Dubai-based Darley Stable completed its domination at Saratoga Race Course this weekend when favored Dubai Escapade demolished the field in the $240,000 Ballerina Breeders' Cup (gr. I) for fillies and mares Sunday.
The win followed Bernardini's blowout for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley operation in Saturday's Travers (gr. I). In addition, the royal family collected wins Saturday at Saratoga in the King's Bishop (gr. I), won by Henny Hughes, and the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. II), captured by Ashkal Way.
Trained by Eoin Harty, Dubai Escapade registered her first grade I win and got back on the winning track after her five-race winning streak was snapped at Calder July 15 in the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) on July 15. The 4-year-old Awesome Again
filly finished an inexplicable sixth that day after dueling for the lead and fading as a 3-10 favorite.
"At Calder, I don't think she handled the track, and she appeared confused when another horse went by her," Harty said. "I just threw out that race and started from scratch. It has been a career weekend for Darley and Godolphin. To come here and dominate like that is a terrific effort."
Ridden by regular rider Edgar Prado Sunday, Dubai Escapade looked like the filly that won Belmont's Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) by six lengths in June. She took the lead from Indian Flare soon after the break and led all the way, edging away on the turn in the seven-furlong event and drawing way off under a vigorous hand ride to win by 8 1/2 lengths. The margin of victory was even greater than Bernardini's 7 1/2-length triumph.
"She is such a fast filly," Prado said. "She can go :21 and :44 and keep going. Just goes to show you that she didn't handle the track that day at Calder, for whatever reason. When they didn't run with me early, I knew she was going to be very tough today. I wasn't worried because I knew that, if she went back to her old form, she would be fine."
Under rainy skies, the final time was 1:23 on a "good" track.
Dubai Escapade set fractions of :22 3/5 and :45 2/5 while stalked by Indian Flare and Stormy Kiss, both of which were expected to vie for the early lead but applied little pressure. By the time she reached the furlong marker in 1:10, Dubai Escapade was in front by six lengths.
By then, Indian Flare had dropped out as Nothing But Fun came on in the stretch to take second under Richard Migliore by 1 1/2 lengths. Stormy Kiss and Javier Castellano finished third, with Indian Flare fourth in the field of seven. High Button Shoes, Princess Rooney winner Malibu Mint, and Grecian Lover trailed.
Dubai Escapade earned $150,000 for her sixth win in eight starts as her bankroll reached $427,050.
"There are several options to take with her," Harty said. "I have to talk to Sheikh Mohammad to find out what direction that they want to take. The most important thing was to get the grade I race."
She paid $4.60, $3.20, and $3.10. Nothing But Fun, shortening up after a fifth-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Go for Wand July 30, returned $4.70 and $4.10. The Argentine-bred Stormy Kiss, who won Saratoga's Honorable Miss (gr. II) in gate-to-wire fashion Aug. 4, was $4.50 to show.