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Excessivepleasure looks to rediscover form
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The $1 million Godolphin Mile on Saturday at Nad Al Sheba racecourse can revive the career of Excessivepleasure or continue a strong 2004 campaign for During.
The Godolphin Mile is run on dirt, and is one of five major stakes that support the $6 million . The others are the $2 million Sheema Classic, $2 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes, $2 million UAE Derby, and $2 million Golden Shaheen.
Excessivepleasure won three stakes last year, but was badly beaten in two starts at Santa Anita in January.
He finished seventh in his first start of the year, the Grade 2 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes, a race won by During. Excessivepleasure followed the San Fernando with a 10th-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Classic.
In 2003, Excessivepleasure was first or second in seven of nine starts.
Excessivepleasure is winless in three starts since the Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park last October. A 4-year-old, Excessivepleasure is owned by Ty and Lee Leatherman and trained by Doug O'Neill, who will start Fleetstreet Dancer in the Dubai World Cup.
O'Neill has never won in Dubai, but he did finish second in the 2003 Golden Shaheen with Avanzado.
Leandro Mora, an assistant to O'Neill, said Excessivepleasure has done well since arriving in Dubai.
"I think he'll run the race of his life. He's our big ace out here," he said. "He's a tough little horse. I've got a good feeling, like I had with Avanzado."
During is expected to be favored in the Godolphin Mile, and starts from the rail.
After winning the San Fernando Jan. 10, During returned to finish a game second to Dubai World Cup entrant Domestic Dispute in the Strub Stakes on Feb. 7.
During has shown ample speed in the past. Last year, During led throughout the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park and was on or near the lead throughout the Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park.
On Saturday, Jerry Bailey rides During for the first time since the Swaps Stakes. He will not get much instruction from Tim Yakteen, an assistant to trainer Bob Baffert who accompanied During to Dubai.
"You don't have to tell Bailey anything," Yakteen said. "He knows the track as well as any other rider."
Godolphin Racing will have two starters in the Mile - Firebreak and Inamorato - who might be the stable's best chances for the day.
Firebreak won this race last year, holding off U.S. invader Grey Memo by three-quarters of a length. Inamorato finished behind During in two stakes in New York last year, running fourth in the Grade 2 Jerome Handicap at Belmont and third in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct.
In Sheema Classic, the lone American representative, Hard Buck, is an outsider in the about 1 1/2-mile turf race. Trained by Kenneth McPeek, Hard Buck has won three stakes since August, including the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Feb. 22.
The European invaders Fair Mix and Polish Summer are the top contenders. Godolphin starts Lunar Sovereign, who won the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park last September.
Sarafan, the winner of the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in 2002, is a tantalizing 10-1 with English bookmakers to win the Duty Free over about 1 1/8 miles on turf. A 7-year-old gelding trained by Neil Drysdale, Sarafan was fourth in the Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 6 in his first start of the year.
Bright Sky, a French stakes winner who was sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita last October, and Crimson Palace, a Group 1 stakes winner in South Africa in 2002, are top contenders.
There are no American-trained entrants in the $2 million UAE Derby, run over about 1 1/8 miles on dirt. The race is led by Little Jim, an Argentine-bred who won the UAE 2000 Guineas here in February but was third behind Petit Paris in a stakes here on March 6.
* The first race on the program is the $250,000 Kahayla Classic for Arabians over about 1 1/4 miles on dirt. In the race are 10 locally owned runners, including Van Nistelrooy.
In 2002, Van Nistelrooy was the champion 3-year-old male in the United States when he was known as Stellarr and raced for Dianne Waldron of Florida. Stellarr was sent to Dubai last year and subsequently renamed.
Second Race Probable Post 8:40 a.m. EST
GODOLPHIN MILE (Group 2)
1 mile. 4-year-olds & up. Purse $1,000,000
|4||1||During||J D Bailey||126||Class of field for 2x Dubai World Cup-winning trainer||2-1|
|7||8||Firebreak||L Dettori||126||Godolphin will have defending champ ready||3-1|
|8||6||Inamorato||K McEvoy||126||Always finds one or two better||4-1|
|2||2||Conflict||B Doyle||126||Sharp local veteran won this in 2000||10-1|
|5||5||Estimraar||G Hind||126||3rd last year, looked dull in prep off one-year absence||12-1|
|1||7||Cherry Pickings||T E Durcan||126||Has improved under leading UAE trainer Al Kurdi||12-1|
|6||3||Excessivepleasure||J K Court||126||Not off last two 1||2-1|
|9||4||Tropical Star||R Mullen||126||Likes the course||10-1|
|3||9||D'Anjou||M J Kinane||126||Last was dull; makes dirt debut||20-1|
Third RaceProbable Post 9:20 a.m. est
UAE DERBY (Group 2)
1 1/8 miles. 3-year-olds. Purse $2,000,000
