05/13/2016 3:32PM

Come Alive, Zarak prime contenders in French 1000 and 2000 Guineas


The French 3-year-olds Come Alive and Zarak are on the exact same career path.

They won maiden races in their first starts on the same program at Deauville on Oct. 22, 2015, and returned this year to win allowance races on the same day at Maisons-Laffitte on April 19. Sunday, they will make their first starts in stakes as leading contenders in the French 1000 and 2000 Guineas at Deauville.

The one-mile races are being run in Deauville this year while Longchamp Racecourse in Paris is under construction. A new grandstand is scheduled to open at Longchamp in September 2017, and the project has led to the relocation of many leading French races this year.

Zarak is part of a field of 13 in the Group 1 2000 Guineas, which has a purse of $621,280. The colt was expected to be this good. By Danzili, Zarak is out of Zarkava, who was unbeaten in seven races, including the 2008 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Zarak is trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre and owned by the Aga Khan, who bred the colt. Christophe Soumillon has the mount. Zarak’s main rival is The Gurkha, a colt by Galileo who won a maiden race in Ireland on April 17 for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Come Alive, owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Andre Fabre, has 13 rivals in the 1000 Guineas, which has a purse of $508,320. Come Alive is likely to be the second choice behind Alice Springs, a Galileo filly who was third in the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1. Trained by O’Brien, Alice Springs was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland last October.

Fabre has a major chance to win Sunday’s $146,840 Prix Hocquart, a Group 2 at 1 1/4 miles on turf for 3-year-olds with Barwod. By Lope de Vega, Barwod was third to Zarak last month at Maisons-Laffitte. The Prix Hocquart could produce starters for the French Derby at Chantilly on June 5.

In the Prix Hocquart, English trainer Richard Hannon starts Ventura Storm, who won the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on April 12, but was last of eight in the Group 3 Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown, Ireland, on May 8.

Japan: Mikki Queen in Victoria Mile

Mikki Queen, winner of the Grade 1 Japanese Oaks in 2015, can win the third Grade 1 race of her career in Sunday’s $1.84 million Victoria Mile for fillies and mares on turf at Tokyo Racecourse.

The Victoria Mile will be the second start of 2016 for Mikki Queen, who was second in the Hanshin Himba Stakes on April 9 to Smart Layer, who is part of Sunday’s field. The race drew 18.

The field includes Straight Girl, a 7-year-old mare who won the 2015 Victoria Mile. She was ninth in the Hanshin Himba Stakes in her first start of 2016.