04/07/2005 11:00PM

Euro season gets under way

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NEW YORK - The Royal Ascot meeting running at York and a French Derby cut in distance to 1 5/16 miles are the newfangled features of a nascent European racing season that will include the return of equine luminaries Bago, Doyen, Ouija Board, Soviet Song, and Attraction.

The erection of a new grandstand at the venerable Ascot required the transfer of all of the track's meetings to other racecourses this year. The June 14-18 Royal Meeting, for example, will be squeezed into York, 200 miles north of its usual home.

In France, trainers will have to readjust their regimens to prepare their charges for Chantilly's June 5 Prix du Jockey-Club, or French Derby, which has had 1 1/2 furlongs cut from its 170-year-old distance of 1 1/2 miles.

The new, shorter classic has been fattened purse-wise from $1.3 million to $1.9 million, while the Prix de Diane, or French Oaks had its purse raised from $600,000 to $1 million.

All eyes will be directed towards Longchamp on April 24, for the first European Group 1 race of the season, the Prix Ganay. The 1 5/16-mile race will feature the return of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner and European 3-year-old champion Bago.

Trainer Ed Dunlop is preparing his Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Ouija Board for a June 3 return in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. Soviet Song is being pointed by trainer James Fanshawe to either the Lockinge Stakes against males at Newbury on May 14 or a trip to Ireland for a defense of her Ridgewood Pearl Stakes title at the Curragh a week later.

On the classic front, Godolphin's Dubawi holds down favoritism for both the 2000 Guineas at 3-1 and the Epsom Derby at 5-1.

The Pascal Bary-trained filly Divine Proportions, undefeated winner of two Group 1 races last year, is currently co-favorite with the David Wachman-trained Damson for the 1000 Guineas. Kitty O'Shea, a recent six-length winner of a Curragh listed race for trainer Aidan O'Brien, has moved into 8-1 co-favoritism for the English Oaks with the John Gosden-trained Fillies Mile winner Playful Act.

In France, Cinderella act Helios Quercus hopes to advance his provincial credentials for the French Derby in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud on May 16.

In Italy, a fiscal crisis has led to a 9 percent decrease in prize money. Italy has high hopes for Electrocutionist, who lost his undefeated status in a heartbreaking second to German Derby winner Shirocco by a nose in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club last October.

