Juddmonte’s Enable made history on Saturday as the first horse to win both the Arc de Triomphe and the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same season, but the 4-year-old daughter of Nathaniel did not find it easy in either start. She won the Arc by 2 1/2 lengths in 2017, but an injury early in 2018 had her making this year’s Arc just her second start of the season. Enable managed to hold off Sea of Class by a short neck to defend her title, and she had another tough test beneath the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.
Two days of rain during the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup had the turf course quite soft, and though jockey Frankie Dettori had galloped her on it Wednesday through Friday, Enable still struggled with the course through most of the 1 1/2-mile contest.
“I was a bit further back than I wanted to be,” Dettori said of the early part of the race, when Enable was as far back as seventh in the 14-horse field. “From the bend to the back straight, I was four-wide. I felt that the ground was much worse on the inside, but I didn’t have the novelty to be wide with the draw. I was drawn two, and she didn’t break that well. Then the pace was on straightaway. I was trying to get off the fence. But was still quite kind of pinned on the fence coming into the first turn.
“I was struggling to keep my position. She was shuffling with the legs. She was spinning. I was kind of struggling to keep my position. I managed to get up off the fence, then she was moving good again. She was happy. She wasn’t struggling.”
Enable tracked the early pace of Glorious Empire through fractions of :24.65, :49.11 and 1:14.22 over ground officially rated as “good.”
“We were going pretty fast for a mile-and-a-half on soft ground,” said Dettori. “I knew that pace couldn’t keep up. So then I was just waiting for her to give me the message she was ready to go. I kept my arm inside. The only one that can give me a race is Magical. I said to myself just wait, let her fill herself up with oxygen, then we’ll wait till the straight. Obviously Magical took me on pretty early.”