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International Roundup: Sarafina (FR) solidifies her status as Arc favorite after winning the Prix Foy

LONGCHAMP, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: Runners about to pass the windmill in The Qatar Prix Du Cadran at the Hippodrome de Longchamp on October 03, 2010 in Paris, France (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)
LONGCHAMP, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: Runners about to pass the windmill in The Qatar Prix Du Cadran at the Hippodrome de Longchamp on October 03, 2010 in Paris, France (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)

Sarafina (FR) moved to the top of the antepost wagering for the 2011 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe after an impressive, yet troubled filled win in the Group 2 Prix Foy at Longchamp on Sunday.  Generally, a four-horse field reduces the possibility of a horse encountering trouble, especially in a race covering a mile and a half.  But trouble found Sarafina in the final furlongs as she became boxed in behind her three rivals and had no choice but to attempt to split the trio in the shadow of wire.  Once in the clear, Sarafina powered to the front to deny Hiruno d'Amour and solidify her status for the Arc.

In the other two Arc preps on the Longchamp card, French Derby winner Reliable Man (GB) won the G2-Prix Niel, and Galikova (FR), half-sister to Goldikova (IRE), won the G1-Prix Vermeille. Additionally, Prohibit (GB) won the five furlong G3-Prix de Petit Couvert, and Excelebration (IRE) took the one mile G1-Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.

You can video replays of all three race at the bottom of this post.

Sarafina, Relivable Man, and Galikova are all considered top contenders for this year's Arc (see current betting below), but it's Sarafina that has distinguished herself from the pack with her most recent performance. 

Galikova's win was her first at twelve furlongs and was accomplished in an impressive manner over testing ground.  Jockey Olivier Peslier had Galikova geared down at the wire as runner-up Testosterone (IRE) had no chance in the final yards.

Arc Preview Day Results:

Race Dist. Winner Time
G3-Prix de Petit Couvert 5.0f Prohibit (GB) 55.35
G2-Prix Foy 12.0f Sarafina (FR) 2:32.28
G2-Prix Niel 12.0f Reliable Man (GB) 2:32.43
G1-Prix du Moulin de Longchamp 8.0f Excelebration (IRE) 1:37.40
G1-Prix Vermeille 12.0f Galikova (FR) 2:34.38
G3-Prix Gladiateur 15.0+f Ley Hunter 3:33.99


Three of the races on Sunday's card were run at the Arc distance of a mile and a half - Prix Foy, Prix Niel, and Prix Vermeille - making it relatively easy to compare the results of those events.  Of the three, Sarafina finished with the fastest overall time, just ahead of Reliable Man's clocking in the Prix Niel.  Galikova's win was approximately two seconds slower that the other two races, but was still an impressive performance when you factor in the condition of the ground throughout the card at Longchamp.

Below is a breakdown of the internal splits from the seven to twelve furlong mark in all three of the Arc preview races.

Fractional Splits

7f 9f 10f 11f 12f
Race Winner 1000m 600m 400m 200m Finish
G2-Prix Foy Sarafina (FR) 1:34.07 1:58.76 2:10.35 2:21.17 2:32.28
G2-Prix Niel Reliable Man (GB) 1:34.47 1:58.11 2:09.54 2:20.63 2:32.43
G1-Prix Vermeille Galikova (FR) 1:33.53 1:58.41 2:10.43 2:22.14 2:34.38


Internal Splits

9f 10f 11f 12f
Race Winner 600m 400m 200m Finish
G2-Prix Foy Sarafina (FR) 24.69 11.59 10.82 11.11
G2-Prix Niel Reliable Man (GB) 23.64 11.43 11.09 11.80
G1-Prix Vermeille Galikova (FR) 24.88 12.02 11.71 12.24


Check out those internal splits in the Prix Foy, specifically the final two furlongs in 10.82 and 11.11.  That's some impressive turn of foot over the final quarter mile. Furthermore, Sarafina was roughly three lengths behind the leaders with 400 meters (or is it metres?) left in the running, suggesting her final quarter mile was even more impressive.

If you remember back to that Trakus post from a week or so ago, a beaten length came out to about 0.18 seconds, roughly equal to the old adage of one length = a fifth of a second.  Applying that number to this race (and assuming Sarafina was about 3 lengths back with a quarter mile to go), she would have covered the final furlong of the Prix Foy in approximately 21.39 seconds.

While it's certainly true that the field didn't run very fast in the early part of the race (the first seven furlongs went in 1:34.07, a time that more resembles a mile clocking in North America), the ground at Longchamp was rated "Good to Soft" for the first four races on the card, changing to "Very Soft" from race five onward.  (The Foy and the Niel were the 2nd and 3rd races on the card, while the Vermeille was the 6th race.)  You're not going to find very many horses that are going to run the first seven or eight furlongs in a fast time when the ground is that soft and much of the initial portion of the race is run uphill.

Sunday's results at Longchamp caused a few of the Arc betting markets to stir, most notably the odds on Sarafina.  Below are the current approximate odds for the Arc, according to U.K. bookmakers:

Horse Odds
Sarafina 3/1
Workforce 5/1
Nathaniel 11/2
Galikova 6/1
So You Think 7/1
Reliable Man 7/1
Meandre 14/1
Hiruno d'Amour 20/1
Snow Fairy 25/1
Nakayama Festa 25/1


Prix Foy Video

Sarafina is at the rear of the field in the early stages, wearing the dark green silks.


Prix Niel Video


Prix Vermielle Video