04/28/2013 5:46PM

France: German-based Pastorius takes Prix Ganay


Arc winner Danedream has gone off to a second career as a broodmare, but there is a new German player in top-level European middle-distance races to replace her. Pastorius, based in Germany with trainer Mario Hofer, won the first Group 1 of the European flat-racing season while making the first start of his 4-year-old campaign, capturing the Prix Ganay on Sunday at Longchamp by one length over Maxios.

Settling third behind his stablemate and pacemaker Point Blank, Pastorius moved quickly to engage for the lead when asked for run by jockey Olivier Peslier about a quarter-mile from the finish of the 1 3/16-mile Ganay. Pastorius struck the front a little more than a furlong from the finish and held clear an inside challenge from the improving Maxios. Globe-trotting Dunaden turned in a typically solid performance to finish another length back in third, while Giofra disappointed, lacking late spark and settling for fourth. Saonois, the 2012 French Derby winner, and Prix de l’Opera winner Ridasiyna also ran below their best, finishing fifth and sixth.

Pastorious, a German-bred by Soldier Hollow, hinted at this kind of breakthrough in 2012. He won the Group 1 German Derby in July, finished a decent third behind Danedream in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden, and completed his campaign with a respectable fourth to Frankel, Cirrus des Aigles, and Nathaniel in the Group 1 Champion Stakes on Oct. 20 at Ascot. Frankel has been retired, Cirrus des Aigles is aging and not yet back in action, and for Pastorius, who might not yet be fully exposed, the Ganay might prove more point of departure than peak performance.