02/17/2012 12:00AM

Dubai: Mahbooba wins the Balanchine Stakes for Mike de Kock


Two heads are better than one, and after First City fought past the Mike de Kock-trained Reem in the stretch run of the Balanchine Stakes on Friday at Meydan in Dubai, she was a sitting duck for the de Kock-trained race favorite, Mahbooba, who swept past and won the Group 2, $200,000 Balanchine by two and one-half lengths under Christophe Soumillon.

First City, who had beaten Mahbooba over one mile in the Jan. 20 Cape Verdi Stakes, just does not quite stay the nine-furlong distance of the Balanchine. After making the lead in mid-stretch, she was hard-pressed even to hold second over Reem, who was coming back at the wire and finished a neck behind in third. For the second day in a row, de Kock finished one-three in the Meydan feature, having done so Thursday with Viscount Nelson and Master of Hounds in the Al Fahidi Fort Stakes.

Dysphonia, a somewhat well regarded Godolphin runner, never got involved and checked in eighth of 10.

Mahbooba, an Australian-bred daughter of Galileo who ran about one and one-eighth miles over “good” turf in 1:50.27, won for the seventh time in 15 starts. De Kock said after the race that the Group 1 Sheema Classic on World Cup Night was her ultimate goal during the Dubai carnival.