So, it's been a few days since Treve (FR) dominated the 2013 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but I thought - better late than never!
Before even talking about Treve we have to talk Ofevre (JPN). Yeah, he didn't win and was a runner-up for the second year in a row. But this horse is simply phenomenal, no matter how you look at it. Twice he's traveled to France from Japan and run over soft to heavy ground at Longchamp, a condition we'd never see here in America with our ‘only Firm will do" turf course mentality, and he's run huge. This is a horse that's clearly better on firm ground but has managed to be runner-up in the Arc, perhaps the best and most challenging grass race in the world, two years in a row.
Kudos, Mr. Ofevere, and to your connections. I wish there was an American horse that could match your international success on grass. I don't know what the future holds for your career in the breeding shed (*cough* TFTribe *cough*), but you've proven yourself as a worthy champion even in defeat.
Okay, with the runner-up out of the way, let's talk Treve. While Treve did carry significantly less weight than her male counterparts (a tradition at the Arc nowadays), she was clearly the class of the field and another reminder that the best fillies can beat the best boys when they are truly great.
Treve is lightly raced (just five total starts, including her Arc triumph), and she appears to be getting better each and every time out. Additionally, hats off to her connections for the excellent preparations leading to the Arc. After winning the French Oaks in June, Treve raced just one more time prior to the Arc - the G1-Prix Vermielle at Longchamp in mid-September but the workload was balanced enough to put her in the Arc in tip-top shape.
Following her Arc win, Treve's connections announced that the filly would stay in training into next year but it was unlikely she'd run again in 2013. The connections plans don't include a run in America at the Breeders' Cup which, sadly, isn't surprising considering the BC Turf just isn't a "destination" for top grass runners around the world, but is more a race that can be won by Europe's second or third tier runners.
An Arc winner has never come back to win a Breeders' Cup race, either in the year they won the Arc or any subsequent year. That streak won't end in 2013.
By the way, if we need any more evidence as to what kind of stamina it takes to win the Arc, just pull out your Bris PPs for Longchamp last Sunday and check out the sire and dam sire average winning distance for the top horses in the field.
Horse rarely win the Arc by "out running their pedigree".
As an American fan of horse racing and the Arc, I always come back to the same question at this time of year: will we ever see an American raced and trained horse win the Arc? I wish I could answer "yes" because I'd love to see our horses win on one of the world's biggest stages. Sadly, I won't be shocked if by the time I die that I've never watched an American raced and trained horse even run in the Arc. We just don't produce horses good enough on grass (at this time) to win that kind of race. But I can always hope.