10/05/2009 11:00PM

Will wonder horse run again?

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Edward Whitaker/Racing Post
Sea the Stars, on left defeating Rip Van Winkle in the Eclipse Stakes, is the toast of Europe after winning last weekend's Arc.

TUCSON, Ariz. - Someone has this wrong, and I don't think it is the Europeans.

In this country, the New York Times ran the story as one short paragraph, in a box titled Sports Briefing, next to a picture of 105 surfers riding the same wave simultaneously in Cape Town, South Africa, in a quest for a spot in Guinness's world records.

In Europe, the story of Sea the Stars winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris set the racing press ablaze, with hyperbolic headlines proclaiming the 3-year-old colt the greatest racehorse in the world, and in some accounts the greatest of all time.

He is a sensation overseas, having done something no colt has ever done before by winning three of Europe's greatest races - the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, the Epsom Derby, and the $5.8 million Arc, and six grade 1 stakes in all, one a month, without a loss.

Here is a sampling of how Britain's imposing racing press headlined the story:

* The Guardian: "Sea the Stars could be the greatest ever"

* The Telegraph: "Sea the Stars's Arc win makes him a true 'once in a lifetime' champion"

* The Scotsman: "Sea the Stars breathtaking in Arc win," and a second story, "Sea the Stars in historic Arc glory"

* The Independent: "Supreme Stars proves light years ahead of his rivals"

* The Times of London: "Mick Kinane [his jockey] unruffled as Sea the Stars flouts wisdom with tour de force"

* Scmp.com: "Arc glory for Tsui's superstar Sea the Stars"

The "Tsui" in that headline is a major part of this Hollywood racing fairy tale. He is Christopher Tsui, the handsome 27-year-old Hong Kong businessman who owns the wonder horse, now worth tens of millions.

Young Tsui completes an unlikely entry of an Irish horse, a Chinese owner, an English hero, and a French classic, along with the brilliant 50-year-old Irish jockey Michael Kinane, who rode the horse dramatically with incredible confidence.

Add to that international mix John Oxx, the man who trains the champion colt. He calls Sea the Stars "the ultimate achievement in 300 years of Thoroughbred breeding in Ireland."

Around his yard in Kildare, as in all the racing countries of Europe, the question now is, will Oxx and Tsui send their champion to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup next month?

Neither was saying.

Oxx told the authoritative At the Races, "We haven't had any discussion as we never discuss the next race until we get past the first one. We'll let the dust settle and have a think. We are not ruling it out. We haven't had time to discuss it yet."

Tsui will make the final decision, and he hinted that his brilliant colt may have run his final race. He made clear that if he and Oxx decide the Breeders' Cup would be too much to ask their great colt, Sea the Stars would be retired and not race next year.

Recounting the emotional moment of seeing him win the Arc, Tsui said, "This race has a strong emotional attachment for my family, because this is where it all started back in 1993 with Urban Sea," the dam of Sea the Stars.

"I was just a 12-year-old then and the experience is quite different this time. It brings back a lot of memories. They say I'm the youngest owner to win an Arc now, but the owner is not myself, it's my family."

And it happens to be their only horse.

Kinane gave them moments of worry before elation. He was far back early, encountered heavy traffic in the 19-horse field, then found a wedge of daylight in the stretch and thundered through to win by two lengths. Trainer Oxx said of Kinane's ride and his remarkable horse, "There was a bit of a scrimmage early on and he got a bump which set him alight. He comes alive when he leaves the stalls. He's very professional and enthusiastic, but when he got the bump, he did take off a bit and I was concerned for a furlong or two as he was further back than we might have liked."

Rival trainer John Gosden said of Sea the Stars, "He's just so laid back. Not only is he a great equine athlete, he just couldn't give a damn."

There was immediate speculation, following the undefeated season, how much Sea the Stars might be worth. Marcus Armytage, writing in the Telegraph, said, "It will not be an accountant who ultimately puts a price on his head. It would be an enormous surprise if Christopher Tsui, the luckiest 27-year-old in the world, does not receive a phone call from Sheik Mohammed al Maktoum's operation in the near future. Mr. Tsui can name his own price."

Armytage also wrote, "With a fair wind behind him, it would be fantastic to see him cross the pond and annihilate the Americans in the Breeders' Cup."

Come now, Marcus. Be civil. We resolved that issue 233 years ago.