Lucky Owners Pulls a Surprise in Hong Kong Mile

Lucky Owners, owned by Mr. And Mrs. Leung Kai Fai, pulled off a mild 5-1 upset in the Sunday afternoon's Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin Racecourse. Bowman's Crossing was second, a half-length off the winner, and was 1 1/4-lengths ahead of race favorite Lohengrin, who finished third.

It was the second win in a row for the home team at Sha Tin as local hero Silent Witness won the Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I) earlier on the card. Both Silent Witness and Lucky Owners are trained by Tony Cruz and were ridden by Felix Coetzee. It was a first for the Hong Kong International Races for a trainer/jockey combo to win two races.

Lucky Owners was named by Leung Kai Fai because he said he was "lucky to buy him at the Easter sales in Australia." Lucky Owners is a 4-year-old son of Danehill out of the Kaapstad mare Miss Priority.

The final time for the one-turn mile was 1:34.3. Coetzee kept his mount in the second flight early, just off the pace set by fellow local hope Ninetyfive Emperor. The Japan-based Lohengrin, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, tracked in second while wide after breaking from post 12 in the 14-horse field. The opening half was run in a crisp :46.4 over the good-to-firm footing.

"He was drafting well and was relaxed," said.

Turning for home, the Masanori Ito-trained Lohengrin took the lead and looked clear, but was challenged late to his inside by Lucky Owners.

"He excelerated well in the straight," Cruz said. "He was down close to the rail. He concentrated today."

American runner Mister Acpen, trained by Kristin Mulhall, finished ninth under David Flores. Olympic Express, hoping to repeat in the Mile, pulled up lame and was vanned off.

The purse for the Hong Kong Mile was HK$14 million, or approximatly $2 million.