Canadian Horse of the Year Quiet Resolve was back for another try after finishing second in the Turf last year. So was Sheikh Hamdan's Mutamam, who turned in a fourth-place Turf effort in 2000. The brothers from Dubai also were represented by Sheikh Maktoum's Slew the Red, a two-time group III winner in France.
The field did not include Fantastic Light's usual pacemaker, Give the Slip. But Crisford didn't think Fantastic Light would suffer because there appeared to be enough speed horses in the Turf to ensure that the early fractions were fairly brisk.
As expected, With Anticipation rushed to the front, where he was joined by Quiet Resolve and Timboroa. Heading into the clubhouse turn, Fantastic Light was fifth, tucked in behind the lead pack on the inside. Milan galloped along near the back. With Anticipation completed the first quarter of a mile in :24.40. Then Timboroa took over and rolled through a half in :48.02. After a mile, With Anticipation wilted quickly.
"When the gates opened and around the first turn, he was right there," said With Anticipation's rider, Pat Day. "But when those other horses came to him on the backside, he didn't respond like he has before. He didn't seem to want to fight back. I tried everything. I hit him some, but he didn't seem to want to be hit by then. Nothing was happening."
As With Anticipation dropped out of contention, Fantastic Light and Milan were picking up momentum. Midway on the last turn, Fantastic Light shot between horses. With about a furlong to go, he roared into the No. 1 spot. Milan came out five wide heading into the stretch, then streaked to the inside and was drawing closer to Fantastic Light with every stride.
"I just got held up on the bend by Mutamam, who was dropping back quick," said Kinane of Milan's late surge. "I thought I might squeeze through on the inside. But I had to ease back and go around. Fantastic Light got a good head start on me, and at that stage, my horse did real well to make the gap as small as he did."
Only three-quarters of a length separated Fantastic Light and Milan as they steamed under the wire. Nobody else was even close. Timboroa finished more than five lengths behind in third, holding off 51-1 shot Blazing Fury.
"I really didn't have to do very much," said Dettori, who celebrated with a flying dismount from Fantastic Light's back in the winner's circle. Asked if he felt any heat from Milan's closing rush, Dettori just shrugged. "The race was finished by then. When he (Fantastic Light) got out into the open and I kicked him, he went in front by three lengths, and that was it. Like a good wine, he gets better as he gets older."
Based on comments made earlier in the week, Dettori did not appear to agree with the Maktoums' decision to run Fantastic Light in the Turf and Sakhee in the Classic. The two horses were pre-entered in both races, and each had the Classic listed as his first preference. Dettori raved about Sakhee's chances in the Turf, saying all he had to do was show up to win. When asked his reaction to the change in plans, the jockey expressed surprise.
Crisford sounded a little bit irritated by Dettori's attitude. "Frankie has not ridden Sakhee on the dirt (in a race), so how could he have an opinion?" Godolphin's racing manager said. "He hasn't spoken to Sheikh Mohammed."
But if there was any rift, Dettori played it down when reporters raised the issue in an interview session following the Turf and Classic.
"I didn't want the pair to clash together," he maintained. "I wanted to make sure they were going to be split. It didn't matter who was going to run in the Turf. They are both superstars. With the likes of Galileo going in the Classic, it left the Turf wide open. When I looked at the ratings this morning, Fantastic Light was 10 pounds above everybody else in the field. The only way I was going to lose was to fall off of him. I'm glad that they split the horses; they both ran great today."