06/15/2012 1:48PM

France: Beauty Parlor looks like real deal entering French Oaks at Chantilly


The undefeated 3-year-old filly Beauty Parlor is quietly being mentioned in the same breath as the great Irish-bred, French-raced filly Zarkava, who was retired in 2008 unbeaten in seven starts.

Zarkava won two races at age 2, then captured the Prix de la Grotte and the French 1000 Guineas before winning the French Oaks. Beauty Parlor won two races at 2, began her 2012 campaign with a big win in the Prix de la Grotte, and won the French 1000 Guineas by one length last month. Sunday at Chantilly, Beauty Parlor continues along the Zarkavian path when she starts as the favorite in the Group 1 French Oaks.

Beauty Parlor, owned by the Wildenstein Farm, trained by Elie Lellouche, and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, is a daughter of the Japanese stallion Deep Impact. She will have a pacemaker, Best of All, for Sunday’s race, and can be expected to improve going a little more than 1 1/4 miles, her first start beyond one mile.

Expected to mount the most serious challenge to Beauty Parlor is one of three Aga Khan-owned horses, Dalkala, Sagawara, and Valyra. Jockey Christophe Lemaire, the Aga Khan’s contract rider, had his choice of mounts and selected Dalkala, who has won all three of her starts. She is trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, a six-time winner of the French Oaks. In contrast to Beauty Parlor, who has won over shorter trips, Dalkala never has raced at a distance less than nine furlongs, winning the Prix Cleopatre last month rather than trying the 1000 Guineas. Sagawara won the Group 1 Prix St. Alary last month but was no match for Beauty Parlor when they met last September.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien has two horses for the race: Up was second to Beauty Parlor in the French 1000 Guineas, while Kissed won a listed stakes at Navan in her lone start at 3.