07/13/2007 11:00PM

Zambezi Sun stays up despite incident


PARIS - In what will be recorded as one of the most controversial stewards' decisions ever, Zambezi Sun was allowed to keep his victory in the $830,000 Grand Prix de Paris on Saturday, despite his rider, Stephane Pasquier, seemingly causing an accident that led to Kieren Fallon being flipped from his mount, Eagle Mountain.

Zambezi Sun galloped to a five-length victory in Longchamp's Group 1 Bastille Day centerpiece, but hardly had he crossed the line in the 1 1/2-mile event when the inquiry whistles started blowing. On the backstretch, a half-mile from the start of the race, Kieren Fallon lay prostrate after his brutal fall, which appeared to be the result of a banging incident in which Zambezi Sun ran on to Eagle Mountain's back. Fallon had looked over his left shoulder a moment beforehand to warn Pasquier away, but the Frenchman paid no attention. In the next instant, Fallon was on the ground.

The race was further complicated when Axxos lugged in in midstretch, cutting off Sagara. Sagara recovered somewhat to finish a neck third with Airmail Special fourth. The loose horse, Eagle Mountain, crossed the line behind Zambezi Sun and ahead of Axxos, after having intimidated virtually every other horse in the race.

The stewards debated the case for an hour, only to let the result stand. When Pasquier re-entered the winner's enclosure to receive his trophy, he was greeted with a loud and long round of catcalls from a very disgruntled crowd, which was all the angrier because Zambezi Sun is owned by Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, the longtime sponsors of the Grand Prix de Paris.

Pascal Bary, the trainer of Zambezi Sun, has no immediate plans for his Grand Prix winner, but a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 7 must surely be in the cards. A maiden and allowance winner in three previous starts, Zambezi Sun had previously finished fourth in the Prix du Jockey-Club, or French Derby, won by Lawman.

Sent off as the 1.90-1 favorite Saturday, Zambezi Sun, a son of Dansili, covered the 12 furlongs in 2:31.60. The ground was officially labeled good to soft, but it had been drying out throughout an afternoon that saw the Parisian racing public become nearly as upset as the revolutionaries who stormed the Bastille 218 years ago.