Rocket Man overtook Euroears and drew off to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-I) at Meydan Racecourse March 26.
With the defection of 2010 victor Kinsale King, who was scratched the morning of the race, Rocket Man was sent off as the heavy favorite in the Golden Shaheen. The 6-year-old gelded son of Viscount was second in this race last year, beaten just a half-length by Kinsale King.
California-based Euroears broke sharply under Mike Smith and went straight to the front, leading the field of 10 through swift early fractions. Jockey Felix Coetzee had Rocket Man sitting just off of him in second, with Force Freeze in third.
As the field entered the home straight, Euroears had opened up a clear lead, and appeared on his way to victory for trainer Bob Baffert. Rocket Man, under a furious drive by Coetzee, stormed down the center of the course, blowing by Euroears in the final furlong to win going away. Euroears held on for second by a neck over the late-closing Sunny King.
The final time for the six furlongs was 1:11.28 over the Tapeta surface.
“Everything went according to plan in the race. He traveled very well and I was comfortable," Coetzee said.
Rocket Man is trained in Singapore by Patrick Shaw for owner Alfredo L.A. Crabbia. He was bred in Australia by D.R. Fleming, and is out of the McGinty mare Macrosa.
“The other horse is a good horse," said Baffert, who trains Euroears for James and Marilyn Helzer. "We got beat by a good horse, but we didn't leave empty handed. We got a little something. Everything went smooth here. We never had a hiccup but the wire is too far down the track here. My guy thought it was all over.”