09/17/2010 2:11PM

Well Related 2YO's Go At Longchamp


One of racegoings greatest pleasures is being at Longchamp on any day. But to be there on an offday like the track in Paris's Bois de Boulogne is running on Saturday is one of the most enjoyable pastimes any civilized human being can experience.
Not more than 2,000 people will be at Longchamp on a day featuring two competitive Group 3 contests. One, the 1 1/4-mile Prix du Prince d'Orange for 3-year-olds features three colts trained by Andre Fabre. Two of these, Wealthy and Prince Bishop, are owned by Godolphin, while the third, Lumineux, is owned by the Wertheimer brothers.
Of greater interest is the one-mile Prix des Chenes for 2-year-olds. Won in recent years by subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winners Dalakhani and Bago as well as by current Arc favorite Behkabad, this year's edition features three undefeated colts, among them the Fabre-trained French Navy, a son of Shamardal who was 2-for-2 going a mile at Deauville last month.
Minus the crowds that are the norm on Arc Weekend, a lesser day like Saturday at Longchamp enables one to stretch one's legs, get a close look at the horses in the beautiful, tree-lined paddock, imbibe in a small bottle of Cote du Rhone at the outdoor cafe behind the grandstand, and still have time to mosey over to the betting windows.
But one of the things that sets apart such days at any Parisian track is the undercard, many of which feature some of the best bred but as yet untried youngsters in the Thoroughbred world.
Saturday is a perfect example. In the Prix de Fontenoy, a one-mile test for unraced juvenile colts and geldings, a colt named Maxios is making his debut. Trained by Jonathan Pease for his breeders the Niarchos Family, Maxios is a Monsun half brother to Arc winner Bago. One of his opponents is Juddmonte's Fabre-trained Dramatic Act, a Dansili half brother to this year's Group 2 Prix Greffulhe winner Ice Blue.
But there is more and better on the same card in the Prix de la Cascade, one-mile affair for unraced juvenile fillies. The highlight here is Galikova, a Galileo half sister to 10-time Group 1 winner Goldikova. Trained by Freddy Head for her breeders Wertheimer & Frere, Galikova will be ridden by Olivier Peslier and should have French racing's papparazzi out in force during the preliminaries.
But Galikova may have even more on her plate than Maxios as two of her rivals are also very well-bred. Juddmonte's Warm Hands, trained by Fabre, is an Oasis Dream half sister to Group 2 Prix de Malleret and Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay winner Treat Gently, while Shamardanse, trained by Stephane Wattel for Eric Pokrovsky, is a Shamardal half brother to 1 15/16-mile, Group 3 Prix Gladiateur winner Varevees.
Five half siblings to group race winners in two maiden races is more than we deserve, yet it is a not uncommon occurrence in France, where the breeding of the horses makes betting on them so much more fun.