03/30/2013 12:56PM

Golden Shaheen: Reynaldothewizard wins third in row with blinkers

Andrew Watkins
Jockey Richard Mullen celebrates after winning the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen aboard Reynaldothewizard

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – You can teach an old horse new tricks. Seven-year-old Reynaldothewizard has raced in blinkers his last three starts, and he has won them all. His newfound prowess had produced a handicap win and a victory in a Group 3 stakes this winter, and on Saturday night, Reynaldothewizard hit the jackpot, winning the Group 1, $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen by a neck over Balmont Mast. Defending champion Krypton Factor finished third, while the two U.S. runners in the race faded badly after showing early pace, Private Zone finishing ninth, Trinniberg 11th.

Reynaldothewizard’s winning streak put an end to a pair of losing streaks: Jockey Richard Mullen came into the night 0 for 23 in World Cup races, while owner-trainer Sateesh Seemar had been blanked in 34 World Cup card tries.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes in Dubai racing,” said Mullen, a 36-year-old Englishman who has been riding here 14 years. “This is certainly my most memorable night here by far.”

[DUBAI WORLD CUP: Watch replays and read race recaps]

Reynaldothewizard, by Speightstown, raced in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009 before being imported to the United Arab Emirates, where he has raced for three seasons. Reynaldothewizard never had even contested a Group stakes race in Dubai before he captured the Mahab Al Shimaal here by four lengths on March 9.

“Since we put the headgear on him, he just seems to have come into his own,” Mullen said.

As it had all night, Meydan’s synthetic racing surface took all the speed out of fast horses, and winning time for the Shaheen at about six furlongs was a pedestrian 1:12.16. At home, Trinniberg and Private Zone regularly run a quarter-mile, or 400 yards, in 21 seconds and change. The opening 400 meters in the Shaheen went in 24.55 seconds, and Trinniberg, racing along the rail, was struggling to keep up. Private Zone, breaking from the outside, appeared to be going more comfortably, but he had nothing for the stretch run.

“I thought there’d be more to come from the horse, but he was flat when I asked him to quicken,” said jockey Martin Pedroza.

Reynaldothewizard , who paid $21.40 in the Unites States, did his quickening in upper stretch after stalking the pacesetters. Well clear a half-furlong out, Reynaldothewizard had to hold on as Balmont Mast rallied up the rail and an improved Krypton Factor came down the center. But the wire came first, and Reynaldothewizard had earned by far the best win of his career.