133 to 1! Classic is a shocker French 5-year-old Arcangues wins in late stretch

November 07, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. -- The 10th Breeders' Cup looked like a rout for the California horses until the shocker.

Arcangues, a 133-to-1 long shot from France, ridden by American jockey Jerry Bailey, saved ground on the rail and then stormed past front-running favorite Bertrando in the deep stretch to win the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

The 5-year-old horse paid $269.20 for a $2 win bet yesterday at the host track, Santa Anita Park, and produced the highest winning payoff in Breeders' Cup history.

In addition, the victory by the obscure horse, who had never run on the dirt or in this country, provided stunning payoffs in the Breeders' Cup national Pick Seven wagering. There were only two winning tickets -- one purchased at Remington Park in Oklahoma City and the other at Santa Anita. Each paid $1,598,310.80. The consolation for picking six out of seven paid $510.80.

For Bailey, the win capped his most memorable year of riding.

In May, Bailey said "the Red Sea parted" at Churchill Downs and the 33-year-old jockey from Dallas won the Kentucky Derby aboard Sea Hero, a horse now sidelined with a knee injury.

Yesterday, Bailey said he looked at the tote board, saw he was listed at 99-to-1 odds and remarked: "The squeaky wheel gets the grease."

He added: "I couldn't understand the instructions the trainer [Andre Fabre] gave me in the paddock. I don't even know how to pronounce the horse's name. But sometimes a horse runs best when he is ridden by someone who has never been on him before.

"Since I didn't know the horse -- I had never laid eyes on him until I saw him in the paddock -- I just let him run along the rail. I got more confidence in him as we went along because he started to pick up horses and I still had a lot of horse under me."

Gary Stevens, who rode pace-setter Bertrando, part of the three-horse, 6-to-5 favored entry of trainer Bobby Frankel, said: "My horse absolutely exploded at the quarter-pole and I thought it was all over. Then here comes this horse. I had no idea who he was, and he runs right by me."

Arcangues, pronounced AR-KONK and named after a French castle, is owned by Paris art patron Daniel Wildenstein, familiar to Maryland racing fans because of the number of horses he has run over the years at Laurel Race Course in the Washington D.C. International, including 1983 winner All Along.

Fabre, considered one of the world's greatest trainers, had drawn a blank in the previous race, the $2 million Turf, with five runners from his stable, who finished eighth, ninth, 11th, 12th and 13th.

He said he told Bailey, after he threw him aboard Arcangues, "to come gradually, then rush the horse [at the end]."

Fabre said he thought about running Arcangues in the Classic a couple of months ago because he thought the horse would run better on a flat track. "His back hurts him running down the hill at Chantilly [in Paris]," he said.

Then Fabre worked the horse once about a month ago on Wildenstein's dirt gallop at Chantilly and the animal went so well that he decided to come to California.

Arcangues ran the 1 1/4 miles in 2 minutes, 4/5ths of a second, tied with Proud Truth as the third-fastest time in the Breeders' Cup Classic. A. P. Indy and Sunday Silence hold the record at 2:00 1/5.

It was Bailey's second Classic win. He won in 1991 at Churchill Downs with Black Tie Affair.

Alec Wildenstein, son of the owner, said Arcangues will be retired and stand at stud in France. "After this, beating the best horses, he can only go downhill," Wildenstein said. "He's done enough."

The horse previously was a Group I winner on the grass in France and had earned $298,520. His paycheck yesterday amounted to $1,560,000.

"I'm really kind of in shock," Frankel said. "I guess it just wasn't meant to be. Bertrando ran great. I'm surprised that anybody was able to catch him."

Frankel's other horses, Marquetry, finished fourth, and Missionary Ridge was 11th.

The defeat, meanwhile, cost Bertrando the Horse of the Year title.

It probably will go to Lure, winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile yesterday for the second straight year, or Kotashaan, brilliant winner of the Turf at 1 1/2 miles.

Lure, ridden by Mike Smith, broke from an outside post and was forced extremely wide going into the first turn of the Mile. But he got the lead and then dominated the race under a strong hand ride. His time of 1:33 2/5 was 1 2/5 seconds slower than the course record he set last year at Gulfstream Park.

His victory was the only one yesterday by an East Coast horse. Besides the Turf and the Classic, the other five races were won by California-based thoroughbreds and jockeys.

Kotashaan, who won a stirring stretch duel over Chris McCarron on Bien Bien, gave Kent Desormeaux, former leading jockey in Maryland, his first Breeders' Cup victory.

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