Japan's Just a Way most assuredly has found his best stride.
The 5-year-old, who won just two of his first 15 career starts, showed he has left those days behind as he smashed a top international field in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) March 29 at Meydan (VIDEO).
Just a Way took command in early stretch and drew off to an easy 6 1/4-length victory in the 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8-mile) turf race.
Akatsuki Yamatoya's Just a Way turned the corner last year when he closed out the season with a four-length victory in the Tenno Sho Autumn (Jpn-I), ending a stretch where he had finished second in three straight stakes. He then opened this year March 2 with a Japanese group II victory as a prep for Saturday's Dubai Duty Free.
Trained by Sugai Naosuke and ridden by Fukunaga Yuicihi, Just a Way completed the race in 1:45.52. He was followed home by South African-bred Vercingetorix, who prepped with a win in the Emirates Airline Jebel Hatta (UAE-I). Vercingetorix finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of the late-moving Dank, last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. I) winner who fought traffic to gain the third spot.
Bred in Japan by the Shadai Corp., Just a Way is a bay son of Heart's Cry—Sibyl, by Wild Again.
In North American pari-mutuel pools hosted by AmWest Entertainment, Just a Way returned $8.60 to win and $3.20 to place-show as the second betting choice. Third-choice Vercingetorix returned $3.80 to place-show and Dank paid $4.20.
The Fugue, the 2-1 favorite in U.S. pools, challenged early but faded in the second half of the race to finish 11th of 13.