05/12/2013 12:07PM

Longchamp: Flotilla, Style Vendome earn Group 1 wins


The Breeders’ Cup turf races for 2-year-olds would be considered second-class Group 1 fare by Europhile racing fans, but the 2012 BC Juvenile Fillies is churning out European classic winners this spring.

Last weekend, Sky Lantern, eighth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, won the English 1000 Guineas, and on Sunday at Longchamp, it was Flotilla, the Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine, who captured the French version of that race, the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.

With her stablemate, Sage Melody, helping ensure a strong gallop on the front end, Flotilla rallied from the middle of a 20-horse field to tag the talented filly Esoterique a couple of strides from the finish, winning by a neck. The top two proved much the best, with Tasaday another four lengths behind in fourth.

Mikel Delzangles trained the winner, a daughter of Mizzen Mast, for Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, while trainer Andre Fabre, who had a tough-luck afternoon in Paris, took down the second and third slots. Christophe Lemaire rode the winner, who was timed in a swift 1:34.77 for one mile on surprisingly good ground. The top two finishers both would seem likely candidates for the Prix de Diane, or French Oaks.

In Intello, Fabre probably ran the best horse in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, or French 2000 Guineas, but Intello was done in by a terrible draw in post 18 and a traffic-filled journey, as Style Vendome parlayed an excellent trip into a neck victory over Dastarhon.

The winner, trained by Nicholas Clement and ridden by Thierry Thulliez, sat in a perfect spot just behind the pacesetters while saving ground, making the winning move a little more than a furlong from the finish. Dastarhon was not going to catch him, but Intello would have won in another stride or two.

Held up toward the rear of the field and bottled up on two occasions, Intello stormed home on the far outside with a brilliant late run, giving the impression that he might be the best 3-year-old in France.

Style Vendome, for his part, is proving a very solid performer, and his first Group 1 success gave the son of Anabaa five wins from six starts, including three this season. The winning time in the Poulains was 1:34.68.