The top four finishers in last month’s Cape Verdi (UAE-II), including Godolphin’s unbeaten winner Certify, return for the $200,000 Balanchine (UAE-II) Feb. 20 at Meydan Racecourse.
The 4-year-old Elusive Quality filly ran her perfect record to five wins in the Cape Verdi, scoring an easy victory in near record time over runner-up L'Amour de Ma Vie and third-place finisher Pearl of Africa. She was making her first start in 489 days—six months of which were due to a medication violation.
Certify’s connections likely will not be surprised if she keeps her winning streak intact. She comes into the Balanchine, run at 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) on turf with no serious workout since the Cape Verdi.
“She is not a filly that you really have to put a lot of work into; she is a proper athlete,” trainer Charlie Appleby told The National. “She didn’t have a hard race and the bounce factor tends to affect horses that have had a hard race, whereas the Cape Verdi was more like a piece of work for her.”
Finishing fourth in the Cape Verdi was 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) winner Flotilla, who was coming off a long layoff due to a bruised foot.
Vying for her first win in three starts since capturing the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I, French One Thousand Guineas) last May, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s 4-year-old Mizzen Mast filly pursued the early leaders in the Cape Verdi, but came up empty when called upon in the final quarter. Afterward, her connections, including trainer Mikel Delzangles, briefly toyed with the idea of retiring her.
Also entered in the Balanchine is Eliza Park International’s Moment in Time (SAf), an English group III winner who makes her seasonal bow after last finishing third in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) Oct. 27 at Woodbine, and Michael Kerr-Dineen and Lord Margadale’s Cheshire Oaks winner Banoffee, who is seeking a breakthrough in group company.
Download the past performances for the Balanchine.
The card’s co-feature is the $200,000 Dubai Millennium Stakes, a 2,000-meter (about 1 14-mile) turf test that drew 13 contestants.
The highest-rated horse in the field is Sheikh Mohammed’s homebred Mujaarib, a 5-year-old son of Nadeem who comes in off a neck victory over Mushreq in the Al Rashidiya (UAE-II) Jan. 30.
Other entrants include Avaz Ismoilov’s Dastarhon, runner-up in the 2013 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Fr-I, French Two Thousand Guineas); Godolphin’s French multiple group winner and classic-placed Tasaday, and Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev’s Empoli, who was group I-placed in Germany.
Upgraded to a listed race this year, the Dubai Millennium is a steppingstone to several races on the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) card March 29, including two $5 million turf races—the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) or the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I)—or the $10 million Dubai World Cup on the Tapeta all-weather track.
The Feb. 20 card is the seventh meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Entries, free past performances, selections, videos, and more, are available from Kentucky-based simulcast company AwWest Entertainment at www.amwestentertainment.com.