06/29/2003 11:00PM

Odds-on favorites lose Euro stakes


The Irish Derby victory of Alamshar over the odds-on Dalakhani on Sunday can be credited to last minute veterinary care imported from France, while Sulamani's flop in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud the same day left observors wondering what had gone wrong with the 7-10 favorite.

On Friday morning trainer John Oxx doubted whether Alamshar, the third-place finisher in the Epsom Derby, would be able to line up at the Curragh for the Irish Derby. The Key of Luck colt was suffering from a bad back and Oxx considered him only 50-50 for the $1.48 million classic.

A call to Chantilly and chiropractor Dr. Marc Baudoux was on his way to the Curragh to tend to Alamshar. Problem solved, Alamshar wore down Dalakhani after a duel through the Curragh stretch to give the Aga Khan not only the first two places, but his fifth victory overall in Ireland's greatest race, thus tying him with his grandfather for most Irish Derby wins.

Christophe Soumillon found himself in the lead aboard the previously undefeated French Derby winner Dalakhani entering the three-furlong stretch, but Johnny Murtagh and Alamshar hooked them at the quarter pole. Alamshar led 100 yards out to record a half-length victory while getting the twelve furlongs in 2:28.20 on good ground as the 4-1 second choice. The 150-1 Roosevelt, one of six Aidan O'Brien-trained runners, was third, 3-1/2 lengths behind Dalakhani while Epsom Derby runner-up The Great Gatsby was fifth.

Giving all credit to Dr. Baudoux, Oxx suggested that Ascot's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes on July 26 for a rematch with Kris Kin could be next on Alamshar's agenda.

The King George is also the next race for Sulamani, who failed to quicken as he came home fifth behind the ever-improving Ange Gabriel at Saint-Cloud. Sulamani's Godolphin team suffered a second setback when their pacesetter Millstreet was disqualified from third to sixth for interference.

The infraction moved Sulamani up to fourth but that was little consolation. The 2-1 Ange Gabriel successfully defended his Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud crown by defeating Polish Summer by half a length for trainer Eric Libaud. The Kaldounevees 5-year-old has now won six of his last seven starts, the one loss coming when he was second to Sulamani in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Ange Gabriel, who clocked 2:30.90 for the mile and a half on good ground, could join Alamshar, Kris Kin and Sulamani in the King George, or he could wait until the Sept. 14 Prix Foy, a course and distance prep for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

* Rakti, the Gary Tanaka-owned runner-up to Nayef in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, is being seriously considered for the Arlington Million by trainer Michael Jarvis, who said that the Polish Precedent 4-year-old would not have a prep if he does travel to Chicago for the August 16 contest.