December 5, 2021

Torquator Tasso upsets 100th Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Germany

German star Torquator Tasso proved his 71-1 odds wrong in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Photo by ScoopDyga)

For only the third time in 100 runnings, Germany has captured the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). German Horse of the Year Torquator Tasso, overlooked at 71-1, snatched Sunday’s centennial edition from market leaders Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane.

The first two German-based winners were also longshots. While Star Appeal (1975) was a massive 119-1, the filly Danedream (2011) was a more creditable 20-1 in her course-record conquest.

Torquator Tasso had yet to venture outside his homeland for Marcel Weiss, in just his second year as a trainer. But the Gestut Auenquelle colorbearer had better credentials than his odds implied. Runner-up in last year’s Deutsches Derby (G1) to In Swoop, who later went awfully close in the Arc, Torquator Tasso broke through in the 2020 Grosser Preis von Berlin (G1).

This summer, Torquator Tasso romped second off the bench in the July 3 Grosser Hansa-Preis (G2) and most recently added the Sept. 5 Grosser Preis von Baden (G1) to his resume. Those wins bookended a respectable second in his Berlin title defense, where he left Godolphin’s international campaigner Walton Street back in third. If that still left him with a bit to find on bare form, the son of top German sire Adlerflug figured to handle the heavy going at ParisLongchamp.

Piloted by Rene Piechulek in his first Arc, Torquator Tasso was reserved in mid-division on the outside, flanking 3-1 favorite Hurricane Lane and rail-skimming 4-1 chance Tarnawa. Up front, Broome led narrowly until Adayar strode forward, tracked by Chrono Genesis.

As Adayar made a bold bid for glory and forged clear, Tarnawa was maneuvering in traffic before picking up on the inside, Hurricane Lane altered course to punch between foes, and Torquator Tasso began to gain traction wider out. Chrono Genesis could not maintain her position in deep stretch, and found herself passed on either side by Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane.

Adayar too was tiring from his labors, his margin evaporating in the final yards. No sooner had Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane caught Adayar than they were themselves collared.

Sluicing on best of all was Torquator Tasso, who swept past by three-quarters of a length. The chestnut negotiated about 1 1/2 miles in 2:37.62 and sparked a windfall of $145.

Torquator Tasso earned a free berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Connections have mentioned the Japan Cup (G1), however, as a potential target.

“I’m lost for words,” Weiss told France Galop. “I can’t believe I’ve won this. I started thinking about the Arc over the winter as he had already proven himself to be a class act at three. He has done very well this year, having won at Group 2 and Group 1 level.

“But given the sheer quality of the field for the centenary edition of the Arc, we would have been delighted to be fourth or fifth. The ground helped him. He was able to come with a run on the outside as we had planned.

“I have been training at Mulheim for two years,” Weiss added, “but I have been working for the Gestüt Auenquelle for many years prior to that. The owners of Torquator Tasso turned down some big offers for the horse, and I am delighted to be able to train him. He is a star. We will discuss his future program next week, which may take in Japan.”

A brave Tarnawa nipped Hurricane Lane for runner-up honors. The Aga Khan mare could advance to a Breeders’ Cup Turf title defense at Del Mar, where conditions will be a lot quicker.

“I think the ground was a bit too sticky for Tarnawa,” jockey Christophe Soumillon said. “She came out of the boxes well and we had a dream run. On the false straight I thought it was there for the taking. I had to shift out 300 meters from the post, and when I came to take the lead, I glanced to the left and thought, ‘But it can’t be, where did this one come from?’”

“The sticky ground made the difference,” Tarnawa’s trainer, Dermot Weld, likewise observed. “The mare had a good run on the rails and was right where she needed to be. She didn’t have the required speed at the finish, and she lacked a little something when it came to winning the race, and it’s a shame because all her preparations have gone perfectly, and I was really confident.”

Tarnawa (No. 4, nearest camera) edged Hurricane Lane for second (Photo by ScoopDyga)

Hurricane Run pulled three lengths clear of Godolphin stablemate Adayar, and trainer Charlie Appleby is already looking forward to 2022 with them.

“Hurricane Lane ran a very good race,” Appleby said. “He ran to his usual mark and his effort can’t be faulted. He will make a very good four-year-old, but he has already done very well this season.

“Adayar started well, too well in fact, and he was in front very early on, and he usually likes to have other horses in his sights. When he upped the tempo, he took the lead only to weaken in the closing stages. It’s difficult to kick for home early on sticky ground. I think he’ll stay in training at four, and he’ll be at home over trips ranging from 2,000 to 2,400 meters.”

Sealiway emerged with great credit in fifth, in his first race since chasing St Mark’s Basilica home in the June 6 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) (G1). Also fifth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), the Cedric Rossi sophomore is under consideration for the Turf at Del Mar.

“Before the race one could have thought that Sealiway would need the race,” Rossi said. “One thing is for sure: his fifth place shows us that we are working well.

“It’s obvious that we can dream of trying our luck in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.”

Pauline Cheboub of Sealiway’s camp mentioned Champions Day at Ascot as the other alternative.

Sealiway headed Snowfall, who wound up sixth, a half-length to the good of Chrono Genesis. Bubble Gift, Alenquer, Mojo Star, Broome, Raabihah, Baby Rider, and the distanced Deep Bond concluded the order of finish. Love was scratched Saturday evening after spiking a fever.

Torquator Tasso’s scorecard stands at 11-5-3-1, including placings in last season’s Grosser Preis von Baden and Grosser Preis von Bayern (G1).

Bred by Paul H. Vandeberg, Torquator Tasso was a bargain €24,000 yearling at the BBAG October Sale. The four-year-old is out of the Toylsome mare Tijuana, a half-sister to Group 2 scorer Tusked Wings (by Adlerflug), from the family of multiple Group 3-winning sire Tertullian.

Torquator Tasso’s fourth dam, Allegretta, is best known for producing 1993 Arc heroine Urban Sea, who is herself responsible for the great Galileo and 2009 Arc legend Sea the Stars. Interestingly, Torquator Tasso’s sire, Adlerflug, descends from Allegretta’s full sister, Alya, so his pedigree features the Rasmussen Factor of duplicating superior females.

Arc Day coverage continues here with the other five Group 1s