03/28/2010 12:00AM

Gloria de Campeao by a nose in Dubai World Cup

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Andrew Watkins
Gloria de Campeao gets his nose down on the wire to win a three-way photo finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - When Gloria de Campeao and Lizard's Desire hit the wire together in Saturday's $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse, it looked like pacesetter Gloria de Campeao had suffered the toughest of beats.

Lizard's Desire's jockey Kevin Shea thrust his right hand in the air in celebration, thinking he had caught Gloria de Campeao in the last stride.

Shea got it wrong. Glorida de Campeao had held on to win the world's richest race by a nose, paying $52.40 in United States betting pools.

In the massive crowd who witnessed the race's first running at newly-built Meydan, Gloria de Campeao's owner Stefan Friborg leaned over and kissed his wife in celebration, certain that his 7-year-old was first. Trainer Pascal Bary of France just stared at the massive television infield, desperate for confirmation. "I waited for the photography," Bary said.

Four minutes later, the result was announced. Gloria de Campeao, making his third start of the year in the Dubai World Cup, had won by a nose. Lizard's Desire, on the outside, finished a short head in front of Allybar, who raced between horses in the blanket finish. The first three finishers all ran in prep races at Meydan earlier this year. They were second, fourth and fifth in a $300,000 race on March 10.

Gloria de Campeao, Lizard's Desire, and Allybar were considered longshots in a field of 14. Gio Ponti, the champion older male and turf male in the United States in 2009, finished fourth, and was followed under the wire by Mastery, Gitano Hernando, Richard's Kid, Mr Brock, Crowded House, Twice Over, Red Desire, Vision d'Etat, Amor de Pobre, and Furthest Land.

Gloria de Campeao ran about 1 1/4 miles, or 2,000 meters, on a Tapeta synthetic track in 2:03.83. While the final time may seem slow for the distance by American standards, the fractions posted on Meydan's infield television were even slower relative to the way races are run. Gloria de Campeao, who was ridden by Tiago Pereira of Brazil, ran the first 800 meters, or about half-mile, in 52.16 seconds, and about six furlongs in 1:16.94.

Not surprisingly, he did not come back to the field through the stretch, and did not get much of a challenge from the American-based runners. Gio Ponti was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Gloria de Campeao, and was closest at the finish. "He didn't get beat far," jockey Ramon Dominguez said.

Richard's Kid, who was at the back of the field early, finished 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner, briefly giving jockey Garrett Gomez the hope that he could reach the first three.

"When I pulled him out, I couldn't get him going," Gomez said. "I couldn't get him to quicken. It was like he was in quicksand. In the last sixteenth he shifted his gears."