08/31/2012 12:25PM

Frankel's finale will come in Champion, not Arc de Triomphe


After turning over the possibility of sending Frankel to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the connections of the world’s best horse have decided to stick to their original plan and run Frankel in the Champion Stakes on Oct. 20 at Ascot.

The Champion, a Group 1 over 1 1/4 miles that until last year was contested at Newmarket, is expected to be the career finale for Frankel, who has won all 13 of his starts. It had long been in the plans for Frankel’s 2012 campaign, but following Frankel’s blowout victory in the Aug. 22 Juddmonte International, his first start beyond a one-mile trip, the idea of trying the 1 1/2-mile Arc at least came briefly into play. The Arc is Europe’s most prestigious race, and it would have showcased Frankel racing outside England for the first time.

But the more daring path was put aside in favor of Frankel remaining well within his comfort zone. Frankel won the about 1 1/4-mile Juddmonte by seven lengths and is the antepost 1-10 favorite to capture the Champion over what figures to be another overmatched collection of rivals.

Danedream defends title in Germany

The world-class filly Danedream, winner of the 2011 Arc, will defend her title Sunday at Baden-Baden in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden, the race that first pointed her out as a standout runner last year.

In her most recent start, Danedream scored a scintillating nose victory over Nathaniel in the Group 1 King George Stakes on July 21 at Ascot. That performance marked a strong rebound after Danedream had labored home fourth a month early in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, and moved her back into the picture as a major player for the 2012 Arc.

Danedream won the 2011 Grosser Preis von Baden by six lengths while racing over a boggy course. Conditions on Sunday are expected to be good, but Danedream needs no particular going, having won last year’s Arc in devastating fashion while running on a course baked hard by heat and drought.

Danedream, ridden by Andrasch Starke for trainer Peter Schiergen, will have seven rivals in the 1 1/2-mile Grosser Preis von Baden. By far the most interesting of them is Pastorius, who has moved far forward this summer for trainer Mario Hofer. Pastorius was an upset winner over 13 rivals on July in the Group 1 German Derby and was even more impressive in a subsequent start. Moving up to face older rivals in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis- Bayerisches Zuchtrennen, a 12-furlong race July 31 at Munich, Pastorious scored a seven-length victory, albeit over no rival anywhere near the class of Danedream.