|5||2||Ascertain||E Ahern||121||British dirt specialist on his way to U.S.||10-1|
|1||9||Little Jim||T E Durcan||130||Better than latest when he had trouble||3-1|
|7||4||Jack Sullivan||M J Kinane||121||Ahead of Rosencrans, Lingfield listed winner on Sat.||5-1|
|3||7||Petit Paris||J D Bailey||130||Wins this with repeat of last||3-1|
|6||1||Great Exhibition||L Dettori||121||1 1/4l behind Master David;Godolphin's mdn Derby hope||6-1|
|2||3||Lundy's Liability||W Marwing||130||One-paced colt may prefer turf||6-1|
|8||6||Menhoubah||A Solis||118||Nice filly must be better than UAE Oaks 3rd||14-1|
|9||8||Tamarillo||G Hind||118||UAE Oaks winner facing much tougher||14-1|
|4||5||Festive Style||R L Moore||126||UAE Oaks runner-up appears up against it||16-1|
Fourth RaceProbable Post 10:10 a.m. est
DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC (Group 1)
1 1/2 miles (Turf). 4-year-olds & up. Purse $2,000,000
|9||6||Polish Summer||G L Stevens||123||Edge over Fair Mix; debut for new Fabre/Stevens team||4-1|
|3||12||Fair Mix||O Peslier||123||Course & distance winner would be no surprise||3-1|
|13||9||Warrsan||M J Kinane||123||Springtime horse should be right there||6-1|
|6||10||Hard Buck||J R Velazquez||123||Prepped nicely at Gulfstream; facing much tougher||8-1|
|11||2||Razkalla||T E Durcan||123||Last says he won't be too far away||14-1|
|7||4||Lunar Sovereign||L Dettori||123||Decent seasonal debut behind Fair Mix||8-1|
|4||13||Gorylla||A Mota||123||Brazilian import won Argentina's best race||25-1|
|5||8||Grand Ekinoks||A Solis||123||Turk was 5th in last year's tougher edition||15-1|
|8||11||Martaline||J D Bailey||123||Fabre's second string prefers longer||15-1|
|2||3||Delsarte||K McEvoy||123||Improving; makes Godolphin debut off 7-mth absence||15-1|
|10||1||Rawyaan||R Hills||123||One of the outsiders||25-1|
|1||5||Compton Bolter||E Ahern||123||A listed race type at best||25-1|
|12||7||Scott's View||S Chin||123||Handicapper was well behind Fair Mix in latest||30-1|
Fifth Race Probable Post 10:50 a.m. est
DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN (Group 1)
6 furlongs. 3-year-olds & up. Purse $2,000,000
|2||3||Cajun Beat||J D Bailey||126||BC Sprint winner profits from 11-lb weight shift w/Alke||3-2|
|1||12||Alke||J R Velazquez||126||Can surprise again if he pounces late||5-1|
|7||11||Meiner Select||Y Take||126||Consistent Japanese gets acid test; goes for Take||6-1|
|8||1||Multidandy||F Coetzee||126||Beaten in last by world's best turf sprinter; prefers dirt||8-1|
|9||10||Our New Recruit||A Solis||126||Could be running late; jock won this with Big Jag||14-1|
|11||5||Tour of the Cat||J K Court||126||Back on dirt but in tough||20-1|
|10||7||State City||L Dettori||126||Godolphin's defending champ has been absent||8-1|
|4||9||Conroy||G L Stevens||126||Won same prep last year before flopping in this||20-1|
|3||6||Conceal||R Hills||126||Should beat bottom three confirmed turfers||30-1|
|6||8||Feet So Fast||T E Durcan||126||Has shown decided preference fo r turf||20-1|
|12||4||Tsigane||D R Flores||126||Dirt debut; Canani hoping for gypsy miracle||20-1|
|5||2||Dantana||K McEvoy||126||Aussie has not handled switch to dirt||30-1|
Sixth RaceProbable Post 11:30 a.m. est
DUBAI DUTY FREE
about 1 1/8 miles (Turf). 4-year-olds & up. Purse $2,000,000
|10||11||Bright Sky||D Boeuf||121||Loves firm ground; properly placed for grand finale||5-2|
|9||5||Surveyor||K Shea||126||Trainer/rider won w/Ipi Tombe last year; dangerous||5-1|
|11||2||Crimson Palace||L Dettori||121||Lightly raced Godolphin mare whipped males here||4-1|
|2||1||Evolving Tactics||P J Smullen||126||Improving sort will be running late||12-1|
|7||7||Right Approach||W Marwing||126||De Kock's 2nd string holds decision over Surveyor||10-1|
|1||10||Checkit||T E Durcan||126||Has been hinting at better||>15-1|
|8||8||Sarafan||G L Stevens||126||Needed last but facing much tougher here||12-1|
|5||4||Paolini||E Pedroza||126||2nd last year off shorter layoff; may need one||8-1|
|6||3||Refuse To Bend||K McEvoy||126||2000 Guineas winner makes debut for Godolphin||12-1|
|4||6||Nayyir||M J Kinane||126||Inconsistent type doesn't run well fresh||20-1|
|3||9||Martillo||W Mongil||126||Muscle-bound colt has failed twice in this company||30-1|
Seventh RaceProbable Post 12:20 p.m. est
DUBAI WORLD CUP (Group 1)
1 1/4 miles. 4-year-olds & up. Purse $6,000,000
|12||9||Victory Moon||W Marwing||126||De Kock's course specialist can upset Yanks||4-1|
|8||7||Pleasantly Perfect||A Solis||126||Best 10f horse in the USA||5-2|
|1||3||Admire Don||K Ando||126||Has 2 Japanese G1 wins at the distance by combined 10l||8-1|
|7||11||Medaglia d'Oro||J D Bailey||126||Won't stay 1 1/4m at this level; drew wide||2-1|
|4||10||Fleetstreet Dancer||J K Court||126||Beat Admire Don in the slop in Tokyo||10-1|
|3||1||Domestic Dispute||G L Stevens||126||Will be closer with further improvement off last||12-1|
|5||8||Grand Hombre||L Dettori||126||Godolphin runner not in same league as Yanks||25-1|
|10||6||Silent Deal||Y Take||126||Lightly raced Japanese colt may be better than this||25-1|
|2||4||Dinyeper||H L Karatas||126||Turk has taken to Nad Al Sheba but is facing tougher||50-1|
|11||12||State Shinto||T E Durcan||126||Has seen better days||66-1|
|6||2||King's Boy||M J Kinane||126||Arabian-trained stayer looks outclassed||66-1|
|9||5||Regent Bluff||Y Yoshida||126||Japanese veteran has never won at this distance||66-1|