03/27/2010 8:49AM

Meydan: California Flag third best in Al Quoz


California Flag, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita last November, was beaten a length in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint, the 6-year-old gelding's second start in Asia in the last four months.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, California Flag led for the first half-mile, was challenged in the final furlong by eventual winner Joy and Fun and lost second to Fravashi late. Jockey Joe Talamo said after the race that California Flag had an ideal trip.

The Al Quoz Sprint was California Flag's first start since a fifth-place finish in the $1.54 million Hong Kong Sprint last December. He was beaten 1 3-4 lengths in that race, and finished a length behind Joy and Fun, who was third in that field.

There is an argument in Dubai that the straightaway six furlongs at Meydan racecourse plays to horses that prefer longer distance. The theory was supported by Joy and Fun's win. While he was winless in his last seven starts, he did win a Group 3 over about seven furlongs on turf in Hong Kong last June.