08/29/2009 12:00AM

Delegator wins, headed to BC Mile


Delegator escaped from a trap along the rail to land the Group 2, $162,000 Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday, defeating Zacinto by 1 1/2 lengths in a performance that has him firmly on course for the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Making his first start in Godolphin blue, Delegator was stuck on the rail in third three furlongs from home behind Zacinto, who was traveling smoothly under Ryan Moore, and Ordnance Row. The 5-2 Zacinto got first run on the 4-6 Delegator to lead briefly at the furlong marker, but when Frankie Dettori eased Delegator out just inside the quarter pole, he quickened nicely to lead at the sixteenth pole.

It was a visually impressive victory but was gained off a painfully slow pace that ultimately led to a winning time of 1:41.54 on ground labeled good, good to firm in places. That is nearly six seconds off the track record and 1.64 seconds slower than the median time over the last three years at Goodwood.

Delegator's impressive 2 3/4-length victory in the Group 3 Craven Stakes in April led to his starting as the 3-1 favorite in the 2000 Guineas, in which he was 1 1/2 lengths second to Sea the Stars. Heavy ground at the Curragh produced a distant eighth-place finish behind Mastercraftsman in the Irish 2000. Back on good to firm ground at Royal Ascot, he returned to form with a sharp neck second to Mastercraftsman in the St. James's Palace Stakes on June 16.

Trained by Brian Meehan, Delegator will go next in the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Sept. 26, when he is expected to run into Rip Van Winkle, the Aidan O'Brien-trained winner of the Sussex Stakes over the Celebration course and distance. Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said the Breeders' Cup Mile is Delegator's main objective this fall and that he will stay in training next year.