SI Vault
October 19, 1964
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October 19, 1964


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Cy's usual greeting to friends is: "Isn't this a beautiful day?" This time he changed it. "This is the most beautiful day of all," he said.


When an even-money national favorite (Le Fabuleux) finishes 14th and a 16-to-1 shot (Prince Royal II) wins Europe's richest horse race, the $300,000 Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, there are bound to be Gallic shouts of "We wuz robbed," especially since three million Frenchmen bet a record sum of more than $11 million on it. The American-owned, English-bred, French-mounted Italian horse Prince Royal II had only three weeks earlier finished sixth in a six-horse race, the Prix Royal Oak, at the same track.

"What happened?" demanded France-Soir. "Certainly something not normal."

Something quite normal, actually. Rex Ellsworth had bought Prince Royal for $400,000 two days before the Royal Oak, in which he was ridden by Enrico Camici, crack Italian jockey. Previously he had won two major races, including the Gran Premio di Milano, films of which disclosed that he had been ridden under restraint to save him for a smashing finish. Camici tried the tactic in the Royal Oak but the pace was very slow and without rhythm and Prince Royal could not bring it off. Ellsworth's trainer then discovered that the Prince could start fast, stay with the front pack until the stretch, then pull ahead to win. That would be the strategy for the Arc, they decided, and, with a leading French jockey up, that is what Prince Royal did.

Nothing abnormal in that. Just horsemanship.

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