In a race billed as a battle between Epsom Derby winner Camelot (GB) and Japanese Triple Crown champion Orfevre (JPN), it was the French trained Solemia (IRE) that stole the show with a last gasp, neck victory over Orfevre in the final strides. Masterstroke finished third and Haya Landa (FR) rounded out the top four.
Orfevre's defeat was a crushing blow to the Japanese contingent as they looked to have finally won their first Arc after many attempts over the past decade. Inside the final quarter mile, Orfevre sprinted away from the field and looked to be a certain winner. But Solemia and Olivier Peslier just kept running and running and running through the final yards, surging past the Japanese champion in the final strides to win Europe's biggest prize.
Solemia raced near the front of the pack in the early stages while Orfevre was at the rear of the 18 horse field. As is typical in the Arc, the pace was soft through the early stages with few horses showing any intent of making a move towards the front. As the field entered the stretch, Solemia raced fourth along the rail and appeared to be laboring under jockey Olivier Peslier. Orfevre went to the front with style and class, looking like a sure winner with under 100 yards to the line. But Solemia appeared to pick up her stride once Orfevre went by and, from there, the race was on.
Solemia is a four-year-old filly by Poliglote (GB) out of a Shirley Heights (GB) mare (Brooklyn's Dance (FR)).
The ground at Lonchamp on Sunday was rated as "Heavy" and appeared to be exceptionally slow and testing for the horses all day long.
Below are the payouts from the 2012 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe:
WIN: 10-Solemia (IRE) ($83.00, $14.00)
PLACE: 6-Orfevre (JPN) ($5.80)
SHOW: 14-Masterstroke ($8.80)
$2.00 EXACTA: (10/6) $586.40
$2.00 QUINELLA: (6/10) $181.80
$2.00 TRIFECTA: (10/6/14) $4,110.60