With rain pelting the Paris area and more expected this weekend, trainer Aidan O’Brien scratched standout 3-year-old filly Love from Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. In so doing, O’Brien dropped the favorite’s tag on two-time Arc champion Enable.
O’Brien’s decision came after weather forecasts predicted more rain for the already saturated ParisLongchamp turf. He told reporters he scratched the 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks champion before Thursday morning’s draw to give jockey Ryan Moore a shot at another mount.
“We had to make the decision today because there was no other stage after this,” O’Brien told The Guardian. “If Ryan was declared to ride her, he couldn’t then ride anything else, so we had to make the decision today.”
Along with that, O’Brien told the Racing Post running Love on such a soft track could wreak long-term havoc on his prize filly. Not that it was an easy call, even for one of the world’s greatest trainers.
“Her whole year had been geared to it so it was a difficult decision but we felt we didn’t have much choice in the end as we felt it might finish her for the rest of her season,” he told the Racing Post.
Put That Meeting of Present and Future Top Distaffs On Hold
Instead, the scratch deprives race fans of seeing two of Europe’s best distaffs – Love and Enable – tangle on one of the world’s great racing stages. That will wait as Love’s next encounter is likely the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland next month – not a bad alternative.
Love’s defection means O’Brien sends four charges to Paris, all of whom sport double-digit odds: Epsom Derby winner Serpentine (11/1), Japan (12/1), Mogul (16/1) and Sovereign (40/1). Moore will ride Mogul.
Meanwhile, the uncertainty on whether Love would or would not run the Arc removed her favorite tag earlier this week. After winning the Epsom Oaks, Love took that tag from Enable in early July. She was bet down to 5/2 in some markets and remained the favorite until this week. O’Brien’s statements about possibly holding Love out – combined with the rain — inflated her odds to 3/1, then 7/2.
Enable’s Odds for Arc Hat Trick Plummet
Now, say hello to your new favorite – 6/5 Enable. The 6-year-old mare captured this race in 2017 and 2018, before Waldgeist upset her three-peat bid last year. Her chances for the Arc hat trick improved with grabbing the advantageous post 5 in Thursday’s draw.
Enable is no stranger to soft turf. She captured the 2017 King George Stakes at Ascot on spongy turf. But that was as a 3-year-old. As a 5-year-old at last year’s Arc, Enable’s turn of foot didn’t handle the soft ParisLongchamp ground as well. That’s how Waldgeist reeled her in over the last furlong.
This season, Enable is 2-for-3, with victories in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes July 25 and the September Stakes early last month.