Benefitting from a heady ride by Frankie Dettori, Khawlah took command with two furlongs to go and easily held off favored Mahbooba to capture the $250,000 UAE Oaks Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (UAE-III) at Meydan Racecourse Feb. 24.
Mahbooba, who was made the heavy 1-5 favorite in the field of seven, was settled into mid-division after the start by Christophe Soumillon. Dettori had Khawlah in second, content to keep the daughter of Cape Cross just off the slow early pace being set by her stablemate, Abtasaamah. Longshot Quick Val raced a bit wide in fourth, followed by Amica and Empire Rose, as Electric Waves trailed the field after having missed the break.
Abtasaamah continued to show the way down the backstretch, setting dawdling fractions while leading by just over a length. Khawlah held second as Quick Val ran in third. Mahbooba, racing a bit keenly under Soumillon, hugged the rail in fourth.
As the field turned into the straight, Khawlah moved easily past Abtasaamah to take the lead. Mahbooba drove past the fading Abtasaamah to take second, setting her sites on Khawlah who had quickly opened up a two-length advantage. Soumillon asked his filly for more but there was little response, as Mahbooba was unable to make up any ground on the leader in the stretch.
At the wire, it was Khawlah easily winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Mahbooba. It was another 8 1/4 lengths back to Electric Waves, who had passed tiring rivals to take third.
The final time for the 1 3/16 miles was 1:58.51 over the all-weather Tapeta surface.
A pleased Dettori told reporters after the race: “I slotted in second and played the early card with the weight difference; there was a big weight difference and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a real sprint and that the other filly felt it in the end.”
Khawlah carried 120 pounds as compared to the 130 toted by Mahbooba.
The future looks very bright for the Godolphin-owned Khawlah, who was making her 2011 debut in the Oaks. As a juvenile, Khawlah made three starts, winning once and finishing in the money in the other two races. She wrapped up her 2-year-old season with a good third in the Sakhee Oh So Sharp Stakes (Eng-III) at Newmarket in October.
The $150,000 winner’s share of the purse boosted Khawlah’s earnings to $166,175. Bred in Ireland by Darley, Khawlah is the first foal out of the winning Selkirk mare, Villarrica, and hails from the immediate family of champions Urban Sea, Galileo, and Sea The Stars.
Introvert Not Shy About Taking Meydan Classic
In the other stakes race on the card, Introvert stormed down the center of the course to capture the listed $150,000 Meydan Classic Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors by 3 1/4 lengths under Ahmed Ajtebi.
The son of Iffraaj was settled in mid-division by Ajtebi as both Crying Lightening and Lord Of The Stars shot to the front and set the pace. Janood and Dettori sat right behind them in third, with Krypton Factor and Sonoran Sands hot on their heels in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Lord Of The Stars drew alongside Crying Lightening going around the far turn and took a slight lead as the field entered the home straight. Dettori had gone to work aboard Janood and the favorite edged closer to the leader as Krypton Factor snuck up along the rail into third.
Introvert, who now was in the clear and under a full head of steam, flew down the center of the course, blowing by the leaders in the final yards to win easily. Ahlaain got up for second by a neck over Lord Of The Stars, who had to settle for third.
The final time for the eight furlongs over the good turf course was 1:37.77.
The 3-year-old Introvert is trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni for owner Sheik Majid bin Mohammed al Maktoum. Bred in Ireland by Mrs. T. Marnane, Introvert is out of the Sunday Silence mare Isana.