03/26/2005 12:00AM

Godolphin's second-stringer Kentucky-bound

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UAE Derby winner Blues and Royals will go straight to the Kentucky Derby without another prep, according to Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Blues and Royals, considered to be a second-string 3-year-old for Godolphin Racing, is on his way to the Kentucky Derby on May 7 after a shockingly easy 12-length win in Saturday's $2 million UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba.

Making his first start of the year, first start on dirt, and stakes debut, Blues and Royals turned in a brilliant performance, kicking away from a solid field.

The surprise among the 12 starters was the poor performance of Shamardal, the 2004 European champion 2-year-old male. Making his dirt debut, Shamardal was near the front for the first six furlongs before fading badly. Shamardal finished ninth, beaten 46 lengths.

"I could just never get him to settle," said jockey Frankie Dettori.

Going into the race, Shamardal was seen as Godolphin's best chance for a Kentucky Derby starter.

Blues and Royals, who paid $103.80 to win in the United States, raced off the pace shared by Gypsy Johnny and Shamardal. Blues and Royals moved closer to the front at the top of the three-furlong stretch, and rallied along the inside to reach the front.

Ridden by Kerrin McEvoy for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, Blues and Royals finished about 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.05.

Blues and Royals will go straight to the Kentucky Derby without another prep, according to Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

Marenostrum, trained by Bobby Frankel, finished second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Parole Board. Durban Thunder, trained by Ken McPeek finished eighth.

Sheema Classic: Phoenix Reach rallies

Phoenix Reach continued his remarkable worldwide campaign with a late rally to win the $2 million Sheema Classic over about 1 1/2 miles on turf. He paid $34.80 in the U.S.

Ridden by Martin Dwyer, Phoenix Reach was off the pace until early stretch. He reached the front with a wide move through the stretch, finishing in 2:30.54.

Razkalla, owned by Godolphin and ridden by McEvoy, finished second, after racing near the front early. Collier Hill, an outsider in the field of 11, finished third. Powerscourt, third in the Breeders' Cup Turf last October, finished fifth, losing by three lengths. Powerscourt was a half-length in front of Prince Arch, the lone American starter. Prince Arch won the

Group 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier this month.

Phoenix Reach, based in England, races for Winterbeck Manor Stud and trainer Andrew Balding. The Group 1 Sheema Classic marked his third win at that level in as many countries. Phoenix Reach won the 2003 Canadian International at Woodbine and the 2004 Hong Kong Vase in December.

Dubai Duty Free: Aussie in front

The Australian champion Elvstroem scored a front-running win in the $2 million Dubai Duty Free over about 1 1/8 miles on turf. He paid $22.20 in the U.S.

Elvstroem and Whilly, the winner of the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita in January, dueled on the front throughout before Elvstroem pulled away under Nash Rawiller to win by 2 3/4 lengths, finishing in 1:50.54. Right Approach finished third in the field of 14. Whilly, trained by Doug O'Neill, was the lone American entrant.

Jockey Felipe Martinez appeared to have Whilly in front with six furlongs remaining. "I thought I got him pretty relaxed and could take the other horse at any time," he said.

Elvstroem, 5, races for the Elvstroem Syndicate and trainer Tony Vasil. He has won 10 of 27 starts and $4,055,678.

Godolphin Mile: Purchase pays dividends

Grand Emporium, bought privately last Friday by Sheikh Rashid al Maktoum, rallied past American pacesetter Tsigane to win the $1 million Godolphin Mile. He paid $5.20 in the U.S.

Qais, who stalked the pace, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Tsigane, who faded in the final furlong.

Tsigane, trained by Julio Canani, overcame a slow start to take an early lead. He was in front until midstretch when Grand Emporium rallied on the outside.

A winner of 8 of 14 starts, Grand Emporium is trained by Michael de Kock and was ridden by Weichong Marwing. Grand Emporium has won stakes in South Africa and Dubai and is now bound for England, where he will be trained by Mazin al Kurdi.