Garrett Gomez may be best known internationally for his association with Discreet Cat but was in the winner’s enclosure after the $1 million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) which he won impressively on the Doug O'Neill trained Spring At Last.
A race the Americans last won in 2002 with Grey Memo, Gomez was never far off the pace on the 4-year-old son of Silver Deputy who runs in the colors of J. Paul Reddam. Spring At Last won the one-turn main track event at 1,600 meters by 2 3/4 lengths over Parole Board, the local hope who broke from the extreme outside in the field of 16 for jockey Ted Durcan. Mullins Bay, ridden by Weichong Marwing, finished third, a place ahead of David Flores’ mount Dixie Meister. The final clocking was 1:36.16.
With two furlongs left to run, Gomez produced his mount to challenge at the same time as Marwing asked Mullins Bay to go. Durcan then appeared on the outside on Parole Board, third-place finisher in the 2005 UAE Derby (UAE-II), and it was he who was left to chase the winner home as Mullins Bay faltered inside the final half furlong.
“My horse has run a fantastic race," Durcan said. "He came to win it, but the American horse was just too strong today. Maybe a mile is as far as my fellow wants to go.”
It was a third career win for Spring At Last on his 10th start and Gomez was delighted. “He is an improving horse, I knew that but he has really done that well. As soon as I was able to relax him I was always confident and the race went to plan.”
Reddam, whose Red Rocks won the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) last year and is strongly fancied for tonight’s Sheema Classic (UAE-I), added: “That is a good start to what could be a good evening and hopefully year. He is an improving type and will hopefully continue to progress.”
Spring At Last, who ran fifth in his last start, the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), earned $600,000 for his connections with his first stakes victory. Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, who co-owns him, the dark bay is out of the Dynaformer mare Winter's Gone. He has banked $795,650 in his career.