Roses in May Gets World Cup Bouquet

Roses in May Gets World Cup Bouquet
Photo: AP/Kamran Jebreili
Roses in May leads American parade in Dubai World Cup.
Saturday's 10th edition of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) may not have been the best quality race ever staged at Nad Al Sheba but, as predicted, the Dale Romans-trained Roses in May scored a fifth win in the race for America Saturday.

He led home Saudi Arabia's Dynever and fellow American Choctaw Nation, the pair chasing him home hard, albeit at a respectable distance. In dominating the world's richest race by three lengths, Roses in May won the $3.6 million winner's purse for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey of Kentucky.

"I was very confident beforehand," said Romans. "He is a special horse."

The finish was very nearly an American sweep. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Dynever had raced his entire career in the U.S. before being purchased privately this winter by Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Weichong Marwing sent Mike De Kock's Yard-Arm into an early lead with Saudi Arabia's Chiquitin for company and the eventual winner not far away while racing on the outside. As the race developed down the backside, John Velazquez confidently pushed Roses in May past Chiquitin, who soon cried enough and took the fight to Yard-Arm. Japan's Adjudi Mitsuo loomed briefly as a challenger but as they entered the straight it soon became clear that Velazquez' mount had their measure.

Choctaw Nation emerged as a danger, nearly reaching even terms, and England's Jack Sullivan also rallied into contention, but neither could sustain their challenge with Jack Sullivan's suspect stamina failing. He weakened, as did Choctaw Nation and it was left to Christophe Clement-trained Dynever to run on and take second.

In the end the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Devil His Due was able to coast home fairly comfortably, with jockey Velazquez going through the motions and waving his whip to keep the horse's mind on the job.

"This is the biggest moment I've had in racing so far, absolutely," Ken Ramsey said, grinning from ear to ear. "Right now, I feel like I'm king of the mountain."

Ramsey, who had a great stay in Dubai, said his plans are to "stay here and party. We're going to have a champagne and roses party tonight," he said.

Velazquez said his horse got off to a slow start and was distracted by the bright lights of the track, but made up for it quickly.

"I put him in gear early on because I wanted to take the lead and make the others work harder," Velazquez said. "He didn't break well from the gate. I had to get him to a point where he was comfortable. I put him into a fast gear and I didn't look back. He just did what he needed to do."

Runner-up to Ghostzapper in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) last year, the winner has now won eight of his 13 starts and would look a live contender for this year's Classic.

Saturday's runner-up, having only his second start since his purchase and transfer to Saudi Arabia, ran an amazing race and always traveled strongly under Jose Santos. He never looked like catching the impressive winner but was far too good for the remaining 11 runners. Jeff Mullins' Choctaw Nation has probably put up a career best effort in third.

Congrats, expected to be a top challenger, lagged behind and finished fifth. The American horse, trained by Richard Mandella, who won last year with Pleasantly Perfect, was expected to be among the front runners. Another U.S.-based horse, Lundy's Liability, trained by Bobby Frankel, finished seventh.

"He stumbled leaving the gates and cost us all position," said Tyler Baze, who piloted Congrats. "That was the race right there. Going in he was the best-looking horse in the race and I thought he would win. We'll get them next year."

Local horses did poorly. Ruler's Court and Elmustanser, both owned by Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, finished at the back of the pack, with Ruler's Court 10th and Elmustanser last in the 12-horse field.

Romans, beaming as he led Roses in May to the winner's circle, said, "This is the most exciting thing that's happened to me in a long time. Probably the most exciting."

He later said the horse, who increased his career earnings to $5,490,187, deserves a rest.

"We'll take him back to Kentucky and give him a little break after this," Romans said.

The race was robbed of some of its interest when Godolphin's Grand Hombre was ruled out on the eve of the event having suffered a bruised foot on Tuesday.

Roses in May's victory was a fitting climax to the world's richest race meeting and a second winner on the night for the Americans. The World Cup was the centerpiece of a seven-race, $15.25 million card at the track, a horse- and camel-racing complex outside the city.

Godolphin did not go away empty landed, winning the UAE Derby (UAE-II) with second string Blues And Royals, while the locals managed one win, courtesy of Madjani in the opening Purebred Arabian race. South Africa (Grand Emporium – Godolphin Mile), the UK (Phoenix Reach – Sheema Classic) and Australia (Elvstroem – Duty Free) were also on target.

Australian jockey Nash Rawiller stole the riding plaudits on the night with his all-the-way win on Elvstroem in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I). In a masterful show of riding skills, he set a steady pace which he managed to slow even further down the back straight. He gradually wound the pace back up from about the four-furlong pole before asking his mount to go and win his race at the quarter pole.

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