Pour Moi hadn’t even crossed the finish line before the jockey stood straight up in the saddle and waved his whip in celebration.
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Lucky for 19-year-old Mickael Barzalona, Pour Moi completed a thrilling rally to win the $2 million English Derby by a head over Treasure Beach at Epsom on Saturday.
Carlton House, the 5-2 favorite owned by Queen Elizabeth II finished third, a length behind.
The winning riders’ unusual display cost him a one-day suspension for excessive use of the whip and drew a stewards’ warning for celebrating before the finish.
It was worth it. Not only did Pour Moi became the first horse bred in France to win Britain’s richest race since 1976, it gave Barzalona and veteran trainer Andre Fabre their first victories in the 1-1/2-mile race.
”Obviously, it’s a pleasure to win this race with a young jockey and in front of a big crowd,” the French trainer said.
Pour Moi was the 4-1 second betting choice. He rallied from last to first over the final three furlongs to nip 25-1 shot Treasure Beach at the wire. Carlton House was in the mix in the stretch but came up short in the reigning monarch’s 10th attempt to win her first Derby since her coronation in 1952.
As Treasure Beach made his move to overtake leader Memphis Tennessee, Carlton House and Pour Moi began to power through the field.
Treasure Beach passed a tiring Memphis Tennessee and appeared to have the race won before Pour Moi came charging down the middle of the course to pull out the win in a photo finish.
”It was always the plan to stay at the back. The horse likes coming from behind,” said Barzalona. ”I’ll continue doing that in the future.”
Carlton House was declared fit despite a late scare over a swelling in his leg and ran a stirring race for the queen, who was in the crowd at Epsom for the most prestigious of the five classics in Britain’s flat-racing season.
The last monarch to win the race was King Edward VII, who owned 1909 winner Minoru.