc and the Turf

LONGCHAMP FRANCE - OCTOBER 03:  Ryan Moore riding Workforce win The Qatar Prix de l'arc de Triomphe at the Hippodrome de Longchamp on October 03 2010 in Paris France (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)
LONGCHAMP FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: Ryan Moore riding Workforce win The Qatar Prix de l'arc de Triomphe at the Hippodrome de Longchamp on October 03 2010 in Paris France (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)
Getty Images

While we are waiting on the connections of 2010 Arc winner Workforce (GB) to decide on whether or not they will enter the Breeders' Cup Turf, I decided to take a quick look back at how Arc runners have fared at the Breeders' Cup in past years. 

The first chart below lists every Arc winner since 1983 and how they fared at the Breeders' Cup (if they entered), along with their post-time odds.

Year

Winner

BC Race

Result

 Odds

2010

Workforce

TBD

2009

Sea the Stars

2008

Zarkava

2007

Dylan Thomas

07 Turf

5th(8)

     0.90

2006

Rail Link

2005

Hurricane Run

06 Turf

6th (11)

     2.90

2004

Bago

05 Turf

4th (13)

     4.50

2003

Dalakhani

2002

Marienbard

2001

Sakhee

01 Classic

2nd (13)

     4.80

2000

Sinndar

1999

Montjeu

00 Turf

7th (13)

     3.20

1998

Sagamix

1997

Peintre Celebre

1996

Helissio

1995

Lammtarra

1994

Carnegie

95 Turf

3rd (13)

     3.75

1993

Urban Sea

1992

Subotica

92 Turf

5th (10)

     7.50

1991

Suave Dancer

1990

Saumarez

90 Turf

5th (11)

2.70

1989

Carroll House

1988

Tony Bin

1987

Trempolino

87 Turf

2nd (14)

     2.60

1986

Dancing Brave

86 Turf

4th (9)

     0.50

1985

Rainbow Quest

1984

Sagace

1983

All Along

84 Turf

2nd (11)

     3.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the inaugural Breeders' Cup in 1984, eleven previous winners of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe have shipped to North America to try their hand in either the Turf or the Classic, with none winning any of those ten races. 

Of the ten Arc winners to run at the Breeders' Cup, only six of them ran at the Cup in the same year in which they won the Arc (Dylan Thomas - 2007, Sakhee - 2001, Subotica - 1992, Saumarez - 1990, Trempolino - 1987, Dancing Brave - 1986).

Why have we witnessed such futility from Arc winners shipping over to the Breeders' Cup?  I think the answer centers around a couple of key factors:

1. The Arc is the singular goal for top level Classic horses in France. 

A horse that wins the Epsom Derby in June in impressive fashion is immediately hailed as a top contender for the Arc, not the Breeders' Cup.  The Arc is the primary goal with the Breeders' Cup secondary, should the horse exit the Arc in good physical condition.  Since the Breeders' Cup Turf is not the primary goal it is likely that Arc winners have already fired their "big race" by the time they get to North America.

2. The Arc is one of the most taxing and strenuous races in the world.

In order to win the Arc a horse must generally put forth a top class effort.  And while the relative strength of Arc fields fluctuates from year to year, the demands that the race requires from winners remain the same.  The Breeders' Cup Turf is run at the same distance as the Arc and over the same type of surface but the similarities between the two races pretty much ends at that point.  The Arc course at Longchamp is a long, undulating course with big, sweeping turns, while the Breeders' Cup is generally run on a tight, three-turn turf course without any a single rise or declinein elevation (except at Santa Anita on the downhill and at Woodbine). 

Bot the Turf and the Arc are difficult races to win but the physical requirements to win each race are very different from one another.

While an Arc winner has never come back to win a Breeders' Cup race, the race itself it is still a key "prep" in terms of producing winners.  Seven times in Breeders' Cup history a horse that ran in the Arc came back to win the Turf in the same year, with many of the winners finishing 3rd or 4th at Longchamp before shipping to North America. 

The chart below contains a list of every winner of the Turf along with the result of their final race before the Breeders' Cup.

Year

Winner

Last Track

Race

Result

2009

Conduit (IRE)

LONG (FR)

G1-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

4th

2008

Conduit (IRE)

DON (GB)

G1-St. Leger Stakes

1st

2007

English Channel

BEL

G1-Turf Classic

1st

2006

Red Rocks (IRE)

YORK (GB)

G1-St. Leger Stakes

3rd

2005

Shirocco (GER)

LONG (FR)

G1-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

4th

2004

Better Talk Now

BEL

G1-Man O'War

4th

2003

High Chaparral (IRE)

LONG (FR)

G1-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

3rd

2003

Johar

OSA

G1-CL Hirsch

2nd

2002

High Chaparral (IRE)

LONG (FR)

G1-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

3rd

2001

Fantastic Light

LEO (IRE)

G1-Irish Champion Stakes

1st

2000

Kalanisi (IRE)

NEW (GB)

G1-Champion Stakes

1st

1999

Daylami (IRE)

LONG (FR)

G1-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

9th

1998

Buck's Boy

BEL

G1-Turf Classic

1st

1997

Chief Bearhart (CAN)

WO

G1-Canadian Int'l

1st

1996

Pilsudski (IRE)

LONG (FR)

G1-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

2nd

1995

Northern Spur (IRE)

OSA

G1-Oak Tree Invitational

1st

1994

Tikkanen

BEL

G1-Turf Classic

1st

1993

Kotashaan (FR)

OSA

G1-Oak Tree Invitational

1st

1992

Fraise

BEL

G1-Turf Classic

2nd

1991

Miss Alleged (FR)*

LRL

G1-DC International

5th

1990

In the Wings (GB)

LONG (FR)

G1-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

4th

1989

Prized

BEL

G1-Jockey Club Gold Cup

4th

1988

Great Communicator

OSA

G1-Oak Tree Invitational

2nd

1987

Theatrical (IRE)

AQU

G2-Red Smith

1st

1986

Manila

BEL

G1-Turf Classic

1st

1985

Pebbles (GB)*

NEW (GB)

G1-Champion Stakes

1st

1984

Lashkari (GB)

LONG (FR)

G2-Prix du Conseil du Paris

1st

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*filly

A couple of things that stand out to me from the above information: first, if a domestic horse is going to win the Turf, he (or she) will almost always be exiting a winning race.  Fourteen horses have won the Turf after making their final start in North America with eight finishing first and three finishing second.  For the most part, North American horses that win the Turf come in off of a sharp performance.

The second point I take away from the above chart is pretty simple: Longchamp (8 winners) and Belmont (7) have produced more Breeders' Cup Turf winners than any other tracks.  While I suppose that makes complete sense given the fact that each track holds top quality racing just a month before the Breeders' Cup, I was a bit surprised to not see a bigger representation from Woodbine or Oak Tree.  Specifically, Woodbine has produced only one Turf winner in twenty-six years of Breeders' Cup Turf races.