An integral part of the autumn calendar at Longchamp since 1882 and originally known as the Prix du Rond Point, the name of the race was changed in 2002 in homage to one of the leading figures of French racing in the second half of the 20th century.
The distance of the race has been changed many times: 1 mile 3 furlongs: 1882-1890; 1m 2½f: 1903-1908; 1¼m: 1891-1902 and 1909-1920; 1m ½f: 1922-1952 and 1958; 1m: 1921, 1953-1957 and since 1969, 7f: 1959-1968. The race was cancelled from 1914-1919, and in 1939-1940. It was moved to Maisons-Laffitte in 1943 and to Tremblay in 1944. The 1886 race finished in a dead heat between Souci and Jaguar. The race record belongs to Homing who covered the 1-mile course in 1' 35'' 60/100 in 1978. The race will be held for the 125th time in 2014.
Daniel Wildenstein (1917-2001).
A highly prominent figure in the art world, Daniel Wildenstein was also one of the most eminent personalities of French racing in the latter part of the 20th century. He was the only owner in the history of the sport in France to have taken the national laurels in all three disciplines: flat, jump racing and harness racing.
Wildenstein finished champion owner for the first time in 1969, doing so in both flat and over jumps. However, this was merely the prelude to a remarkable era of domination in which he took eight other flat racing titles and 13 in jump racing, a grand total of 23 in all. But that was not all. Such was his passion for competition that Wildenstein decided to try his hand at the third discipline of the sport in France, harness racing. So successful was he that between 1994 and 2000 he garnered seven harness racing owners’ titles, taking his overall haul across the sport to an incredible 30, and earning him the distinction of being the only owner to win titles across the board in France.
In 1963, following the death of his father Georges in June that year, son Daniel took over the family stables founded 40 years earlier and sought to take them in a new direction. The family colours (blue silks, light blue cap) had been no stranger to success, winning the Grand Prix de Deauville (Charlemagne in 1929 and Rieur in 1930), the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (Kant in 1935), the Prix Royal Oak (Buisson d'Or in 1953), the Grand Criterium (Beau Prince II in 1955) and the Prix Jacques Le Marois (Balbo in 1957). None of the stable’s horses had kicked on to become champions, however, and the blue silks had never graced the winner’s enclosure in France’s top three races: the Prix du Jockey Club, the Grand Prix de Paris and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
It was at this point that Wildenstein gave free rein to his passion, embarking on his quest for the major races and to own a champion horse. Crucially, he possessed the one rare virtue necessary to achieve such a goal – patience, the patience of a collector, a virtue so often lacking in his industrialists-cum-owners. He thus embarked on a search for raw materials, for mares with an outstanding lineage, secure in the knowledge that by biding his time and buying in sufficient quantity over the next few years, he would have the finest broodmares regularly providing him with high-quality progenies within two or three generations.
After a painstaking selection process, it was the likes of Fighting Edie (1956), Petite Saguenay (1961), Moonmadness (1963), War Path (1963), Almyre (1964), Schonbrunn (1966) and Lupe (1967) who would, along with the support of Calliopsis (1954), a horse inherited from his father, lay the solid foundations of Daniel Wildenstein’s breeding empire. It was something of a global enterprise, based as it was initially in Normandy (the Victot and Verrieres farms) before extending to Ireland (Killeen Castle Stud), Kentucky (Spendthrift Farm and then Three Chimneys Farm), Yorkshire (Nid Hall Stud), with further studs being bought in Normandy (Mezeray, Etreham and Jedburgh) before the final acquisition in 2000, the Bois Roussel stud. Wildenstein-bred horses bore two different labels: Dayton Ltd for those born in Europe, and Allez France Stables for those reared in the USA.
Over the hears, his most heartfelt wishes would be fulfilled. In 1972 the legendary filly Allez France made her Longchamp debut, going on to claim 12 of her 13 victories at the famous course, including Wildenstein’s first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
In 1976, three horses sporting the blue silks, Flying Water, Pawneese and Crow, made off with three of the five English Classics, catapulting Daniel Wildenstein into the elite of owner-breeders on the other side of the Channel. Only two other Frenchman had pulled off such an achievement: Comte Frederic de Lagrange in 1865 and Marcel Boussac in 1950 and 1951.
