Just as the World Series crowns the American baseball summer, so the French horse race known as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe crowns Europe's summer of racing. Last week the 38th running of the glittering Arc drew a crowd of 80,000 to chestnut-shaded Longchamp, and the way to say it simply is to say that they got a horse race for their time, money and devotion.
In the starting field, supported for the usual variety of reasons—form, bloodlines, even simple patriotism—were 25 Thoroughbred entries from France, Britain, Italy and Sweden. Off they went around the graceful oval and into the homestretch and, lo, a pair of long shots led all the rest. Nose to nose they came down to the wire, Prince Aly Khan's English-bred Saint Crespin and Hotelman Francois Dupre's French-bred Midnight Sun.
A letting out and a drawing in of 80,000 breaths, a wait for the photofinish picture and then the signal: dead heat. But Saint Crespin's jockey, Australian George Moore, now addresses the stewards with a strong complaint: a bump by Midnight Sun. The film patrol upholds Saint Crespin.
Prince Aly Khan, who was too busy representing Pakistan at the U.N. to get to Paris for the race, becomes the absentee winner of a $97,000 purse. And Prince Aly becomes entitled to reflect on those kingly lines from Henry V, on St. Crispin's day, 1415, at Agincourt: "And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here."