A Racing Shocker - $120 Bet Nets 10 Grand
 By Wanderin Boy Memorial   •   21st Mar 2011   •   5,857 views   •   14 comments
Handicappers in horse racing can be right or they can be wrong. On March 12, 1988, a horse was born and after one big race this horse had handicappers questioning themselves and wondering “What did I miss?”

This foal was Arcangues. I bet most people don’t know how to pronounce it, that is unless you are French. Arcangues is a village in southwest France. Arcangues is pronounced like ar-KONG. Arcangues was bred by Daniel Wildenstein. His sire was Sagace, winner of the 1984 Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe.

Arcangues - A Racing ShockerArcangues raced in Europe, mostly on the turf (grass). Out of 15 starts he only had 4 wins. The grass courses in France didn’t help with his sore back. He had won the Prix Eugene Adam in 1991, the Prix du Prince d’Orange in 1992 and the Prix d’Ispahan in 1993. Arcangues then headed to the United States. There he would have his first start on the dirt. That race would be the 1993 Breeders Cup Classic.

That’s a tough race for a horse’s first start on the dirt. Not only was this his first race on the dirt, but he would be coming off an undistinguished effort in the Ciga Prix Dollar five weeks earlier, and he would not be ridden by his regular rider. What are the odds of that?

To make things even worse is that Jockey Jerry Bailey, who was riding Arcangues for the first time, couldn’t even understand the instructions in the paddock before the race. Jerry Bailey hadn’t won a race all day, and he was feeling down. The horse was 99-1, and he was afraid that he would just embarrass himself on such a long shot, and that he wouldn’t just trail the field by 100 yards.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic is a huge race and horses from all around the world came to race in it, including horses that won the Belmont Stakes, the Haskell, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pacific Classic, the Super Derby, and many more. But Arcangues was different and he was overlooked.

As the field of 13 came to the far turn, Arcangues who was coming from the back of the pack found his best stride. In the stretch, he flew by the leader who was the favorite, with ease, and drew off by 2 lengths. Tom Durkin the track announcer sounded as though he was about to fall out of his booth as he shouted:

“Here is win it, in an absolute shocker! He’s 99-1 in the 3 million dollar classic!”

“I had never seen him before I stepped into the paddock.” Bailey said after the race, the point when he learned how to pronounce the horse’s name. “Ar-KONG? Well, it was a pleasant surprise. He ran like King Kong today.”

He had beaten the odds. The board would only go to 99-1 but Arcangues was actually 133-1 and the payoff was $269.20. Who would ever bet on a horse with those odds? Well, someone accident. The chairman of Atlantic City Race Course, Bob Levy accidentally hit a $120 bet on the Classic, when he meant to box three horses in the Breeders Cup Turf, which was the race before. He couldn’t get back to the windows in time to change the ticket. So, he had Arcangues, which had the same post position number as the horse that he wanted to win, on top. In the end, he collected $10,154. Arcangues’s victory is the biggest upset in Breeders Cup history, and his $269.20 payoff for a $2 wager still remains a Breeders Cup record. Arcangues also was the only foreign-based winner of the Breeders Cup Classic until Raven’s Pass prevailed in the 2008 Classic.

Arcangues was then sent to a trainer in California, and Jerry Bailey never rode him again. He won only one more race, the John Henry Handicap. He was then retired from racing in the summer of 1994 after finishing 5th in the Hollywood Gold Cup. He retired with a racing record of 19 starts: 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds, with earnings of $1,979,631.

Prior to the 1995 breeding season, Japanese horseman Kazuo Nakamura bought Arcangues from a French syndicate for stallion duty in Japan. So Arcangues was sent to Japan for stud. He sired 264 foals, of which 94 have started and 23 have won, including multiple group II winner Ar Alan. Arcangues was pensioned from stud duty that spring after foundering. In October 2006 he was euthanized. He was 18 years old.

“It is with deep regret that we lost such a great horse who won the Breeders Cup,” said Yutaka Yokoyama, senior manager of the Japan Racing Association’s New York office.

Arcangues will always been remembered as the horse that won the 1993 Breeders Cup Classic. He was the horse that nobody saw coming. You can defiantly say that he beat the odds.

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Great article! Sounds like a one of a kind horse!
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,870 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Fantastic article! :D What a great horse...
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,863 views
Chris Antley Memorial  MOD 
Amazing article!

I love the interview with Jerry Bailey. I had no idea someone accidently betted on him.
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,922 views
No Walkin Farms9  
Wow. Great story. He sounds like he was a great horse.
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,906 views
Wow Awesome article.. I wish i had a horse like that :)
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,896 views
wow that is so amazing!!!!
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,888 views
T E M P E S T  
That's so cool! I've picked a trifecta before, but I didn't bet. :(
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,920 views
That was an awesome article! He is one amazing horse! :D
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,882 views
Awesome article, Iove hearing about these 'underdogs' of the racing world and how they win something even though the odds are way against them
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,865 views
Very cool horse! Great racer!
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,890 views
Great Article I enjoyed the read!
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,881 views
Seven Sins  
amazing story :)
  Mar 21, 2011  •  3,869 views
Untamed Heart  
Great Article
  Mar 23, 2011  •  3,884 views
T W I  
Wow, I had never heard of Arcangues before. I always love hearing stories about horses who beat the odds. :)
  May 7, 2011  •  3,910 views
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