03/27/2006 12:00AM

Dubai crowd applauds its local hero

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Electrocutionist's victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday set off wild celebrations in Dubai, which jockey Frankie Dettori said left him feeling "numb."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, received a polite round of applause when he walked past the stands en route to the paddock. But after Electrocutionst returned from his victory, with jockey Dettori beaming, the applause turned to impassioned and sustained cheers.

The local horse had beaten the American invaders.

But the connections of the second- and third-place finishers, Brass Hat and Wilko, were pleased with those performances.

William Bradley, the owner of Brass Hat, stood to the side of the walking ring after the race, searching for a tote board that does not exist. "I keep wondering what he paid," Bradley joked.

The loss ended a three-race winning streak for Brass Hat, but he did earn $1.2 million for running second.

"He's never run that far and we were concerned about the weight, but those are excuses," Bradley said. "We knew that when we entered. He ran a hell of a race."

Bradley said that Brass Hat would be sent to his family's Kentucky farm and might run in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in June.

Wilko, winless in 10 starts since the 2004 BC Juvenile, was with the leaders until the final furlong. It was his third consecutive third-place finish.

"I've never yelled so loud at the TV," co-owner Paul Reddam said from his Southern California home. "I thought he had a chance, but the stretch went on forever. He'll get a little respect now."

BC Classic for David Junior?

David Junior, who won the $5 million Dubai Duty Free in his first start of the year, may start in the Breeders' Cup Classic, trainer Brian Meehan said.

Purchased for $175,000 at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in-training sale, David Junior has run only on turf in his 10-race career, which includes six wins and earnings of $3,596,938.

"I don't think he'd have any problem with it," Meehan said, referring to running on dirt. "I'd like to think by the end of the year we could be aiming for the Breeders' Cup Classic."

Last year, David Junior won four stakes, including the Group 1 Champion Stakes at 1 1/4 miles at Newmarket, England.

In the Dubai Duty Free, David Junior rallied through the field to catch the American pacesetter The Tin Man. When the field reached the top of the stretch, Meehan had no doubt that David Junior could catch The Tin Man.

"I thought he would bolt up," Meehan said. "You could see they were going a hell of a pace."

Meehan said that David Junior would be pointed for the Prince of Wales's Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting in June.

Host to retire this year

Host, who finished fourth in the Duty Free, is expected to be retired and sent to Australia for stud duty later this year, said his trainer, Todd Pletcher, before Saturday's race.

Owned by Melynk Racing Stables, Host, 6, has won 8 of 18 starts and $898,286. Pletcher said details have yet to be finalized.

"It's in the process, but I don't think it's done," he said. "It looks like Australia."

Host was a multiple stakes winner in Chile in 2003 before joining Pletcher's barn at the start of 2004.

Host won two stakes in 2004 - the Grade 2 Knickerbocker Handicap at Belmont and the Grade 3 Tropical Park Turf Handicap at Calder.

Irridescence's long trip for naught

The Duty Free Stakes was an exercise in frustration for the Team Valor partnership of Kentucky.

Irridescence, their 5-year-old stakes-winning mare from South Africa, was scratched moments before the race after striking a rail with her stifle, according to Team Valor president Barry Irwin.

"What a long way to come for nothing," Irwin said. "I wanted to see how she'd run today."