06/16/2005 11:00PM

French filly reminiscent of Miesque

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Thierry Orban/Deadline Photo Press
Unbeaten 3-year-old filly Divine Proportions, shown winning the Prix de Diane at Chantilly last Sunday, could travel from Europe to New York for this fall's Breeders' Cup races.

On a day that Apollo would have deemed perfect on Mount Parnassus, Divine Proportions brushed elbows with the immortals at Chantilly last Sunday when she cruised to victory in the Prix de Diane, a race aptly named for the ancient Greek goddess of the hunt.

So convincing was her performance that even those who had wagered against her in this French Oaks could not begrudge her triumph. Trainer Pascal Bary and the Niarchos family presented a filly who may well take up the mantle that has remained undraped across any withers since the retirement in 1988 of the great Miesque, two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile.

The connections of Divine Proportions are loath to make such comparisons. Miesque was campaigned by the late Stavros Niarchos and raced in the same blue colors with white cross sashes that are carried by Divine Proportions, and the similarities between the two are obvious.

Divine Proportions has proven herself the best filly miler of her generation, as did her paternal granddam, Miesque, with her own victory in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches in 1987. A daughter of Kingmambo, Divine Proportions has gone Miesque one better by winning the 1 5/16-mile Oaks, something Miesque failed to do when she finished second to Indian Skimmer, also in 1987.

Indian Skimmer won that Oaks off a victory in the Group 1, 1 1/4-mile Prix Saint-Alary three weeks earlier. This year, Divine Proportions was facing Vadawina, the most recent winner of the Prix Saint-Alary, thus setting up a clash between a filly proven at the Diane distance and a champion miler who had never been beyond eight furlongs.

As it turned out, 10 1/2 furlongs is probably an even better distance for Divine Proportions than a mile. As they turned into Chantilly's three-furlong stretch, Vadawina had skimmed the rail to take a narrow lead from Divine Proportions, upon whom Christophe Lemaire had chosen the high road home. At the quarter pole, Lemaire asked the question, and the response was both immediate and decisive. Divine Proportions was quickly four lengths clear of Vadawina, who was struggling in the winner's wake. Lemaire eased up a bit near the line and Divine Proportions's winning margin was reduced to three lengths by runner-up Argentina, but this must still rate as one of the most impressive of all Diane victories.

The winning time of 2:06.30 was the second-fastest in the race's history, eclipsed only by Lypharita's 2:05.90 in 1985.

Sadly, Vadawina suffered a broken bone to her left hind leg, underwent surgery on Tuesday, and is unlikely to race again. However, with Group 1 winner Paita, Group 3 winners Satwa Queen and Perfect Hedge, and the Group 1-placed Argentina all behind, the form of this French Oaks is impeccable.

Now undefeated after eight races, Divine Proportions has won seven group races between five furlongs and 1 5/16 miles, and is the first filly to capture the French 1000 Guineas/French Oaks double since Miesque's daughter East of the Moon in 1994. Befitting one so supremely talented, Divine Proportions will be assigned no easy tasks for the remainder of the season.

Bary and the Niarchos clan won back-to-back Breeders' Cup Miles with Domedriver in 2002 and Six Perfections in 2003, but that race is only one of three Cup options for Divine Proportions this year.

As versatile as she is, she will probably be dropped back to a mile for her next run, the Prix Jacques le Marois against older colts at Deauville on Aug. 14. She may then be asked to go 1 1/2 miles in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on Sept. 11, after which her connections must decide whether to try the very deep waters of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, or leave that to another Niarchos family horse - Bago, the Jonathan Pease-trained defending Arc champ, who is under consideration for either the Breeders' Cup Turf or the Classic.

There is every indication that Divine Proportions can stay 1 1/2 miles, as her broodmare sire, Sadler's Wells, is one of the breed's leading stamina influences.

Depending on future results, Divine Proportions could run in the Breeders' Cup Mile, the Filly and Mare Turf, or the Turf. Her presence alone at Belmont Park on Oct. 29 would be worth the price of admission.