River Jetez Rockets Home in Balanchine
Photo: Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
River Jetez streaks away from the field to win the Balanchine Stakes.

River Jetez flew down the center of the course to claim a decisive 2 1/2-length victory in the $200,000 Balanchine Stakes Sponsored by Emirates NBD (UAE-IIT) at Meydan Racecourse Feb. 18.

An unlucky third to Aspectoflove in the Cape Verdi Stakes Sponsored by Bab Al Shams (UAE-IIT) last out, many expected the daughter of Jet Master to turn the tables on her rival this time. As a result, River Jetez was sent off as the heavy 4-5 favorite in the nine-furlong turf event.

Jockey Christophe Soumillon was content to place River Jetez toward the rear of field along with Long Lashes and Aspectoflove as longshot Tinaar went to the front to set the early pace. She was followed closely by Anam Chara and Gallic Star, with Reem tracking them from fourth. Ryan Moore had Strawberrydaiquiri in seventh as the pair scraped paint down along the inside rail.

Tinaar continued to show the way down the backstretch, opening up a three-length lead over Anam Chara as they entered the far turn. Gallic Star was a length behind Anam Chara in third, as Reem loomed boldly on the outside in fourth.

As the field hit the top of the lane, Kevin Shea set Reem down for the drive and the pair cruised to the front and appeared to be home free, quickly opening up a two-length advantage. River Jetez was under a full head of steam and was charging down the center of the course, passing her rivals as though they were standing still. She easily flew by Reem in the final yards to grab the victory while being geared down as she crossed the wire.

Reem had to settle for second, a length in front of Long Lashes, who held off Forest Crown for the show spot. Strawberrydaiquiri was the one who had to endure a bad trip this time and had to settle for fifth, another short head further back. Aspectoflove was never a factor and finished seventh.

The final time for the nine-furlong turf contest was 1:48.79 over a good course.

Mike de Kock is the conditioner of both the first and second-place finishers. He told reporters after the race: “River Jetez is a very good mare who we think is a World Cup night contender.

“She was very unlucky last time but Christophe has timed that perfectly. Kevin has also given Reem a great ride and it is a big result for the yard.”

The 8-year-old River Jetez was bred in South Africa by Out of Africa Stud, and is owned by C.A. Amm and Marsh Shirtliff. Out of the Prince Florimund mare Stormsvlei, River Jetez is a full sister to 2007 South African Horse of the Year, Pocket Power.

 

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