07/26/2007 11:00PM

Utrecht may have edge in Prix d'Astarte


The $343,000 Prix d'Astarte has drawn its usual sterling field of fillies and mares on Sunday, opening day of Deauville's prestigious summer meeting, but the rain-softened ground that is plaguing European racing this season threatens many of the favorites who will line up for Group 1 mile.

With the ground expected to be no better than good to soft, the late-blooming, fast-improving Utrecht may best adapt to the conditions underfoot. The filly, trained by Andre Fabre, ran away with the 1 1/8-mile Group 3 Prix Chloe on similar ground in just her third start on July 1 and should have no trouble with the cutback in distance.

All Is Vanity will attempt to take them all the way, as she did when winning the one-mile Group 2 Prix de Sandringham on June 3. Simply Perfect has already beaten older, taking the one-mile Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on July 11.

Should the ground dry out, Mi Emma and Darjina, second and third behind the uncatchable Indian Ink in Royal Ascot's Group 1 Coronation Stakes, would move up.

Mi Emma had previously won the German 1000 Guineas by nine lengths, while Darjina had beaten Finsceal Beo in the French 1000. But if occasional showers continue to fall at Deauville, their chances will be compromised.