Updated on 09/17/2011 10:43PM

Alkaased pulls surprise


Alkaased scored a 6-1 surprise in the $480,000 Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on Sunday as the favored Bago was beaten into third with Yeats far behind in ninth.

Yet victory for the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Kingmambo was not entirely unexpected. The winner in May of Newmarket's Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes over the same 1 1/2-mile distance as this race, the Luca Cumani trainee had been outpaced late when second to Yeats in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom four weeks ago. In the Jockey Club, Alkaased had beaten last year's Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner Gamut. On Sunday his margin of victory was two lengths over last year's runner-up, Policy Maker.

But questions will surely be forthcoming concerning the 6-5 Bago, whose stunning victory in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe landed him 3-year-old European championship honors. On Sunday he was losing for the second time after having taken the Group 1 Prix Ganay in his seasonl debut. The Niarchos Family's racing manager Alan Cooper had worried about any rain that might cause sticky ground at Saint-Cloud, but the good to soft ground that prevailed cannot serve as a valid excuse for Bago's subpar effort. In tight briefly in mid-stretch, he was up for third by a neck form Elvstroem, but was beaten four lengths by Alkaased, who was given a picture-perfect ride by Frankie Dettori.

Neither was there any apparent excuse for Yeats, who had finished 2-1/2 lengths in front of Alkaased in the Coronation Cup. Indeed, this race, in which Alkaased clocked 2:31.30 for the 1 1/2 miles, may have effected a changing of the guard at the top of the older horse middle distance division.