Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia d'Oro, first and second last fall in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita, repeated the performance Saturday in the $6 million Dubai World Cup.
After Japan Dirt Cup winner Fleetstreet Dancer made all the early running, Jerry Bailey sent Medaglia d'Oro to the front at the 400-meter pole. But Pleasantly Perfect, under Alex Solis, was right along with him, got the advantage and went on to win by 3/4 length.
Victory Moon, trained by Mike de Kock and ridden by Weichong Marwing, took third.
"It's very satisfying," said winning trainer Richard Mandella, who dominated the Breeders' Cup program five months ago. "It's nice to get the job done ... He will now get a nice, long rest and the long-term aim is the Breeders' Cup in October."
Solis said the race was "a dogfight all the way down the stretch. I wanted to make sure Medgalia d'Oro didn't get away from me. He tried to come back but, luckily, I had enough in my hand. When I cracked him 100 meters to the post, he took off again."
Bailey said Medgalia d'Oro "ran his heart out tonight and you've got to tip your hat to the other horse."
Other races on the World Cup card:
-- Firebreak, with Frankie Dettori up, won the $1 million Godolphin Mile by 4 1/2 lengths over Tropical Star. Excessivepleasure was third. Firebreak raced in mid-pack before Dettrori gave him the go-ahead. "Firebreak is better than ever," Godolphin Racing Manager Simon Crisford said. "He has been a good servant to Godolphin."
-- Trainer Mike de Kock won the $2 million UAE for the second year in a row as jockey Weichong Marwing rode Lundy's Ability to victory. Petit Paris was second and Little Jim was third. "We thought we would run very well," said De Kock. "He improves with every start."
-- Polish Summer, with Gary Stevens up, finished fastest to win the $2 million Dubai Sheema Classic by 1/2 length. Hard Buck led briefly near the finish but settled for second and Scott's View rallied from well back to take third. Trainer Andre Fabre said Polish Summer "always runs well fresh. We'll save him for the Coronation Cup at Epsom." Fabre said the victory was a "fairytale start" to Stevens' role as contract rider for his stable.
-- Our New Recruit won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen by 2 lengths over Alke, with Conroy third. Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat, who was kicked by a lead pony before the race, faded in the late going. Said winning rider Alex Solis: "Down the straight, Alke and Cajun Beat were very close but my horse felt really strong and I felt good about it."
-- Paolini and Right Approach dead-heated for the victory in the $2 million Dubai Duty Free on the turf. Nayyir, who led until the final few jumps, held on for third. Andreas Wohler, who trains Paolini, said his charge may go to Hong Kong or Singapore as there are no races for him in his native Germany and he has not done well at Royal Ascot. Right Approach is trained by De Kock, who did not provide an itinerary for him.
In weekend racing in the United States:
Hi Teck Man was bred in Texas but the colt has never raced outside New Mexico. Thus, despite a record of five wins in eight starts, Hi Teck Man was a longshot in Sunday's $500,000 Winstar Derby behind such well-fancied ship-ins as Consecrate and Teton Forest. Nonetheless, it was Hi Teck Man who got the first run at the leaders and, once on the lead, he was unbeatable. At the wire, the 46-1 prospect won by 1/2 length over Consecrate. Rocky Gulch finished third. Hi Teck Man, a son of Caludius, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.20. Trainer Johnnie Nall, taking note of the imported speed in New Mexico's richest race, told jockey Ricardo Jaime to rein in Hi Teck Man's natural speed. As a result, the colt got first run at the leaders and took full advantage of the chance.
On Saturday, Jaime also won the $250,000 Winstar Oaks with Speedy Falcon. The Florida-bred Jeblar filly was hustled into the lead on the first turn and rated nicely on the lead. When asked, she opened up a 6-length lead before hitting the wire. Speedey Falcon ran the 1 mile in 1:36.57.
Randaroo led from gate to wire in Saturday's $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over Chirimoya. Storm Flag Flying was 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third after chasing the pace. Randaroo, a 4-year-old Gold Case filly, ran the 7 furlongs in 1:22.64. "I was surprised to see the other horses try to run with her early," said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin after Randaroo clicked off a first quarter mile in 22.81 seconds. "I guess they figured they had to take it to her at some point." He said the Humana Distaff - a 7-furlong event on Derby Day at Churchill Downs - will be next. Storm Flag Flying's trainer, Shug McGaughey, said he was "disappointed with how we ran. I thought she would run better than that."
McCann's Mojave battled with Unfurl the Flag through Sunday's $200,000 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap before finally gaining the upper hand. At the wire, it was McCann's Mojave by 1 3/4 lengths. The favorite, Bluesthestandard, never got interested and finished third. McCann's Mojave, a 4-year-old Memo colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.60 for Jose Valdivia Jr. "My horse just got in front and he's game," said Valdivia. "He'll put any horse away." Winning trainer Leonard Dorfman said has no firm plan for McCann's Mojave. "I'd like to keep him on the grass," he said. "This horse is all grit. He doesn't like to let horses go by him."
