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Jockey Felix Coetzee celebrates aboard Rocket Man after winning the Dubai Golden Shaheen

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2011 Dubai Golden Shaheen & Al Quoz Sprint Results

Date: 03/26/2011

There are two sprints held on Dubai World Cup night, one on the "dirt" and one on the turf. The $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) is the feature sprint event on the card, contested at 1200 meters (about 6 furlongs) around one turn of the Tapeta main track. After defending champion Kinsale King scratched the day of the race, a field of 9 older horses went to post on Saturday night, with last year's runner-up Rocket Man sent off as the heavy 4-5 favorite off his win in the RDA Cup at Kranji in Singapore after finishing a close second in the Hong Kong Sprint (G1). In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice and top American entrant Euroears, winner of the Palos Verdes (G2) at Santa Anita last out, and 6-1 third choice Dynamic Blitz, winner of the major local prep, the Al Shindagha Sprint (G3).

Rocket Man (outside) passes Euroears (rail) in the stretch

Jockey Mike Smith sent Euroears to the front immediately, getting the opening quarter mile in 24.20 while being pressed by Rocket Man down the backstretch and on the turn. Euroears opened a clear lead at the 1/4 pole and looked homefree but Rocket Man was up to the challenge, gaining steadily on the pacesetter to pass him at the 1/16 pole. Rocket Man pulled away late to win by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:11.28. It was just 1/4 length back to late-running 13-1 Sunny King third.

Results Chart for the race from Racing Post which incluces a link to the video replay. Results for US wagering:

5th RACE Maydan Racecourse - DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN (Group 1) 
 9 Rocket Man           $3.60    $2.10    - 
 7 Euroears                      $3.40    - 
 6 Sunny King                    $6.80    - 
Running time - 1:11.28

$1 Exacta 9-7                 $7.10
$1 Trifecta 9-7-6            $41.00
$1 Superfecta 9-7-6-10      $234.70

Left: Rocket Man gets a kiss as his connections celebrate after the race. His trainer Patrick Shaw said, "It would've been a pleasure to bump Kinsale King, but that's racing and I'm sure he'll come to Singapore and we'll meet him there (in the KrisFlyer International Sprint on May 22). This made up for last year."

Right: Rocket Man heads back to the stable in his new winner's blanket. His jockey Felix Coetzee said, "He's been very composed all week and we were confident. At the turn he was travelling that easily I knew it would take a super horse to beat us. Everything went according to plan in the race. He traveled very well and I was comfortable."

Left: Second place finisher Euroears heads out to the track before the race. His jockey Mike Smith said, "He ran really well. It got a little warm tonight and the track was a little sticky. If you can get over it you're better off, but he's such a big powerful horse, he got more into it and that didn't help." Trainer Bob Baffert added, "We got beat by a good horse, but we didn't leave empty handed. We got a little something. Everything went smooth here. We never had a hiccup but the wire is too far down the track here. My guy thought it was all over. He works faster in the morning in California, but it was a good run. We'll get him back on dirt and point to the Breeders' Cup."

Right: Third place finisher Sunny King heads out to the track. His jockey Gerald Mosse said, "He gave me everything. 1200m is a bit too short for him but he gave me his best and I can't complain to run third."

J J The Jet Plane rallies on the outside

The second race on the card was the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (G3) contested at 1000 meters (about 5 furlongs) on the turf straightaway at Meydan. A full field of 16 older horses went to post with Hong Kong Sprint (G1) winner J J The Jet Plane bet down to 11-10 favoritism, off his win in the local prep, the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Handicap. Also in the field included 9-2 second choice Mr. Gruff, unraced since winning the Shoemaker Mile Handicap (G1) at Hollywood last May, and 9-1 third choice Stradivinsky, winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint last out.

Jockey Adrian Nicholls sent 86-1 longshot Inxile to the front and he battled for the lead with 22-1 Better Be The One as the field exited the chute and joined the main section of the course. Better Be The One took over the lead from Inxile at the 3/16 pole, before 18-1 War Artist, who sat mid-pack early, put in his run to gain a short lead with just a furlong to go. However, J J The Jet Plane, who sat close to the leaders the entire way, found another gear and powered ahead in the final strides to win by a head in 59.14 seconds over the good turf. It was another head back to Better Be The One third.

Results Chart for the race from Racing Post which incluces a link to the video replay. Results for US wagering:

2nd RACE Maydan Racecourse - AL QUOZ SPRINT (Group 2) 
11 J J The Jet Plane           $4.20    $2.60    - 
 9 War Artist                           $9.00    - 
 4 Better Be The One                    $9.60    - 
Running time -  :59.14

$1 Exacta 11-9                $25.40
$1 Trifecta 11-9-4           $238.70
$1 Superfecta 11-9-4-8     $4,333.30

Left: J J The Jet Plane in the winner's enclosure with majority owner Henrik Du Preez, co-owner and trainer Michael "Lucky" Houdalakis and jockey Bernard Fayd'Herbe. Houdalakis said, "I went through a terrible feeling at the start of the race as I saw him going sideways and fall back. But when I spotted him again I saw that he can make up lost ground if he has another 70 meters to go. He had a lot of ground to make up and he did in the end, showing what he a champion he is. It's so awesome to have a horse like him. He's such a wonderful horse and I cannot cut down on my praise for him."

Right: J J The Jet Plane before the race. His jockey Bernard Fayd'Herbe said, "I jumped well and was happy with where I was but I got into a box at the wrong time. The horse got me out and he's won a very good race. It's the most valuable win of my career and a definite highlight, though I have won some big races in South Africa." Owner Henrik Du Preez added, "He was like a machine today and by doing so he has made such a brilliant statement on South African racing. The whole world will be watching us. It is a proud moment."

Left: Second place finisher War Artist warms up before the race. His jockey Olivier Peslier said, "I was alone. There was nobody with me and then he got me on the line."

Right: Third place finisher Better Be The One heads out to the track. His jockey Danny Beasley said, "We got a good start and got a nice bit of cover in behind Picadilly Filly. At the 500m mark, I had to come off the back of her and made my run earlier than I wanted to. I got to the front in the last furlong and I could feel JJ coming home strongly. His class kicked in, in the end."

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