Splash Point turned the tables on rival Zanzamar as he charged from well off the pace to win the $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III) at Meydan Racecourse Feb. 10. The eight-furlong contest was the second of two stakes that highlighted the fifth night of the 2011 Dubai Carnival.
The victory by the 3-year-old son of Street Cry reversed the results of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial held three weeks ago, where Zanzamar held off Splash Point to win by a length.
Ridden patiently by Mickael Barzalona, Splash Point broke alertly and was placed at the back of the 12-horse field as longshot Abstrato shot to the front. He was followed closely by Sonoran Sands and Bridgefield, as the heavy favorite, Zanzamar, sat just behind them in fifth, while saving ground along the inside rail.
Abstrato continued to show the way down the backstretch, opening up a two-length lead on the rest of the field. As the field entered the far turn, the longtime leader began to back up and was quickly overtaken by Abjer and Sonoran Sands. Hot on their heels were Mayfair Lad and Zanzamar, who were moving up the inside rail, and Bridgefield and Krypton Factor, who were moving in tandem on the outside. Splash Point made steady progress on the turn, traveling smoothly and making up ground between rivals.
As the runners entered the home straight, Sonoran Sands took a slight lead as Abjer and Krypton Factor began to tire. Zanzamar was full of run but had nowhere to go, and jockey Richard Hills had to take him up sharply in deep stretch as they suddenly found themselves in tight quarters. Splash Point, who had clear sailing on the far outside, swept to the front in deep stretch and pulled away to win by one length.
Zanzamar shot through an opening along the inside rail and made up several lengths in the final yards but it was too late, and he had to settle for second. Krypton Factor held on for third, three-quarters of a length farther back.
Final time for the one-mile contest run over the all-weather Tapeta surface was 1:37.73.
Mahmood Al Zarooni, who trains the colt for owner Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum, said after the race, “It is great to win my first UAE classic and I am just so grateful to everyone. Splash Point ran very well from a bad draw last time and we hoped he would go closer this time.”
Splash Point was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and was purchased by John Ferguson for $300,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. The bay colt has won two of his five starts, and has earned $168,078. Out of the stakes-winning Danehill mare, Dianehill, Splash Point hails from the immediate family of grade I winners Very Subtle and Pool Land.
Skysurfers Soars in Firebreak Stakes
In the race immediately prior to the Guineas, Godolphin’s Skysurfers took the lead in mid-stretch and comfortably held off favored Musir to capture the listed $175,000 Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Dubal.
Confidently ridden by Frankie Dettori, the son of E Dubai was settled into mid-division as Frosty Secret and Il Grande Maurizio were sent to the front to set the pace. Favorite Musir, who was making his first start since capturing the 2010 UAE Derby (UAE-II), was settled toward the rear of the field through the early stages by Christophe Soumillon.
Il Grande Maurizio and Frosty Secret continued to show the way as the field entered the far turn, setting a quick pace while opening up several lengths over Mujaazef, who was in third. Dettori continued to rate Skysurfers well off the lead in sixth, as Soumillon kept Musir settled toward the back.
As the field hit the top of the stretch, Mujaazef overtook the longtime leaders and opened up a slight lead. Dettori was hard at work aboard Skysurfers, and the duo began to gobble up ground out in the center of the track. At the same time, Soumillon and Musir were making up several lengths while traveling up the inside rail.
Skysurfers and Musir shot to the front together, matching strides briefly until Skysurfers began to edge away in deep stretch, eventually crossing the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front. Musir’s stablemate, Imbongi, finished third, another 5 1/4 lengths further back.
Final time for the eight furlongs over the Tapeta course was 1:35.77, which set a course record.
Winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor told reporters after the race, “The fast pace has suited him and Frankie did everything right. The Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) is the target.”
Skysurfers was bred in England by Darley, and is out of the Night Shift mare, Fortune. The 5-year-old horse improved his record to three wins in nine starts, and his $105,000 winner’s share of the purse increased his overall earnings to $312,285.