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Jockey Olivier Peslier and Call the Wind head to the winner's enclosure after the Longines Turf Handicap.

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2020 Longines Turf Handicap Results

Date: 02/29/2020

The $2.5 million Longines Turf Handicap is a 3000-meter (about 1 7/8 mile) trip around three turns of the turf course at King Abdulaziz Racetrack, rated "good-to-firm" (GoingStick 8.8) with the temporary rail out 6 feet. A full field of 14 older horses went to post, with 2018 Melbourne Cup (G1) and 2019 Dubai Gold Cup (G2) winner Cross Counter sent off as the 6-5 favorite. In to challenge him included 5-1 second choice Dee Ex Bee, 5th in the Meydan Cup after finishing 3rd in the Prix du Cadran (G1), and 7-1 third choice Call the Wind, 2nd in the Prix du Cadran and Prix Royal-Oak (G1).

Call the Wind leads down the stretch

Jockey Mickael Barzalona sent Dee Ex Bee to the lead first time by while pressed by 114-1 Contango and stalked by Cross Counter and 31-1 Dramatic Device. Rounding the clubhouse turn, Dramatic Device bolted to the outside and was pulled up by jockey Oisin Murphy. On the far turn Dee Ex Bee tired allowing Contango to briefly lead before tiring. Call the Wind, midpack early under Olivier Peslier, took over at the 3/16 pole and easily held off late-running 21-1 Mekong by 2 1/2 lengths in 3:11.19. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to 11-1 Prince of Arran third, while Cross Counter checked in 5th beaten 7 lengths.

Results Chart for the race from Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia which includes a link to the video replay. Results for US wagering:

3rd RACE King Abdulaziz - Longines Turf Handicap 3 Call the Wind 17.40 6.80 5.00 9 Mekong 20.40 11.00 5 Prince of Arran 6.80 Running time - 3:11.19 $1.00 EXACTA 3-9 162.70 $1.00 TRIFECTA 3-9-5 1,628.50 $1.00 SUPERFECTA 3-9-5-11 117,772.70

Left: Call the Wind in the winner's enclosure. Winning trainer Freddy Head said, "Call The Wind showed how good he is there. He was able to quicken on that ground, which I wasn't sure about. We had a lovely run, but I know that horse is not an easy horse to ride as he goes in snatches in the race. He goes well, then he has nothing and he can be a bit of a lazy sort but Olivier gave him a great, great ride. He stays and has a lot of stamina so Oliver chose to stay on the rail and do his race like that.

Right: Call the Wind heads back to the barn after the race in his new winner's blanket.

Left: Call the Wind in the walking ring. Winning jockey Olivier Peslier said, "I'm very happy with the horse. He's a Group 1 horse and you need a Group 1 horse to come to this race in Saudi Arabia, and if you are not Group 1 you cannot win. I'm very happy with the ground on the turf track. After three months when you see what the team has done here, they've worked very hard and done a fantastic job. I have ridden here for a very, very long time and at the other track and I see the construction here and it's very good."

Right: Call the Wind in the post parade. Head added, "It's funny because this horse is six now but I think he has improved. In his mind he is a much better and nicer horse to train. He was very difficult to train early on and wouldn't go into the stalls and that was why he didn't run much at three. I think he's still improving."

Left: Second place finisher Mekong returns after the race. Jockey Jamie Spencer said, "He's always a step slow from the barrier. I was pleased with how the pace was. He ran a very brave race. No real excuses."

Right: Third place finisher Prince of Arran in the walking ring. Trainer Charlie Fellowes said, "He ran a great race, did everything right, had a good position. They went hard, I think they've gone a good clip which has played into our hands. He is a strong stayer and he is just a lovely honest horse. He's run brilliant."

Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Cross Counter in the walking ring. Jockey William Buick said,  "He ran a good race. He had a lot of weight to carry. I think that's all."

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