09/20/2002 11:00PM

Essence of Dubai uncatchable


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Essence of Dubai recaptured his best form Saturday when he led throughout to win the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs by 3 1/2 lengths over Walk in the Snow. It was another head back in third to A.P. Five Hundred.

Essence of Dubai, sent off as a slight favorite over Private Emblem, broke sharply and went wide into the first turn. He put up fractions of 23.77 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.96 for the half-mile mark, and 1:12.42 for six furlongs, with Walk in the Snow and A.P. Five Hundred in close pursuit.

In the stretch, Essence of Dubai drove clear, and covered 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:49.43. He was ridden by Jorge Chavez, and paid $7.

Essence of Dubai earned $300,000 for the win, which improved his record to 5 wins from 11 starts and earnings of $1,998,200. He races for Godolphin Racing and is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the same connections who sent out E Dubai to finish second in the Super Derby last year.

One start prior to the Super Derby, Essence of Dubai finished second to Harlan's Holiday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Pennsylvania Derby.

Ontrack attendance was 15,089.

DeBartolo Oaks: Bedanken wins on turf

Bedanken, a three-time stakes winner on dirt, won her turf debut on the Super Derby undercard when she drove to a two-length win over Chula in the $50,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. It was another neck back in third to Sheza Nasty Lady.

Bedanken, who paid $6.60 as the favorite, broke sharply from post 11 and stalked pacesetter Sheza Nasty Lady through fractions of 24.27 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.62 for the half-mile, and 1:12.14 for six furlongs.

Inside the final furlong, Bedanken took over and went on to cover the 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:42.39. Don Pettinger rode the winner for Pin Oak Stable and trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

The DeBartolo Oaks win was the fifth career victory in seven starts for Bedanken, and the first-place check of $30,000 improved her earnings to $132,590.

Earlier in her career, Bedanken, who is by Geri, won three dirt stakes: the Grade 3 Honeybee and Dixie Belle, both at Oaklawn, and the Sequoyah at Remington Park.

* De Real Deal ($5) became a stakes winner in the $40,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial when he kept the late-running Royal Win at bay by three-quarters of a length in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third to Mooring Sand. Jamie Theriot rode De Real Deal for trainer Cole Norman. De Real Deal covered the distance over good turf in 1:43.