This race was first run at Longchamp in 1910 in memory of the Duc de La Force, an eminent member of the Société d’Encouragement. Open for a long time to 3-year-olds and their elders, it was not until 1950 that the Prix La Force was reserved exclusively for 3-year-olds in order to serve as a possible trial for the Prix du Jockey Club.
After being set at 10 furlongs in 1950, the distance has undergone several modifications. It was raised to 11 furlongs from 1956 to 1958, brought back down to 10 furlongs in 1959 and 1960, extended to a mile and a half from 1961 to 1963 and to a mile 5 furlongs in 1964 and 1965, and then reduced again to 10 furlongs from 1966 to 1996. Hiked up to a mile and a half from 1997 to 2000, it was restored to 10 furlongs in 2001, was increased to 10 ½ furlongs in 2011 and was reduced to 10 furlongs in 2012. The Prix La Force has left Longchamp on four occasions, in 2001 and 2002 for Chantilly, and in 2003 and 2004 for Saint-Cloud. It returned to Longchamp in 2005. In 1959, the race produced a dead heat between Simono and Colisée. If 1950 is taken as the starting point, the Prix La Force will be contested for the 64th time in 2013.
The Duc de La Force (1840-1909).
During his diplomatic career, the Duc de La Force (Bertrand Nompar de Caumont) served as French embassy secretary in London, where he gained knowledge of English racing scene and became one of the most valued friends of King Edward VII. An accomplished horseman, he was for a long time a member of the jury of the Société Hippique Française. Under his title of Marquis de Caumont and his colours of black jersey and white cap, he joined forces with the trainer Henry Jennings to race several horses. The best of these were Aurore (1871, with 17 wins in his colours, including two English handicaps – at Newmarket and Leicester –, who went on to foal Achille, a 2nd-place finisher in the Prix du Jockey Club in 1889), Colchique (1872, 2nd in the Poule d’Essai and the Prix Daru), Giboulée (1874, 13 victories as a 3 and 4-year-old) and Mademoiselle Mars (1877, Prix du Petit Couvert and Prix du Gros Chêne). Made a deputy member of the Société d’Encouragement committee in 1880, he became an executive member in 1892, and also served as a steward for three years, between 1898 and 1900.
A brief history.
Winners of the Prix La Force can boast four successes in the Prix du Jockey Club: Sassafras (1970), Dream Well (1998) and Holding Court (2000) and Saonois (2012) ; three in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: Puissant Chef (1960), Topyo (1967) and Sassafras (1970); one in the Grand Prix de Paris: Vespone (2003); and one in the Breeders’ Cup Turf: Kotashaan (1993).
The record of four victories is held by Jacques Wertheimer: Orante (1975), Truculent (1984), Val des Bois (1989) and Kotashaan (1991).
3 Khaled Abdullah: Louis le Grand (1985), The Scout (1987) and Radevore (1996).
2 Marcel Boussac: Aram (1952) and Abgal (1968).
2 Henry Aubert: Puissant Chef (1960) and Silfric (1964).
2 Mme André Magnus: Principino (1965) and Cadmus (1966).
The record of six wins belongs to Mme Christiane Head-Maarek: Fabulous Dancer (1979), Truculent (1984), Louis le Grand (1985), The Scout (1987), Val des Bois (1989) and Kotashaan (1991).
5 André Fabre: Al Nasr (1981), Sifting Gold (1990), Radevore (1996), Magellano (1997) and Simon de Montfort (2010).
5 Jean-Claude Rouget: Art Contemporain (2001), Barastraight (2006), Literato (2007), High Rock (2008) and Baraan (2011).
4 Charles-William Bartholomew: Puissant Chef (1960), Silfric (1964), Topyo (1967) and Olantengy (1977).
4 William Head: Principino (1965), Cadmus (1966) and Mazarin (1969).
3 David Smaga: White Spade (1983), Break Bread (1992) and Percutant (1994).
2 Etienne Pollet: Fastfol (1956) and Currito (1958).
2 Philippe Lallié: Simono (1959, dead heat) and Sanur (1972).
2 François Mathet: Colisée (1959, dead heat) and Sassafras (1970).
2 John Cunnington junior: Millenium (1971) and Un Kopeck (1974).
The record of seven victories is held by Freddy Head: Cadmus (1966), Mazarin (1969), Orante (1975), Fabulous Dancer (1979), Truculent (1984), Louis le Grand (1985) and Val des Bois (1989.
5 Cash Asmussen: Welkin (1988), Sifting Gold (1990), Break Bread (1992), Sin Kiang (1993) and Dream Well (1998).
4 Olivier Peslier: Tzar Rodney (1995), Magellano (1997), Holding Court (2000) and Delfos (2004).
4 Christophe-Patrice Lemaire: Vespone (2003), Literato (2007) High Rock (2008) and Baraan (2011).
3 Alfred Gibert: Sanur (1972), Nemr (1980) and Al Nasr (1981).
2 Maurice Larraun: Sémillant (1953) and Malatesta (1954).
2 Bernard Margueritte: Flush Royal II (1957) and Simono (1959, dead-heat).
2 Maurice Philipperon: Millenium (1971) and Un Kopeck (1974).
2 Guy Guignard: Kotashaan (1991) and Percutant (1994).
2 Thierry Jarnet: Radevore (1996) and Art Contemporain (2001).