10/03/2008 11:00PM

Favored Paco Boy wins Foret; Yeats fifth in Cadran

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PARIS – Paco Boy presented his Breeders’ Cup Mile credentials at Longchamp on Saturday with a runaway victory in the seven-furlong Group 1 Prix de la Foret.

But members of the syndicate that owns Paco Boy, a 3-year-old son of Desert Style, are split about sending him to Santa Anita for the Cup.

Meanwhile, Yeats suffered his second straight embarrassing defeat, finishing fifth behind longshot winner Bannaby in the 2 1/2-mile, Group 1 Prix du Cadran.

Paco Boy led virtually throughout in the $345,000 Foret, fighting off a challenge from Natagora at the top of the stretch, then drawing clear under Christophe Soumillon for a three-length victory, timed in 1:19.80 on good ground. The clocking is deceptively fast since the seven-furlong course at Longchamp has a downhill start and might actually be a bit short of seven furlongs.

It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to US Ranger in third place with Team Valor’s Captain’s Lover running fourth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths after having been blocked briefly in midstretch. US Ranger wore blinkers for the first time.

Twice a Group 3 winner and once a Group 1 winner at seven furlongs in England, the 3-2 Paco Boy ran third last time out behind Goldikova and Darjina in the one-mile Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.

“Some of the owners [in the Calvera Partnership No. 2] are quite keen to take him to the Breeders’ Cup, but we will have to see,” said Richard Hannon Jr., assistant to trainer Richard Hannon.

“He’s been a seven-furlong horse, but in the end we’ve got to step him up to a mile. He stays in training next year.”

Trainer Pascal Bary was mum about future plans for his 1000 Guineas winner Natagora. This was her fifth straight loss since winning the Newmarket fillies classic, but it was a similar effort to her sixth-place finish in the Moulin, in which she came home 2 3/4 lengths behind third-place Paco Boy.

Yeats was in perfect striking position in third through most of the $345,000 Prix du Cadran but came up empty at odds of 7-10. Kasbah Bliss, ultimately fourth, led briefly but gave way to the Spanish-trained Bannaby and his rider Soumillon, who held off Incanto Dream by a head at 38-1.

The time of 4:14.10 indicates a much-improved effort by Bannaby, the Mauricio Delcher-Sanchez-trained son of Dyhim Diamond who had finished second, six lengths behind race winner Kasbah Blissin, in the Group 3 Prix Gladiateur three weeks earlier. Europe’s leading stayer, Yeats faded to fifth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths in the Prix du Cadran, and trainer Aidan O’Brien had no excuses for his three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner.

Spirito del Vento won the Group 2, $180,000 Prix Daniel Wildenstein for the second time in a row, defeating Sageburg by three-quarters of a length and covering the mile in 1:39.10.

Trincot surprised in the 1 1/8-mile and 155-yard Group 2 Prix Dollar, holding off Loup Breton to win by a head, running the distance in a slow 2:03.50 – more than eight seconds off the track record.

w At Newmarket, Halfway to Heaven handed Darjinto her sixth straight second-place Group-1 finish, winning the one-mile Sun Chariot Stakes for fillies and mares. Trained by O’Brien and ridden by Jamie Heffernan, Halfway to Heaven is a possibility for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, as is Darjina.