05/05/2006 11:00PM

George Washington rallies to win 2000 Guineas


George Washington gave his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, his fourth victory in the 2000 Guineas with a 2 1/2-length score over Sir Percy at Newmarket on Saturday.

Kieren Fallon, riding George Washington, the 3-2 favorite in the $607,000 race, rated his horse near the back of the 14-runner field before setting him down just inside the halfway point of the straight mile. George Washington responded when asked to take the lead at the quarter pole, and the 4-1 Sir Percy could not keep pace. George Washington crossed the line in 1:36.86 on ground labeled good to firm, firm in places.

Olympian Odyssey, at 33-1 the longest-priced of three Barry Hills-trained entries, was third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Sir Percy. George Washington's stablemate, Horatio Nelson, came home eighth.

"He's got an electrifying turn of foot," Fallon said of George Washington. "He's a great horse, all right."

Fallon rode George Washington despite receiving three stitches in his foot on Thursday because of an injury suffered at Tipperary.

Like the first three of O'Brien's 2000 Guineas winners - King of Kings, Rock of Gibraltar, and Footstepsinthesand - George Washington was making his seasonal debut at Newmarket. Last year's 2-year-old European champion, George Washington had not run since winning the seven-furlong National Stakes at The Curragh last Sept. 18. That victory followed a Group 1 score in the six-furlong Phoenix Stakes.

Bred to be a good one, George Washington is by Danehill and out of the Alysheba mare Bordighera, and is a half-brother to Grandera, the winner of two Group 1 races at 1 1/4 miles, the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes. Bred in Ireland by Lael Stables, George Washington sold for $2.1 million at Tattersalls October yearling sale and is owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.

Like Grandera, George Washington is quirky. He refused to go into the winner's circle after the race.

"He's a horse who has thought he is superior from the time he was born," O'Brien said. "He's developed this attitude that he is in a different class from every other animal around. He has a huge belief in himself."

Although O'Brien was noncommittal, George Washington is likely to make his next start in either the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on May 27 or at Royal Ascot in the St. James's Palace Stakes on June 20.