L'Amour de Ma Vie flashed an impressive acceleration off the turn to the win the $200,000 Balanchine (UAE-II) Feb. 20 at Meydan Racecourse while anxious favorite Certify suffered her first defeat.
Improving from a close runner-up finish to Certify in the Cape Verdi (UAE-II) last time out, the 5-year-old Dansili mare tracked pacesetter Banoffee from second in the Balanchine. She drew even nearing the home turn before shaking free to an impressive 1 3/4-length triumph.
Fellow France-based Flotilla charged up the rail from last to snatch second in the six-horse field, a short head to the better of Pearl of Africa.
With several taps of the whip from French jockey Maxime Guyon, L'Amour de Ma Vie cruised across the finish line in 1:50.55 for the 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) over turf rated as good. She was sent off at 9-2 odds in North American pools.
Trained by Pia Brandt for owner MD Bloodstock, Kentucky-bred L'Amour de Ma Vie tallied her first group win and improved her career line to 3-1-1 in nine starts. In her start prior to the Cape Verdi Jan. 30 at Meydan, she earned a breakthrough stakes victory in the Prix Miss Satamixa Dec. 29 at Deauville.
"She won very well," Guyon said of the gray/roan mare who is out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Smoke Glacken mare Cuaba. "Tonight she won easy."
Guyon enjoyed his first win in Dubai.
"I am so pleased to ride my first Dubai winner in such a big race and she really deserved that win after a brave effort in defeat last time. She quickened well and ran all the way to the line."
Godolphin's 1-5 favorite Certify was reluctant to enter the starting gate and delayed the start several minutes. She balked and showed her rear hooves to the gate crew before she was blindfolded and led into the stalls.
Breaking from the 2 hole, she raced at the back of the field for Mickael Barzalona and advanced 500 meters out but failed to challenge. She finished fourth, a half-length behind Pearl of Africa, in snapping a five-race winning streak.
Saudi Prince Saud bin Khaled's Palides Investments bred L'Amour de Ma Vie, which means, "Love of My Life." She was consigned as an unraced 2-year-old to the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale as part of the late prince's complete dispersal, which also included eventual three-time United States champion Royal Delta. L'Amour de Ma Vie sold to Pegasus Stud for $30,000.
With the $120,000 winner's share of the Balanchine purse, L'Amour de Ma Vie's bankroll increases to $246,322.
Godolphin's 4-year-old filly Tasaday bypassed the Balanchine for the $200,000 Dubai Millennium Stakes one race later on the card and handily defeated males.
The race set up perfectly for the 4-year-old Nayef filly, who tracked from second early behind the tepid pace of Rebel Song before Robert the Painter burned to the lead with 1,100 meters to run.
After dropping back to third, Tasaday fired just over a quarter-mile out to lead and held her advantage to the finish line. Runner-up Empoli pursued strongly up rail by came up a neck short.
Settling at the back of the field after the start, trainer Mike de Kock's recent Al Rashidiya (UAE-II) winner Mujaarib, the 7-5 choice in North American pools, closed to take third, 1 1/4 lengths back.
Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, Tasaday was timed in 2:22.33 for 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on turf. She did not have the clearest of runs when ninth to Mujaarib in the Al Rashadiya, but made amends in the Dubai Millennium.
"She has come on a ton since she ran last time," De Sousa said after the race.
Tasaday, a multiple group winner in France where she finished third in Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I, French One Thousand Guineas) last year, has a 6-2-2 record from 12 starts.
Bred in Kentucky by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley, Tasaday is out of French group III winner Tashelka, by Mujahid.