(The wonderful Enable / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From Jonathan Lintner / Courtesy of HorseRacingNation.com
The fairytale ending to Enable’s storied career wasn’t to be Sunday when Waldgeist stormed by in the final strides to top the great mare in Longchamp’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1).
Enable looked to have a measure of her rivals, sitting just behind a leading trio off the final bend. She found the lead late by a couple of lengths, out-dueling top rivals Sottsass and Japan.
The battle was won, as they say, but the war wasn’t over.
Waldgeist, the 5-year-old Andre Fabre trainee, took to the soft ground best in a shocking upset in Europe’s most prestigious race, running by down the center of the track.
Enable had won 12 straight, with 10 of those races Group 1 events. If this is to be her final race — and by all indications, that’s the case — she finishes 13-for-15 in her career.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Enable’s owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, did tell reporters after the Arc that connections still have a decision to officially make on her future, and that Abdullah “will want to reflect and give it some good thought.”
Waldgeist, a son of Galileo, is a familiar runner to American fans having finished fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. He entered Sunday’s Arc off a victory over the course and at the distance in the Prix Foy (G2).
The great French trainer Fabre won his eighth Arc, while it was a first for jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot.
Waldgeist upset as a 13-1 shot, paying $28.20, with Enable off as the odds-on favorite. Enable’s trainer, John Gosden, speculated accurately before Sunday’s race that while his mare has the turn of foot to get the lead, the 1 1/2-mile race may come more down to stamina over the soft Longchamp turf.
Sottsass, the 3-year-old half-brother of champion American turf mare Sistercharlie, ran third in the Arc field of 12, smallest since 2007 — a tribute to Enable’s reign over European racing. Aidan O’Brien’s duo of Japan and Magical filled out the first five.
Enable, who had won the Arc in 2017 and 2018, was seeking an unprecedented third straight victory in the race.