Grand Prix de Deauville: Stay Foolish notches second in Arc prep
Stay Foolish, one of four Japan runners aimed at this year’s Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe, finished second a length and a quarter behind winner Botanik in his prep, the Grand Prix de Deauville on Sunday, Aug. 28.
It was the fourth start of the year for the 7-year-old son of Stay Gold, and his first in 2 months after a ninth-place finish in the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200, Hanshin). A Grade 2 winner at home, Stay Foolish notched two stakes wins overseas this year, the Red Sea Turf Handicap (G3, 3,000) in Riyadh at the end of February, followed by the Dubai Gold Cup (G2, 3,200) a month later. Stay Foolish flew in directly from Japan and arrived in France on Aug. 15. He is housed at the Chantilly stable of Hiroo Shimizu.
A Group 2 turf event over 2,500 meters for 3-year-olds and up, the field of the 2022 Lucien Barriere Grand Prix de Deauville featured only five runners. As the day’s fourth race of ten, it got under way at Deauville Racecourse at 3:55 p.m. local time (10:55 p.m. in Japan).
Cristian Demuro, who rode the winner last year, sent Stay Foolish to the front and gradually widened the gap between him and the others, then quickened with 500 meters to go. Stay Foolish held off a first challenge by Botanik, who had been running in second position under Mickael Barzalona, was then urged on but unable to throw off a persistent Botanik, who overtook the spent Japanese runner with less than 150 meters to go.
Two French runners followed him over the line, Fenelon a far third, and last year’s victor Glycon in fourth.
Botanik, an Irish-bred, 4-year-old gelding by Golden Horn, hails from the stables of Andre Fabre and is Godolphin owned and bred. He is now 7 for 12, with wins from four of his last five starts. Botanik, who ran under 59 kg (1 kg less than Stay Foolish), clocked 2 minutes 36.23 seconds over the 2,500 meters of turf rated “good.”
Cristian Demuro (younger brother to Mirco) was the 14th rider to be partnered with Stay Foolish, who has 4 wins and 13 other finishes in the money from a career 33 starts. Demuro, 30, said, “I could feel that he has a lot of stamina. He was able to run his own race and, even though he lost, this will have him used to the French style of racing.”
Yukihiko Araki, assistant to trainer Yoshito Yahagi, commented postrace. “We’re not very disappointed with the result as this was a prep for the Arc. And, we expect him to improve.”
Yahagi, who is the year’s current No. 2 JRA trainer for wins, watched the race from Japan and seemed a bit more surprised, though not particularly bothered by the loss. “I didn’t think he should lose to this competition, but he was returning from time off and I’d put him at around 70-80 percent.
“So, considering that, I don’t think it was a performance. I’ll do my best to see that he’s at his best for the main event.”
Christophe Lemaire, who rode both Stay Foolish’s wins this year, is expected to take the reins at Longchamp in the Oct. 2 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Stay Foolish is still chasing his first big win. A Grade 2 winner both in Japan and abroad, he has participated in seven Grade 1 races, with his best results a third in the Hopeful Stakes (2,000 meters, Nakayama) as a 2-year-old, and a fifth in the Hong Kong Vase (2,400 meters, Sha Tin) last year.
The other expected Arc runners from Japan are the Miho-based Titleholder, a 4-year-old, three-time G1 winner from the stable of Toru Kurita and two others from Ritto, the 5-year-old Deep Bond, and the 3-year-old Do Deuce.
Arc-experienced Deep Bond, fielded by Ryuji Okubo, finished second in the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200, Hanshin) this year. Last year, he won his Arc prep, the Grade 2 Prix Foy over the Arc distance of 2,400 meters, but finished 14th of 14 in the main event. Do Deuce is this year’s Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner and is trained by Yasuo Tomomichi.
Japan’s horsemen have been trying to win the Arc since 1969. There have been four runnerups, but no winners from a total 29 previous bids. Wagering on the 2022 Arc will be available in Japan.
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