10/02/2015 2:01PM

Longchamp: Breeders’ Cup berths up for grabs in three Group 1 stakes


There are seven Group 1 races on Sunday’s nine-race program at Longchamp Racecourse, annually the highlight of racing on the French calendar. Three races on the undercard for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe are part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program and may produce runners for Breeders’ Cup races at Keeneland on Oct. 30-31.

Aside from the Arc, which is worth $5.6 million, the richest Thoroughbred race is the $448,000 Prix de l’Opera for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf. The winner will receive a fees-paid berth in the BC Filly and Mare Turf on Oct. 31, provided she is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program.

There is no standout runner in the Prix de l’Opera, which drew a field of 13. Covert Love, the winner of the Group 1 Irish Oaks in July, is one of eight 3-year-old fillies in the field, along with Jazzi Top, the winner of the Group 2 Prix de la Nonette at Deauville in August.

The top races for 2-year-olds are run at a mile on turf – the $392,000 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and the $336,000 Prix Marcel Boussac for fillies.

The Prix Marcel Boussac is led by Antonoe, the unbeaten winner of the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale at Chantilly in France on Sept. 8, and Ballydoyle, trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Antonoe, trained by Pascal Bary, won her debut at Deauville in August, beating Qemah, who returned to win an allowance race at Longchamp on Sept. 3 and is part of the Boussac field. Ballydoyle was second in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh on Sept. 13, finishing behind stablemate Minding.

The winner will earn a berth in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf on Oct. 30.

Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing has three of the 11 runners in the Jean-Luc Lagardere – Herald the Dawn, who was second in the Group 1 National Stakes at The Curragh on Sept. 13; Ultra, a sharp allowance race winner at Longchamp on Sept. 9; and Cymric, an allowance race winner at Sandown Park in England on Sept. 16.

O’Brien starts Johannes Vermeer, who won the Group 3 Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown in Ireland on Sept. 12. The winner will have a fees-paid berth for the BC Juvenile Turf on Oct. 30.

The shortest race of the day is the $392,000 Prix de l’Abbaye at a straightaway five furlongs on an infield turf course. The race drew a field of 19, including Mecca’s Angel, who won the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in England in August; and Move In Time, the winner of the 2014 Prix de l’Abbaye.

In other Group 1 races, the stakes-winning 3-year-olds Taniyar, of France, and the English import Limato can win the most prestigious races of their careers in the $336,000 Prix de la Foret at seven furlongs.

Taniyar, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, was a Group 3 stakes winner at Longchamp last month, while Limato was a stakes winner in September at Doncaster in England. The 6-year-old Custom Cut is capable of a win for trainer David O’Meara.

The longest race of the day is the $336,000 Prix du Cadran at 2 1/2 miles. Clondaw Warrior, who won the Ascot Handicap at Royal Ascot in June and was second in the Doncaster Cup last month, is part of a field of 11.