02/18/2009 1:00AM

Deem, Front House meet again in Balanchine


Deem and Front House will renew their budding rivalry at Nad Al Sheba on Friday night in the $200,000 Balanchine Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile turf contest that has been upgraded to Group 3 status this year.

On Feb. 5, Deem got the best of Front House with a 1 1/2-length victory in the newly upgraded Group 3 Cape Verdi Stakes at a mile, and the result could very well be the same this time around.

The added furlong of the Balanchine works in favor of both fillies. An Irish-bred cross between Dalakhani and Sadler's Wells, the Jerry Barton-trained Deem had previously aired in three minor dirt races in Saudi Arabia, but displayed a touch of class in her turf debut. She will be ridden by Fernando Jara.

A Sadler's Wells-Darshaan cross, the Mike de Kock-trained, Irish-bred Front House was a Group 2 winner going 1 1/2 miles in South Africa and will have Kevin Shea in the saddle.

In fact, the first seven home in the Cape Verdi will all line up for the Balanchine. Chief among the others are Eva's Request, a British Group 3 winner and third in the Cape Verdi, and a German Group 3 winner and the Cape Verdi fourth-place finisher, Peace Royale.

The newcomer is the intriguing Black Emblem. Trained in Japan by Shineguki Kojima, she is coming off an Oct. 19 victory in the 1 1/4-mile, Grade 1 Shuka Sho at Kyoto, where she beat Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup winner Little Amapola, Japanese 1000 Guineas winner Reginetta, and Japanese Oaks winner Tall Poppy. Michael Kinane picks up the ride.