06/13/2010 12:00AM

Sarafina still unbeaten after taking French Oaks


Sarafina remained undefeated as she led a one-two in finish for her stable in the $971,000 Prix de Diane at Chantilly on Sunday, giving her owner, the Aga Khan, and trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre their sixth tandem victory in the classic French Oaks.

Kept clear of the bumping matches which plagued 4-1 second choice Deluxe along the rail through the stretch, Sarafina rallied from sixth under Christophe Lemaire in the nine-runner field to lead approaching the furlong pole. From there, she stayed on well to defeat stablemate Rosanara by 1 1/2 lengths with Sandbar third, another 1 1/2 lengths behind. the luckless Deluxe came home fourth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths by Sarafina, the 7-10 favorite. The time for the 1 5/16 miles on a soft but drying out turf course was 2:07.80.

Both Sarafina and Rosanara were aided by their entrymate Valasyra, who cut out some sharp early fractions. By Refuse to Bend, who won the 2000 Guineas and the Queen Anne Stakes at a mile and the Eclipse Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, Sarafina is a half-sister to Sanjida, who finished second in the Prix Saint-Alary, the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 race in which Sarafina had previously beaten Deluxe by a half-length.

Rosanara, who won the one-mile, Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac last fall, was improving off her run in the French 1000 Guineas in which she was placed fourth, having finished just a length behind the disqualified Liliside. Sandbar, who most recently won the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre, lost for the first time in four starts.

There is every reason to believe that Sarafina will develop into a top-class filly in the nature of last year's Diane winner Stacelita, although she seems more inclined to be a 10-furlong type. She is likely to receive the typical summer vacation almost all French Oaks winners receive to be prepared for a race such as the Prix de l'Opera.

The previous five Aga Khan/Royer-Dupre Prix de Diane winners were Shemaka (1993), Vereva (1997), Zainta (1998), Daryaba (1999), and Zarkava (2008).

* Fuisse continues to make progress. Runner-up to Le Havre in last year's French Derby, after which he was sidelined by injury for the remainder of the season, Fuisse won the Group 3, $97,000 Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord, defeating Vertigineux by three- quarters of a length.

Sent off as the 9-10 favorite and ridden by Christophe Lemaire for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, Fuisse was timed in 1:36.90 for one mile. He had previously captured Longchamp's listed, one-mile Prix de Montretout, a race in which he defeated subsequent Longchamp seven-furlong course record setter Dalghar by three lengths. Fuisse will now be aimed at the one-mile, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Aug. 15 and a possible meeting with Goldikova.