Suave Dancer, ridden by Paris-based American Cash Asmussen, surged in the stretch to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamps on Sunday.
Magic Night was second and Pistolet Bleu third in the $1.5-million turf race.
Asmussen rode Suave Dancer to a two-length victory in 2:31 2/5 for 1 1/2 miles. Magic Night finished one length ahead of Pistolet Bleu.
Generous, the favorite, faded in the stretch as Suave Dancer swept past early pacesetter Art Bleu.
Asmussen's father found Suave Dancer and bought him for $45,000 for Lebanese owner Henri Chalhoub in France, where Cash Asmussen is one of the top jockeys.
For most of the race, Suave Dancer was near the back of the pack.
"He's the kind of horse who does well with a lot of horses in front of him," Asmussen said.
As Art Bleu and Pistolet Bleu battled for the lead for more than a mile, Suave Dancer remained at the back of the field.
Generous, who won the English and Irish derbies and the King George VI and Elizabeth Diamond stakes, was close to the front with about a quarter-mile to run. But Generous, who becomes discouraged when not in the lead, never made it to the front and faded as the field went down the final straightaway.
Suave Dancer then surged to a three-length lead, before slowing approaching the wire. Generous finished eighth and was booed as he left the track.
The victory was the fifth in Suave Dancer's last seven starts, with two seconds. His previous victories included the French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes.