09/13/2009 12:00AM

Controversial DQ at Longchamp


Controversy raged at Longchamp on Sunday when Andrew Lloyd-Webber's British invader Dar Re Mi was disqualified from first in the Prix Vermeille in favor of the French-bred, French-trained, and partially French-owned Stacelita.

Dar Re Mi came with a determined late drive under Jimmy Fortune to cross the line a short neck in front of Stacelita and Christophe Lemaire, but the stewards judged that in the process she had bumped Soberania, who had finished fifth, a length behind Dar Re Mi in a blanket finish. The decision to demote Dar Re Mi was so unpopular that the Parisian crowd booed Stacelita's connections as they mounted the paddock stand to receive the winner's trophy.

The official result of the Group 1, $435,000 filly and mare trial for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe had the 9-10 Stacelita first, Plumania second, Board Meeting third, Soberania fourth and the luckless Dar Re Mi fifth. Stacelita, who held a narrow lead from the three-sixteenths pole until the final strides, had no contact with Dar Re Mi. Indeed, Dar Re Mi's contact with Soberania was minimal. The winning time for the 1 1/2 miles on good ground was 2:29.10.

So French Oaks winner Stacelita, who is trained by Jean-Claude Rouget and owned by American Martin Schwartz in partnership with Ecurie Monastic, remains undefeated after six career starts, although her record will now have a large asterisk hanging over it. The John Gosden-trained Dar Re Mi, who prior to Sunday's contretemps had won a pair of Group 1's, the Pretty Polly Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks, has the world's sympathy but not the Vermeille.

Representing her husband, Lady Lloyd-Webber was livid after the decision, telling the Racing Post, "Why would anyone bring top horses to race in France when you risk this happening on a whim? Dar Re Mi won fair and square - everyone knows that."

Yet it is possible that Dar Re Mi will return to Longchamp on Oct. 4 for the Arc and a chance for revenge upon Stacelita, although they would both be facing the formidable presence of Sea the Stars that day.

There were two other course and distance Arc preps at Longchamp on Sunday. Cavalryman won the Group 2, $189,000 Niel for 3-year-olds, while Spanish Moon scored in the Group 2, $189,000 Prix Foy for older horses.

Running for Godolphin although trained in France by Andre Fabre, the 2-5 Cavalryman and Frankie Dettori held off the late charge of Beheshtam by a half-length, getting the 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.10. The winning son of Halling had previously accounted for Longchamp's Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris and will have a pair of course and distance victories under his belt when he lines up for the Arc.

The Michael Stoute-trained Spanish Moon, who is banned from racing in Britain because he has so often refused to enter the starting gate, was troublesome again prior to the start of the Foy. Yet when finally loaded under Ryan Moore, he led after the first quarter mile and never looked back, defeating Vision d'Etat by three-quarters of a length as part of a 9-10 Juddmonte entry with third-place Crossharbour. Spanish Moon and Vision d'Etat were having their first starts since June when Spanish Moon took the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Vision d'Etat the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes. The winning time for the Foy was 2:28.70. Spanish Moon is being considered for the Arc but could be re-routed to the Canadian International on Oct. 17, according to Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe.

After Sunday's action, William Hill's revised prices for the Arc are Sea the Stars, 3-2; Fame and Glory, 4-1; Conduit and Stacelita, who will be supplemented to the Arc, both at 7-1; Cavalryman, 9-1; Vision d'Etat and Sariska, 14-1, Getaway and Spanish Moon, 16-1.