10/06/2013 11:47AM

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: Treve shines bright in five-length score over Orfevre


Treve blew away an elite field and now has a chance to go down as one of the best fillies in recent history after winning the Group 1, $6,254,439 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday at Longchamp by five lengths.

Treve, undefeated after five races, became the third straight 3-year-old filly, following Danedream and Solemia, to capture the Arc. Three-year-old fillies get a double weight break for age and sex in the race, and Treve carried 119 pounds compared to 131 for Orfevre, who finished second in the Arc for the second straight year, edging French 3-year-old Intello on Sunday.

Thierry Jarnet rode Treve, picking up the mount last week when Frankie Dettori, aboard for Treve’s win in her Arc prep last month, broke his ankle. It was the second Arc win for the 46-year-old Jarnet, whose other Arc triumph came back in 1994 with Carnegie. Jarnet rode Moonlight Cloud to a spectacular victory in the Prix de la Foret later on Sunday’s card.

Treve also provided trainer Christiane Head-Maarek with her second Arc win. Her first, in 1979 with Three Troikas, was even more distant than Jarnet’s. Head-Maarek, the daughter of legendary French horsemen Alec Head and the sister of former jockey and trainer Freddie Head, had not won a Group 1 race for three years until Treve captured the French Oaks in June.

Treve was bred by Alec Head and owned by the Head family through that Oaks win, but Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar purchased her privately in July, leaving Treve in the care of Head-Maarek, but changing riders from Jarnet, who had ridden Treve in her first three races, to Dettori, Sheikh Joaan’s stable rider. Dettori had ridden Treve to victory in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille last month at Longchamp.

Treve raced only once at 2, owing, her trainer has said, to a variety of minor ailments, but she has done nothing but move forward in four starts this year. Her Arc post position, 15, was thought to be a major impediment to success, with draws inside 10 considered far superior to the outside gates. Indeed, Treve lost a tremendous amount of ground in the race, but that proved no hindrance whatsoever.

As Joshua Tree led through the early and middle stages, tracked by Ocovango and Penglai Pavilion, Treve was held up near the back of an 18-horse field, fanned at least five paths wide around the right-handed bends on the 1 1/2-mile course. Jarnet never could find much cover, and Treve began moving up a half-mile out while still caught very wide. She reached the leaders three furlongs from home, made an early bid to seize command of the race with a quarter-mile to go, and flew through the stretch to win in the most convincing fashion. She was timed in 2:32.04 for 12 furlongs over soft going, and paid $11.60 to win in North American betting.

“She was all the time on the outside, but she’s so good - she’s incredible,” said Head-Maarek. “To do that, to be unbeaten like that, she’s the best I’ve ever had.”

Treve, a daughter of Motivator, might not race again in 2013, but she is expected to return for a 4-year-old campaign next season, though it is difficult to imagine the filly improving much over her blistering 2013 form.

For Orfevre, it was a second straight defeat as the Arc favorite, though this one far less dramatic than last year’s, when he stopped in deep stretch after taking a convincing lead. Orfevre also raced wide throughout his trip Sunday, and was caught in very tight quarters on three occasions during the race’s final five furlongs. But Orfevre had a clean run in the final quarter-mile and could make no ground on Treve, while edging clear of Intello for second.

Three-year-old Intello ran well in defeat, quieting skeptics who thought he would not stay 12 furlongs and finishing a neck clear of Orfevre’s 3-year-old Japanese counterpart Kizuna.

Other notable finishers were Al Kazeem (6th) Ruler of the World (7th) and Flintshire (8th).