05/09/2008 11:00PM

Curlin tops Arc nominees

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Horse of the Year and Dubai World Cup winner Curlin was the top name among 148 horses nominated to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Thursday.

The 4-year-old Steve Asmussen-trained Curlin is tentatively scheduled to make his first start since the World Cup in the Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 14, but principal owner Jess Jackson is keen to further enhance his champion's record by running in more major foreign races. In addition to the Arc, which will be run at Longchamp on Oct. 5 at 1 1/2 miles on turf, Curlin is being considered for the Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 30.

Joining Curlin on the list of Arc nominees is last year's runner-up Youmzain; the first two home from last week's 2000 Guineas, Henrythenavigator and New Approach; current French Derby favorite Thewayyouare; and the outstanding 4-year-old fillies Darjina and Peeping Fawn.

This year is the first time that the Arc, widely regarded as the most important race in Europe, will be sponsored by Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich state on the Persian Gulf 230 miles northwest of Dubai. Their partnership with France-Galop will double the Arc's purse from 2omillion euros to 4 million euros, which, at Friday's currency rates, would make the Arc the richest race in the world in U.S. dollars at $6,172,800.