European Group 1 stakes

DATETRACKRACEDIST./COND.
April 24Longchamp (Fr)Prix Ganay1 1/16m 4yo+ c&f
April 30Newmarket (GB)2000 Guineas Stakes1m 3yo c&f
May 1Newmarket (GB)1000 Guineas Stakes1m 3yo f
May 14Newbury (GB)Lockinge Stakes1m 4yo+
May 15Longchamp (Fr)Poule d'Essai des Poulains1m 3yo c
May 15Longchamp (Fr)Poule d'Essai des Pouliches1m 3yo f
May 21Curragh (Ire)Irish 2000 Guineas1m 3yo c&f
May 22Curragh (Ire)Irish 1000 Guineas1m 3yo f
May 22Longchamp (Fr)Prix d'Ispahan1m 4yo+
May 22Longchamp (Fr)Prix Saint-Alary1 1/4m 3yo f
May 22Capannelle (Ity)Derby Italiano1 1/2m 3yo c&f
May 22Curragh (Ire)Tattersalls Gold Cup1 5/16m 4 yo
June 3Epsom (GB)English Oaks1 1/2m 3yo f
June 3Epsom (GB)Coronation Cup1 1/2m 4yo+
June 4Epsom (GB)Epsom Derby1 1/2m 3yo c&f
June 5Chantilly (Fr)Prix du Jockey-Club1 5/16m 3yo c&f
June 5Hamburg (Ger)Preis der Diana1 3/8m 3yo f
June 12Chantilly (Fr)Prix de Diane1 5/16m 3yo f
June 14*York (GB)St James's Palace Stakes1m 3yo c
June 14*York (GB)Queen Anne Stakes1m 4yo+
June 15*York (GB)Prince of Wales's Stakes1 1/4m 4yo+
June 16*York (GB)Ascot Gold Cup2 1/2m 4yo+
June 17*York (GB)Coronation Stakes1m 3yo f
June 18*York (GB)Golden Jubilee Stakes6f 3yo+
June 18San Siro (Ity)Oaks d'Italia1 3/8m 3yo f
June 19San Siro (Ity)Gran Premio di Milano1 1/4m 4yo+
June 25Curragh (Ire)Pretty Polly Stakes1 1/4m 3yo+ f&m
June 26Curagh (Ire)Irish Derby1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
June 26Saint-Cloud (Fr)Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud1 1/2m 4yo+
July 2Sandown (GB)Eclipse Stakes1 1/4m 3yo+
July 3Chantilly (Fr)Prix Jean Prat1 1/8m 3yo
July 3Hamburg (Ger)Deutsches Derby1 1/2m 3yo c&f
July 5Newmarket (GB)Falmouth Stakes1m 3yo+ f&m
July 7Newmarket (GB)July Cup6f 3yo+
July 14Longchamp (Fr)Grand Prix de Paris1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
July 17Curragh (Ire)Irish Oaks1 1/2m 3yo f
July 23Newbury (GB)King Geo. VI & Qn. Elizabeth Diamond Stakes1 1/2m 3yo+
July 24Dusseldorf (Ger)Deutschland-Preis1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
July 27Goodwood (GB)Sussex Stakes1m 3yo+
July 30Goodwood (GB)Nassau Stakes1 1/4m 3yo+ f&m
July 31Deauville (Fr)Prix d'Astarte1m 3yo+ f&m
July 31Munich (Ger)Bayerisches Zuchtrennen1 1/4m 3yo+ c&f
August 7Deauville (Fr)Prix Maurice de Gheest6 1/2f 3yo+
August 7Curragh (Ire)Phoenix Stakes6f 2yo c&f
August 14Deauville (Fr)Prix Jacques le Marois1m 3yo+ c&f
August 14Cologne (Ger)Rheinland-Pokal1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
August 16York (GB)Juddmonte International Stksa1 5/16m 3yo+
August 17York (GB)Yorkshire Oaks1 1/2m 3yo+ f&m
August 18York (GB)Nunthorpe Stakes5f 2yo+
August 21Deauville (Fr)Prix Morny6f 2yo c&f
September 3Haydock (GB)Haydock Park Sprint Cup6f 3yo+
September 4Longchamp (Fr)Prix du Moulin de Longchamp1m 3yo+ c&f
September 4Baden-Baden (Ger)Grosser Preis von Baden1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
September 4Curragh (Ire)Moyglare Stud Stakes7f 2yo f
September 10Leopardstown (Ire)Irish Champion Stakes1 1/4m 3yo+ c&f
September 10Doncaster (GB)St Leger Stakesa1 13/16m 3yo c&f
September 11Longchamp (Fr)Prix Vermeille1 1/2m 3&4yo f
September 17Curragh (Ire)Irish St Leger1 3/4m 3yo+
September 18Curragh (Ire)National Stakes7f 2yo c
September 24Newmarket (GB)Queen Elizabeth II Stakes1m 3yo+
September 24Newmarket (GB)Fillies Mile1m 2yo f
September 25Cologne (Ger)Preis von Europa1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
September 29Newmarket (GB)Cheveley Park Stakes6f 2yo f
September 30Newmarket (GB)Middle Park Stakes6f 2yo c
October 1Longchamp (Fr)Prix de la Foret7f 3yo+ c&f
October 1Newmarket (GB)Sun Chariot Stakes1m 3yo+ f&m
October 2Longchamp (Fr)Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
October 2Longchamp (Fr)Pr de l'Abbaye de Longchamp5f 2yo+ c&f
October 2Longchamp (Fr)Prix de l'Opera1 1/4m 3yo+ f&m
October 2Longchamp (Fr)Prix Marcel Boussac1m 2yo f
October 2Longchamp (Fr)Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere7f 2yo c
October 2Longchamp (Fr)Prix du Cadran2 1/2m 4yo+
October 15Newmarket (GB)Champion Stakes1 1/4m 3yo+
October 15Newmarket (GB)Dewhurst Stakes7f 2yo c&f
October 15San Siro (Ity)Premio Vittorio di Capua1m 3yo+ c&f
October 16San Siro (Ity)Gran Premio del Jockey Club1 1/2m 3yo+ c&f
October 16San Siro (Ity)Gran Criterium1m 2yo c&f
October 22Doncaster (GB)Racing Post Trophy1m 2yo c&f
October 23Longchamp (Fr)Prix Royal-Oak1 1/16m 3yo+ c&f
October 23Capannelle (Ity)Premio Lydia Tesio1 1/4m 3yo+ f&m
October 30Saint-Cloud (Fr)Criterium International1m 2yo c&f
November 6Capannelle (Ity)Premio Roma1 1/4m 3yo+ c&f
November 12Saint-Cloud (Fr)Criterium de Saint-Cloud1 1/4m 2yo c&f

*Royal Ascot at York