08/12/2012 5:07PM

France: Excelebration takes advantage of Frankel's absence in Jacques Le Marois at Deauville


Even when Frankel doesn’t participate in a Group 1 one-mile race in Europe, his long shadow falls across the proceedings. Such was the case Sunday at Deauville in France, where Excelebration won a strong renewal of the Group 1 Jacques Le Marois by 1 1/4 lengths over Cityscape.

Excelebration became a multiple Group 1 winner while controlling the deepest one-mile Group 1 of the European flat season, but in two recent starts against Frankel, who has beaten Excelebration six times, Excelebration was handed five- and 11-length defeats. In another year, Excelebration might be the leading miler in the world. This year he is, at best, a distant second.

The Jacques Le Marois being a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, Excelebrationed earned a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile as well as travel expenses for the race. Considering Aidan O’Brien trains Excelebration, and that O’Brien runs regularly in Breeders’ Cup races, the colt might well show up in California this fall.

Excelebration got an ideal trip in the straight-course Marois, which was run over a “good” course much less waterlogged than has been the case for much of the Deauville season. Christophe Soumillon rode the winner, replacing Ryan Moore, who missed the mount because of a fall earlier in the day, (Moore is expected to return to action Tuesday). Soumillon positioned his mount just behind pacesetters Cityscape and Elusive Kate. Excelebration moved outside for clear running with about a quarter-mile left in the race, and with Soumillon heartily encouraging, tackled the top pair with about an eighth of a mile to run. Excelebration – surely ecstatic not to see Frankel’s hindquarters churning far in front of him – ran on gamely, edging clear for the biggest win of his career and O’Brien’s first in the Marois.

Cityscape beat Elusive Kate for second by a neck, while Moonlight Cloud was an unlucky fourth, rallying well on the far outside in the late going. Caspar Netscher ran the best race of his life to get fifth, while Golden Lilac (7th), Immortal Verse (8th), and Fallen for You (10th) all disappointed.

O'Brien wins at the Curragh, too

Favored Cristoforo Colombo, trained by Aidan O’Brien, clipped heels and fell with about a furlong left in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes on Sunday at the Curragh in Ireland, but O’Brien won anyway. Pedro the Great scored a 2 1/2-length victory over Leitir Mor in the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

Cristoforo Colombo was reported to have suffered no more than a cut on his leg, while jockey Joseph O’Brien also apparently escaped serious injury.

Nick Gunritz More than 1 year ago
So we should preface every American horse that they are only the best horse in America, this according to Chad Mc rory
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
If that is the case, yes. If a horse is an American or Canadian Champ then that's the credit he gets. If I proclaim the winner of this years' 'Turf Classic' or the Mile the best in the World, would I be right or wrong? And let me throw this in here... If it were Frankel, then yes I would concede and applaud.
Derek More than 1 year ago
.....sorry I realise that was an inflammatory remark.........lol..........but it just shows the world how good Frankel really is.......if there was ever any doubt!
Perl More than 1 year ago
There will always be at least some doubt about Frankel's greatness until he is tested in another country, or at least at a different trip. Obviously he has put in some mind-bogglingly fast performances, but if a horse never faces new circumstances and new challenges than the naysayers will always have something legitimate to hold on to. Personally I think he would put in a smashing performance in the BC Mile, but we'll never know. And that's too bad.
Derek More than 1 year ago
perl, I feel the bc mile wouldn't really prove anything but the classic would......pity they changed the surface back at Santa Anita......they might have considered it if the race was being run on the synthetic.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
In the world? Make that Europe Marcus. That would be accurate reporting.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
what us based mile turfer would beat excelebration?,please dont say wise dan.i actually know this horse well having seen him in person and his maternal grandsire wolf power and i can tell you for a fact hes no wolf power (who i considered one of the best turf milers ive seen) dont get me wrong Wise Dan is a very neat horse and probably the best turf miler in the usa right now,but a cut below horses like Wolf Power and the wolf in his day ran against some very good tough european imports like Spanish Pool and FOVEROS and they sometimes beat him,so to compare a horse like WISE DAN to FRANKEL is delusional and to EXCELEBRATION is at best a stretch,we have already seen what euro third stringers like CAPE BLANCO are cabable of on these shores.
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
Cape Blanco wasn't exactly a third stringer IMO. Track conditions have a lot to do with it, like the saying goes " Any given Sunday or Saturday".
Derek More than 1 year ago
I think Marcus is quite correct with "world".....there is not a horse in the states that would get close to him over a mile on turf......even on your little greyhound tracks
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Obrien Is A Class Act-I Hope He Comes (i Wish His Kid would Come Over @ Ride, Before He Gets Bigger)-lolk-DS
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Sorry Chad, I am an American as well but you vastly overrate our turf horses. Frankel is by FAR the best turf in the world and there is no doubt about it. I saw you post a while back that you think War Front at a mile and Silver Max longer would be a match for Frankel and I literally laughed out loud. Frankel would beat those two by open lengths handily while geared down. Appreciate the chance to be able to watch a superstar as they are really few and far between in this game.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
How About Little Mikes Big Win -Frankel Comes To (-Breeders Cup Or Not #1 In The World-)LOLK-DS-