Other high points:
1983: his second Arc de Triomphe win with All Along, the prelude to a triumphant tour of North America that led to the filly being named Horse of the Year. In her memory, Wildenstein built a dirt track at the training course at Lamorlaye.
1984: a third Arc de Triomphe courtesy of Sagace. The Breeders' Cups were also run for the first time that year, with Wildenstein’s famous blue silks triumphing on two subsequent occasions: the 1989 Mile with Steinlen; and the 1993 Classic with Arcangues.
1996: the trotter Cocktail Jet wins the most sought-after race at Vincennes: the Prix d'Amerique.
1997: despite his astounding success, there were still three major races missing from the ever-demanding Wildenstein’s roll of honour: the Prix du Jockey Club, the Grand Prix de Paris and, over jumps, the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris. The truly outstanding Peintre Celebre did his bit by winning the two missing flat races, the champion going on to secure his owner’s fourth Arc de Triomphe, ensuring his status as the best horse ever to wear the family colours since the creation of the stable in 1923.
27 May 2001: five months before his death, Wildenstein finally fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition when Kotkijet, a superb jumper, brought home the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, the top race at Auteuil. The blue silks were flying high again two weeks later when Aquarelliste secured her owner’s fourth Prix de Diane. Later that June, the Wildenstein empire harvested a third Group I win, this time in harness racing, when Jardy took the Prix du President de la Republique at Vincennes.
Some of Wildenstein’s finest performers on the flat were as follows: Felicio (1965), Don II (1966), Faraway Son (1967), Allez France (1970), Ashmore (1971), Lianga (1971), Mount Hagen (1971), Broadway Dancer (1972), Buckskin (1973), Crow (1973), Flying Water (1973), Pawneese (1973), Madelia (1974), Waya (1974), All Along (1979), Strawberry Road (1979), Sagace (1980), Vin de France (1982), Steinlen (1983), Epervier Bleu (1987), Victoire Bleue (1987), Arcangues (1988), Danseuse du Soir (1988), Pistolet Bleu (1988), Bigstone (1990), Freedom Cry (1991), Miss Tahiti (1993), Peintre Celebre (1994), Aquarelliste (1998).
And over jumps: Air Landais (1970), Top Gear (1972), Paiute (1973), Grandak (1977), World Citizen (1977), Video Tape (1978), Villez (1992), Vaporetto (1993), Indien Bleu (1995) and Kotkijet (1995).
French Group I flat races won by Wildenstein’s horses (name of each race followed by the number of victories): Abbaye de Longchamp, 1; Arc de Triomphe, 4; Cadran, 6; Criterium de Saint-Cloud, 2; Diane, 4; Foret, 5; Ganay, 3; Grand Criterium (Jean-Luc Lagardere), 3; Grand Prix de Paris, 1; Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, 4; Ispahan, 5; Jacques Le Marois, 4; Jean Prat, 2; Jockey Club, 1; Lupin, 2; Marcel Boussac, 2; Maurice de Gheest, 2; Morny, 1; Moulin de Longchamp, 3; Poule d'Essai des Poulains, 1; Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, 3; Royal Oak, 2; Saint-Alary, 3; and Vermeille, 5.
Wildenstein’s mounts claimed 13 Group I wins in England:
Ascot, Pawneese (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes 1976) and Bigstone (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 1993); Doncaster, Crow (St Leger Stakes 1976) and Hello Gorgeous (Racing Post Trophy 1979); Epsom, Pawneese (Oaks Stakes 1976) and Crow (Coronation Cup 1978); Goodwood, Bigstone (Sussex Stakes 1993); Haydock Park, Lianga (Haydock Park Sprint Cup 1975); Newbury, El Rastro (Lockinge Stakes 1976) and Belmont Bay (Lockinge Stakes 1981); Newmarket, Flying Water (One Thousand Guineas 1976, Champion Stakes 1977); and Lianga (July Cup 1975).
