08/16/2003 11:00PM

Six Perfections captures Prix Jacques le Marois


DEAUVILLE, France - Six Perfections, mildly imperfect when second in her last three starts at the Group 1 level, achieved perfection of a sort at Deauville on Sunday when she narrowly defeated stablemate Domedriver in a thrilling renewal of the Prix Jacques le Marois.

Her short neck victory at 2.80-1 was a reward for the faith that trainer Pascal Bary has kept in the 3-year-old daughter of Celtic Swing after a trio of heartbreaking losses in the 1000 Guineas, the Irish 1000 Guineas and the Prix d'Astarte. And while Bary can be joyful over Six Perfections' performance, he should be relieved at the effort of Domedriver who, after three badly disappointing runs, was returning to the form that had seen him win the Breeders' Cup Mile.

The Jacques le Marois is a touchstone for Breeders' Cup winners. Miesque won it in 1987 and 1988 leading up to her two victories in the Mile. Spinning World preceded his Mile win in 1997 with a victory here. In 2001, runner-up Banks Hill graduated to win the Filly & Mare Turf, and last year Domedriver was second in the Marois on the road to his Mile triumph.

But will either Six Perfections or Domedriver be at Santa Anita for this year's Mile? According to the Niarchos Family's racing manager Alan Cooper, we won't know for some time yet.

"The plan now is to keep them separate for the time being," Cooper said. "We have the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Sept. 7 and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Sept. 27 before the Breeders' Cup."

So it will be at least six weeks before we know if one or another, or both, of them will be coming to America.

Ridden in timely fashion by Thierry Thulliez, Six Perfections was clocked in 1:38.30 over the straight mile on good to soft ground. In third was Japanese invader Telegnosis with Godolphin's 7-5 choice Dubai Destination fifth and Juddmonte's French Oaks winner Nebraska Tornado sixth.

But now that she has gotten over the hump, Six Perfections deserves a position as the Breeders' Cup Mile favorite all of the others.