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Orfevre coasts to Prix Foy win

9/18/2013

Japanese star Orfevre will get a second crack at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe after capturing the Qatar Prix Foy for the second straight year Sept. 15 at Longchamp.

The Prix Foy is the Arc trial for older horses, and Orfevre won comfortably from 15-1 outsider Very Nice Name, coasting across the finish line by three lengths while covering 2,400 meters (about 1 ½ miles) in 2:41.47 on soft turf.

Japan's 2011 Horse of the Year won last year's Prix Foy by a length from Meandre in his tuneup for the Arc, but in the main event, filly Solemia swept past him in the final strides in a heartbreaking upset.

Following a win by Kizuna in the Prix Niel earlier on the card, Japan will be represented by two top contenders in this year's Arc. Japan-based runners have failed to deliver a victory in Europe's top middle-distance race on 11 previous attempts.

Making his first start in 5 ½ months since winning a Group 2 race in March at Hanshin, Orfevre was eager to race early under Christophe Soumillon, who settled in third to stalk fellow Japan runner Stellar Wind. The 5-year-old Stay Gold horse was ready to rally when asked and secured the easy win in the final furlong.

The Prix Foy/Arc double has been achieved in the same year by only two horses: Allez France in 1974 and Sagace in 1984. Exbury won the 1962 Prix Foy and took the Arc the following year.

The Arc is set for Oct. 6 at Longchamp, and Orfevre shares earlier favoritism with Treve, who won the Prix Vermeille earlier on the card. Both are pegged at 4-1 with bookmaker Paddy Power. Bookmaker William Hill cut Orfevre's previous 5-1 odds to 11-4.

Trained by Yasutoshi Ikee for owner Sunday Racing Co., Orfevre, who is out of the Mejiro Queen mare Oriental Art, improved to 10 wins, four seconds, and a third from 17 career starts.

Three-time European classic winner Camelot was withdrawn from the Prix Foy due to the rain-softened ground conditions. Trainer Aidan O'Brien said he could be an Arc starter if the ground conditions are satisfactory on raceday at Longchamp.