- I have nothing against Zarkava of course. Just that I haven't really followed the Euro racing much at all this year. So I don't really feel qualified to wax poetic or otherwise about her winning the Arc in her first attempt against older horses and males. Check out the SuperfectaBlog instead.
But I did of course see the race, and the biggest impression is the way that one moment, she's like 3rd or 4th last, and absolutely buried on the inside. And the next thing you know, she's 5th with a clear run to daylight. I don't know how jockey Christophe Soumillon managed to get through. "It was an ugly race from behind, jockeys were not respecting each other," he told the Telegraph UK.
"It's inexplicable. I did not even have to use the whip. I've never seen such a finish in my life. It's the greatest day of my life." [Int'l Herald Tribune]Chris McGrath, writing in the Independent UK of the chances of the Aga Khan racing Zarkava next year, reports that few will expect him to persevere.
He has tended to retire his best colts after their second season – including his last two Arc winners, Dalakhani and Sinndar – while Darjina, a top filly who did stay in training, finished second for the sixth time this season at Newmarket on Saturday. As he observed after the Arc: "This is as well as you can do in breeding thoroughbreds."The trainer said that a decision will come in four or five days.
Certainly Zarkava's trainer, Alain de Royer-Dupré, was pretty legible between the lines yesterday. "How I feel is that I appear to have finished my work," he said. "It was a plan at the start of the season for her to remain unbeaten, and win the Arc.
- Zarkava is of course not going to the Breeders' Cup, but her influence could be felt in the Classic nonetheless. We'll have to see if Duke of Marmalade (7th) and Soldier of Fortune (3rd DH) go on to Santa Anita for the big race. Even if they do however, I think the Arc takes the luster off the European angle to the race, and ensures that the focus, pre-race at least, will be squarely on Big Brown and, presumably, Curlin.