02/20/2003 1:00AM

Danuta wins Dubai's Moonshell Mile


Danuta followed in the footsteps of previous winners Imperial Gesture and Muwakleh and won the $200,000 Moonshell Mile at Nad Al Sheba Thursday night.

A Belmont maiden winner for Eoin Harty last September, Danuta defeated her Godolphin stablemate Ashraaf by 7 3/4 lengths while getting the mile under Australian rider Kerrin McEvoy in 1:37.46. A Sunday Silence filly, Danuta had European Group 3 winners Loving Kindness and Lady Catherine well behind in fifth and sixth, with Festival Queen, the Harty-trained winner of the Moonshell Mile Prep, last of nine.

Danuta's options are many, with both the UAE 1000 Guineas on March 13 and the UAE Oaks on April 3 as possible preps for a run at the Kentucky Oaks.

Earlier on the card, Godolphin's German-bred Parhelion probably earned himself a spot in the March 29 UAE Derby with a 6 1/4-length victory in a one-mile maiden race. Third to Kafwain and eighth behind Vindication in a pair of California maiden races last summer, Parhelion was timed in 1:37.66.

* The Asian racing scene shifts to Sha Tin on Sunday for the 1 1/4-mile $1 million Hong Kong Gold Cup, which features a clash between Precision, the 66-1 winner of the Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 15, and Olympic Express, the 48-1 winner of the Hong Kong Mile the same day.