09/20/2007 12:00AM

Literato heads Prince d'Orange

EmailThe Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange is not a race normally associated with the best French 3-year-olds, but in Literato, this Saturday's renewal at Longchamp will feature a horse who could yet make an impact at the international level this fall.

A French-bred son of Kendor trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, Literato has never been worse than second in nine starts, having won seven of them, including the Group 3 Prix La Force at Longchamp in April and the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville in August, both over the 1 1/4-mile Prince d'Orange distance. Between those two races, he finished second in the 1 5/16-mile French Derby, 1 1/2 lengths behind Lawman but ahead of subsequent Group 1 or Grade 1 winners Shamdinan and Zambezi Sun.

Victory in the $111,000 Prince d'Orange could set up the late-running Literato for a try in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 7. His sire, Kendor, the 1989 French 2000 Guineas winner who died earlier this year, is known primarily for milers like Keltos, but was also the sire of 1 3/8-mile Del Mar Handicap winner Bonapartiste, so there is reason to believe Literato can stay beyond 10 furlongs.

He and his rider, Christophe Lemaire, will have to give four to nine pounds to their six rivals, among them the filly All Is Vanity, the winner of the one-mile Group 2 Prix de Sandringham. Still, Literato should add his name to a list of winners that includes Saumarez, who vaulted from his 1990 Prince d'Orange victory to win the Arc itself.