Megahertz rallied from last to finish first in Saturday's $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap but then was returned to last by the stewards for interference in the stretch run. Katdogawn, who finished a length behind Megahertz, inherited the win, followed by Fun House and Arabic Song. The 9 furlongs on the green course went in 1:47.36. Victor Espinoza said Megahertz made such a strong move to circle the leaders "she moved back to the inside and there were quite a few horses there." Humberto Ascanio, assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel, said Espinoza "was on the best horse. He should have ridden her with confidence."
Courageous Act came from last in a field of six to win Saturday's $75,000 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds by 3/4 length over Wimplestiltskin. Stalking Tiger was third and the favorite, Jimmy's Instinct, finished fifth. Courageous Act, a son of Exploit, ran 6 1/2 furlongs under Javier Santiago in 1:16.13. Bob Baffert trains the colt for Bob and Beverly Lewis. "His next race, I'll run him long," Baffert said. "I have no idea" when or where.
Golden Gate Fields
Snorter got through some tight traffic in Saturday's $100,000 Berkeley Breeders' Cup Handicap, ran up to the leaders with a furlong to go and edged clear to win by 1 length. Yougottawanna led most of the way but finished second while Taste of Paradise was third. Snorter, a 4-year-old son of Awesome Again, ran 1 mile in 1:33.92 with Russell Baze up for trainer Bobby Frankel. "It wasn't a big hole to come through," Baze said of the traffic jam. "But he didn't hesitate."
Speightstown drew clear of a pace duel with Pretty Wild after a half mile of Saturday's $100,000 Artax Handicap and went on to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Pretty Wild held second and Wacky for Love finished a nose back in third. Speightstown, a 6-year-old son of Gone West, ran the 7 furlongs in 1:22.03. "We broke well but I was really surprised when he took off the way he did in the stretch," said winning rider Eibar Coa. "That was a very good run for him today."
Angela's Love took the lead in Saturday's $50,000 Fairway Fun Stakes and held it to the wire, winning by 8 1/4 lengths over Secondary School. Jaramar Rain was third. With Mark Guidry aboard, Angela's Love ran the 1 1/16 mile in a quick 1:40.84. The impressive effort has trainer Dale Romans seeking tougher tasks for Angela's Love. "I just asked Mark about her and he thinks she can step up," said Romans. "So we'll probably look for something Derby week for her at Churchill."
Water Cannon sat behind the pace in Saturday's $60,000 Private Terms Stakes, took over the lead when asked and won as he pleased, wrapped up by jockey Ramon Dominguez. The final time for the 9 furlongs was 1:45.42. Trainer Linda Albert said the Waquoit colt will point to the Federico Tessio Stakes at Laurel on April 17, then possibly to the Preakness. "We just want to place him where we think it's best for him to win," Albert said.
Kodema justified his favorite's role by dominating seven rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Gulf Coast Classic Stakes. The Seeking the Gold gelding fought for the early lead, then cleared and won by 3 1/2 lengths over Sprightly Walker. Prince Slew was third. Kodema, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1.45.
Placid Star rallied from well back in a 13-horse field to win Saturday's restricted, $100,000 Sarah Lane's Oats Handicap by 2 lengths over Young Emotions. Merry Mary was third. Placid Star, a daughter of Placid Fund, ran the "about" 1 mile on firm turf in 1:38.14.
Sunday, Destiny Calls led from gate to wire in the $100,000 Red Camelia. At the line, the 4-year-old With Approval filly was 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Fuse It. K Brown was third.
Eternal Cup scored a minor upset in Saturday's $50,000 Carousel Stakes for fillies and mares, rallying from the back of a six-horse field to win by a neck. Surf N Sand stalked the pace, got the lead in the stretch but couldn't hold off the winner. The favorite, See How She Runs, didn't run well enough and finished third. Eternal Cup, a 4-year-old Montbrook filly, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.82. Winning rider Terry Thompson said Eternal Cup had to dodge a fallen rival, which "caused me to lose a lot of ground at a critical stage."
Sunday, K J's Girl rallied by pace-setting favorite Chene Rouge to win the $50,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes for Arkansas-bred, 3-year-old fillies by 3/4 length. Time for Etbauer was third. K J's Girl, a daughter of Big Pistol, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11.79.
Also Sunday, Bold Merit dueled for the lead early in the $50,000 Rainbow Stakes for 3-year-old, Arkansas-bred colts and geldings, then worked clear and won by 2 1/4 lengths over Will's a Player. Gun Town was home third. Bold Merit, a son of Bold Anthony, finished the 6 sloppy furlongs in 1:11.32.