Rouge Sang also won the Gran Premio di Milano in 1976.
Wildenstein’s colours triumphed in 14 Grade I races in North America: Breeders' Cup Classic (Arcangues 1993); Breeders' Cup Mile (Steinlen 1989); Arlington Million (Steinlen 1989); Bernard Baruch Handicap (Steinlen 1989); Budweiser International (All Along 1983); Caesars International Handicap (Lyphard's Wish 1980; Steinlen 1990); Flower Bowl Handicap (Waya 1978); Hollywood Turf Handicap (Steinlen 1990); John Henry Handicap (Arcangues 1994); Man O'War Stakes (Waya 1978); Rothmans International Stakes (All Along 1983); and the Turf Classic Stakes (Waya 1978, All Along 1983).
Total number of wins in Group I flat races: 69 in France and 28 abroad, a total of 97 in all. After his death, Daniel Wildenstein’s work was continued by his eldest son Alec under the name, Ecurie Wildenstein (Wildenstein stables). The three Group I wins secured by Aquarelliste (Prix Ganay) and Bright Sky (Prix de Diane and Prix de l'Opéra) in 2003 took the Wildenstein dynasty’s total number of wins in the world’s top races to 100. Upon the death of Alec in February 2008, the running of the family stable has been taken over by his brother Guy.
Two recent books have focused on the Wildenstein family, one tracing their prolific dealings in the art world, Marchands d'Art (an interview between Daniel Wildenstein and Yves Stavrides, Editions Plon, 1999), and the other their horse racing activity, Les Bleus, 1923-2000 (written by Guy Thibault, not available in bookstores).
The record of four victories is held jointly by Emile Deschamps: Champosoult (1894), Estragon (1896), Gorenflot (1898) and Vangoyen (1913) ; and Godolphin: Fly to the Stars, (1998), Kabool (2000), China Visit (2001) and Echo of Light (2006).
3 Jean Prat: Mounbeou (1920), Campra (1931) and Relique (1933).
3 Mahmoud Fustok: Hilal (1980), Ya Zaman (1982) and Magical Wonder (1986).
2 Michel Ephrussi: Precy (1883) and Lezard (1909).
2 Auguste Lupin: Mahmoud (1884) and Halbran (1888).
2 Edgard de la Charme: Cameleon (1889, 1890).
2 Leon Olry-Roederer: Elysee (1907) and Joyeux V (1911).
2 Paul Wertheimer: Select (1922) and Ultra Violet (1930).
2 Marcel Boussac: La Moqueuse (1928) and Bunker (1950).
2 Jean Stern: Sanguinetto (1936) and Saint Preux (1938).
2 Gaetan Romeo: Le Meridional (1955, 1957).
2 Comtesse de la Valdene: Aquilla II (1963) and Musical (1964).
2 Prince Karim Aga Khan: Embellie (1965) and Prince Jet (1970).
2 Daniel Wildenstein: Faraway Son (1971) and Monsanto (1976).
2 Jacques Wertheimer: Wolverton (1979) and Pink (1985).
2 Hamdam Al Maktoum: Waajib (1987) and Alhaarth (1996).
2 Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum: Golden Opinion (1989) and Arazi (1992).
2 Chalhoub Stables: Special Kaldoun (2003, 2005).
2 Luigi Ciampi: Spirito del Vento (2007, 2008).
The record of four victories is held jointly by Richard Count: Champosoult (1894), Estragon (1896), Capo d'Istria (1897) and Gorenflot (1898) ); and Saeed Bin Suroor: Fly to the Stars, (1998), Kabool (2000), China Visit (2001) and Echo of Light (2006).
3 George Rothera: Mahmoud (1884), Halbran (1888) and Cigare (1892).
3 Henry Harper: La Moqueuse (1928), Campra (1931) and Relique (1933).
3 Etienne Pollet: Aquilla II (1963), Musical (1964) and Canadel (1966).
3 Francois Mathet: Embellie (1965), Rockress (1969) and Prince Jet (1970).
3 Francois Boutin: Nonoalco (1974), Delmora (1975) and Arazi (1992).
3 David Smaga: Daeltown (1981) and Special Kaldoun (2003, 2005).
3 Andre Fabre: Duke of Silver (1984), Golden Opinion (1989) and Cacique (2004).
2 George Cunnington: Precy (1883) and Abdy (1901).
2 Thomas Cunnington: Cameleon (1889, 1890).
2 Charles Bartholomew: Kiss (1900) and Pyreneen II (1908).
2 Eugene Leigh: Xenophon (1904) and Select (1922).
2 Willy Carter: Elysee (1907) and Joyeux V (1911).
2 Frank Carter: Marvel (1921) and Rarity (1934).
2 Richard Carver: Pacific (1926) and Ksarinor (1952).
2 Charles Bartholomew Junior: Ultra Violet (1930) and Angelico (1932).
2 Albert Roberts: Sanguinetto (1936) and Saint Preux (1938).
2 Alexandre Lieux: Epi d'Or VII (1945) and Fine Top (1953).
2 William Head: Adios (1947) and Lemmy (1967).
2 John Cunnington: Clarion (1948) and Princess Arjumand (1973).
2 Olivier Leonard: Le Meridional (1955, 1957).
2 Arthur Bates: Petite Caille (1959) and Montevideo II (1968).
2 John Cunnington Junior: Pharly (1977) and Pampabird (1983).
2 Mitri Saliba: Hilal (1980) and Ya Zaman (1982).
2 Mme Christian Head-Maarek: Pink (1985) and In Extremis (1988).
2 Pascal Bary: Bistro Garden (1991) and Domedriver (2002).
2 Jean-Marie Béguigné: Spirito del Vento (2007, 2008).
The record of five victories is held jointly by Yves Saint-Martin: Embellie (1965), Rockress (1969), Prince Jet (1970), Faraway Son (1971) and Monsanto (1976); and Lanfranco Dettori : Decorated Hero (1997), Fly to the Stars, (1998), Kabool (2000), China Visit (2001) and Echo of Light (2006).
4 Freddy Head: Lemmy (1967), Daring Display (1972), Wolverton (1979) and Pink (1985).
3 Tom Lane: Souci (1886, dead heat) and Cameleon (1889, 1890).
3 James Dodd: Estragon (1896), Capo d'Istria (1897) and Gorenflot (1898).
3 Alfred Gibert: Hilal (1980), Ya Zaman (1982) and Duke of Silver (1984).
3 Dominique Boeuf: Shaanxi (1995) and Special Kaldoun (2003, 2005).
3 Olivier Peslier: Spirito del Vento (2007, 2008) and Royal Bench (2010).
2 A.E. Dodge: Integre (1882) and Gibraltar (1895).
2 George Stern: Marechal Niel (1902) and Le Horo (1906).
2 William O'Connor: Amalecite (1905) and Lezard (1909).
2 Jack Jennings: Vangoyen (1913) and Mounbeou (1920).
2 Everett Haynes: Select (1922) and Ultra Violet (1930).
2 Arthur Esling: Pacific (1926) and Angelico (1932).
2 Charles Semblat: Mysarch (1929) and Rarity (1934).
2 Andre Rabbe: Relique (1933) and Nonant le Pin (1944).
2 Guy Duforez: Sanguinetto (1936) and Saint Preux (1938).
2 Jean Laumain: Treacle (1941) and Puymirol (1942).
2 Henri Signoret: Mitchouby (1943) and Ksarinor (1952).
2 Roger Poincelet: Adios (1947) and Le Mioche (1956).
2 Leon Flavien: Eppi d'Or VIII (1951) and Fine Top (1953).
2 Gerard Thiboeuf: Tangation (1958) and Mienne (1960).
2 Jean Deforge: Aquilla II (1963) and Canadel (1966).
2 Maurice Philipperon: Pharly (1977) and Pampabird (1983).
2 Cash Asmussen: Golden Opinion (1989) and Voleris (1993).
2 Christophe Soumillon: Cacique (2004) and Tamazirte (2009).