Godolphin Racing's Sajjhaa displayed a late turn of foot and kicked clear in the stretch to win the Dubai Duty Free Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IT) March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in course-record time on turf.
Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, the 6-year-old daughter of King's Best was forwardly placed in third early in the $5 million test at 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8miles). American-based Little Mike and jockey Gary Stevens raced easily on the early lead while stalked by Igugu.
The leaders remained unchanged until the field entered the stretch, with a cavalry charge on the front end. As Little Mike began to fade, Igugu and The Apache vied for the lead before Sajjhaa took the inside route and kicked clear for her fourth consecutive victory. The Apache was a half-length back of the winner, with Giofra three-quarters of a length back in third. Trade Storm finished fourth, followed by Igugu.
The winning time of 1:47.93 was a course record, bettering the previous record of 1:48.58 standard set by Sajjhaa when she won the Balanchine (UAE-II) in her second Meydan win of the year.
Little Mike, Priscilla Vaccarezza's 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner trained by Dale Romans, finished 11th in the 14-horse field.
The Duty Free was the eighth win in 17 lifetime starts for Sajjhaa, who was bred in Great Britain by Darley. Sajjhaa was produced from the Darshaan mare Anaamil. Previous to the Dubai Duty Free, the mare had three consecutive wins at Meydan in 2013.
"She's a wonderful filly, full of heart, and it was a great performance," jockey De Sousa said. "She's just improved and improved since she came here. I had a good position early on and she made her way through on the inside. She's very tough and genuine, and I'm very pleased for her."