09/10/2009 11:00PM

Stacelita looks to stay perfect in Prix Vermeille


Stacelita is the headline attraction Sunday when Longchamp conducts three course and distance preps for the 1 1/2-mile Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The undefeated filly will be a deserved short-price favorite in the Group 1, $437,000 Prix Vermeille, the big race trial for fillies and mares that was taken last year by subsequent Arc winner Zarkava.

Stacelita has not only been perfect but sensational to boot, her achievement somewhat overshadowed this season by the exploits of Sea the Stars. Yet some have compared her to Zarkava and with good reason. She won the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary by six lengths in May and was even more impressive when landing the 1 5/16-mile Prix de Diane, or French Oaks, by four lengths in her most recent appearance on June 14. Possessed - like Zarkava - with instant acceleration, the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained daughter of Monsun is 5 for 5 lifetime, her combined margin of victory, 18 lengths.

Owned in partnership by Martin Schwartz and Ecurie Monastic, Stacelita is Ladbrokes's co-second favorite for the Arc at 4-1 and is listed as the 7-1 fourth choice with many British bookies for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Fresh from the usual summer vacation accorded to French classic winners, she will be ridden by Christophe Lemaire.

If she is to be beaten, it could be by Dar Re Mi. Bred and owned by composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber, she finished two lengths second to Zarkava in last year's Vermeille and has been tearing them up in England of late. Trained by John Gosden, Dar Re Mi earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf with her victory in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes on June 27, then beat English and Irish Oaks winner Sariska in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks. Jimmy Fortune rides the 4-year-old Dar Re Mi, who has never been worse than third in 12 career starts.

Recent Deauville winners with a chance are Armure, who is coming off a tally in the 1 9/16-mile, Group 2 Prix de Pomone, and Kalla, who took the Group 3 Prix Minerve at the same distance.

* The Group 2, $189,000 Prix Foy for older horses features the return of Vision d'Etat, the ultra-game winner of the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17. The Eric Libaud-trained winner of last year's Prix Niel, Vision d'Etat will be ridden by Olivier Peslier in attempting to turn back a strong Khalid Abdullah entry of Spanish Moon and Crossharbour.

The Michael Stoute-trained Spanish Moon looks like a classic Arc dark horse. A nose second in the Dubai Sheema Classic, he next won the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. His Andre Fabre-trained entrymate Crossharbour returned from a 10-month absence on Aug. 15 to take Deauville's 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Prix Gontaut-Biron.

* In the Group 2, $189,000 Prix Niel for 3-year-old colts and fillies, Cavalryman will attempt a repeat of his course and distance Group 1 victory in the Grand Prix de Paris on July 14. Trained by Fabre for Godolphin, Cavalryman will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. His Godolphin stablemate Claremont, by Sadler's Wells out of 2003 Vermeille winner Mezzo Soprano, looks dangerous off his win in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 Prix du Lys at Chantilly on June 14, but the Aga Khan's highly regarded Beheshtam has much to prove following his sixth-place finish in the Grand Prix de Paris.