20 Things You Didn’t Know About The Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe

The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is France’s most famous flat race. If you have ever dabbled in the racing world then chances are you are already aware of it – it is one of the longest standing races in the racing calendar, and it attracts thousands of horses, trainers, jockeys and punters from around the globe, every year.

In case you don’t know much about it or you would like to know more, here are a few fun facts about France’s favorite race.

The Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe Interesting Facts

The Prix De l'Arc De Triomphe Interesting Facts

1. It was first run in 1920. The very first Arc was held on a Sunday, October the 3rd, and it has continued to be run around the first weekend of October ever since. This was initially to give the horses a chance to mature over the racing season.

2. Because it followed on closely from WW1, the Arc is named after the Arc de Triomphe, which was where the Allies held a victory parade in 1919.

3. The first winner was Comrade, a three year old colt, who netted the grand sum of 150,000 francs before the days of a shared Europe wide currency.

4. This is Europe’s second most prestigious horse race, behind only the Epsom Derby. It has been described as being “not a race, it’s a monument!” – and this is true in so many ways.

5. It is run over 2,400m (about 1 1/2 miles).

6. The Arc has been held at Longchamps, in Paris, every year except for during WW2 – it was cancelled entirely in 1939 and 1940, and after a bombing occurred during a race in 1943 it was held at the now defunct Le Tremblay.

7. The race is open to colts, fillies and mares of three years old and up. Geldings were historically forbidden, as the race was originally designed to show off French Thoroughbred breeding, and this rule still stands today.

8. 66 French horses have won the race, compared to 15 English ones, 7 from Ireland, 6 Italian horses and 2 German bred racers. The first German winner did not take the title until 2011.

9. Fillies and mares have won the race 24 times, with seven of these winners having come in the last ten years. The first was 1931, the latest was 2017.

10. Only eight horses have won the race twice: Ksar (1921 and 1922), Motrico (1930 and 1932), Corrida (1936 and 1937), Tantieme (1950 and 1951), Ribot (1955 and 1956), Alleged (1977 and 1978), Treve (2013 and 2014), and Enable (2017 and 2018).

11. The Arc has prize fund of 5,000,000 euros. The prize fund was doubled from 2,000,000 to 4000,000 euros in 2008, and has increased since then. This hefty winner’s pot makes the Arc the richest flat turf race in the world.

12. It is popular with Japanese horses who have contested the Japan Cup, though a Japanese horse has never won the Arc.

13. Three year olds win the race more consistently than any other age group. A three year old has won the Arc 62 times; four year olds 27 times; five year olds 6 times, and just one 7 year old has ever won. No six year old has ever won, and there have been no winners over the age of seven.

14. The record for the longest winning odds is held by Star Appeal, who won the race in 1975 at a whopping 118/1.

15. The race record is held by Danedream, a German horse who clocked 2 minutes 24.49, in 2011.

16. Like many other races it is a chance to dress up – fancy dress and formal wear is not compulsory, but highly recommended. If you can’t get your best gear out for a day at the races, when can you?

17. The current sponsor of the Arc is the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC). This partnership has been in existence since 2008, and will run until 2022.

18. More than 200 horses will compete in 16 races over the Arc weekend.

19. The most runners to ever take part in the race was in 1967, when 30 horses ran. This race was won by Topyo.

20. The mare who won in 1992, Urban Sea, foaled a horse called Galileo, who went on to sire the first three horses home in the 2016 race.

Final Words

The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is one of the most respected and most popular horse races in the world, and it attracts people from all over the globe. It is a surprisingly affordable event compared to some other races, with under 18s being offered free entry, and anyone over that age only being asked to pay about $10, compared to the $40 or $60 asked for by the Kentucky Derby.

If you are looking for a great day out, with the chance to win some pocket money betting on spectacular horses, and the opportunity to parade around a race track in your very best hat, the the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is a good bet.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Horses & Foals since 2017. Horses have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.


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