Argentine classic winner Joe Louis surged past a tiring Premium Tap and won Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious race, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup, for Prince Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer on Feb. 15 at Al Janadriah racecourse.

Eamonn McEvoy, the prince’s equine manager, said the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) could be next for the 5-year-old son of Lode.

Joe Louis was ridden to victory in the 2,400-meter contest -- also known as the Kings’ Cup -- by former American-based jockey Wigberto Ramos.

Racing in Saudi Arabia under the name Kharimes, Joe Louis crossed the finish line in 2:28.07 and was three-quarters of a length in front of Irish-bred Critic, who held a head advantage over German group III winner Omikron.

Premium Tap, competing as Allam for Saudi King Abdullah and his sons, finished fourth under Kent Desormeaux, who urged his mount to the front after six furlongs and tried to steal away to repeat his 2007 triumph in the race. Premium Tap rebounded from that effort to run a game second to 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor in last year’s Dubai World Cup.

The loss marked consecutive setbacks for Premium Tap, winner of the 2006 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) and Clark Handicap (gr. I), following his December victory in Saudi Arabia’s second most prestigious race, the Crown Prince Cup. Trainer Julio Gardel, an Argentine native, has been aiming Premium Tap for a return engagement in the Dubai World Cup, which is run over 2,000 meters.

Like Premium Tap, Joe Louis has the advantage of competing over the Nad Al Sheba racecourse dirt track last year, although he was unplaced in both the UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III) and the UAE Derby (UAE-gr. II) while trained by Ian Jory. Since then, French-born Stephane Chevalier has conditioned Prince Sultan’s horses.

The King’s Cup triumph was the third consecutive win in Saudi Arabia for Joe Louis, according to Jockey Club records that can be incomplete for racing in that nation. Produced by the Septieme Ciel mare Jolie Caresse, Joe Louis has won half of his ten starts, including the 2006 Dos Mil Guineas (Arg-I), and placed three times.

In addition to Desormeaux, American jockeys John Velazquez and Edgar Prado had mounts in the King’s Cup. Their runners finished 13th and 17th, respectively, in the 18-horse field.

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