Updated on 09/17/2011 10:04AM

Inamorato enters Kentucky Derby picture


Inamorato thrust his face into the Kentucky Derby picture with a six-length score over Victory Moon in the 1 1/8-mile Al Bastikiya at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night.

Godolphin's Derby chances had looked modest at best before Inamorato's victory before a Super Saturday crowd in Dubai that witnessed preps for all six of the big races on the March 29 Dubai World Cup card. In leading throughout to defeat Victory Moon, a South African-trained Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old from whom he was receiving 14 pounds, Inamorato earned a place in the 1 1/4-mile UAE Derby, Dubai's key prep for the Run for the Roses.

"He only raced once last season in America because he had a tickly shin and he was given plenty time to develop and mature," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

The American race was a 5 1/2-furlong maiden event at Hollywood on July 6, which he won by a half-length over Outta Here, who also is expected to go to Dubai for the UAE Derby.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Inamorato ran the nine furlongs in 1:49.71. Last year's winner, Expect, did it in 1:51.16. The track record is 1:46.92.

Grandera gets through

Grandera's Dubai World Cup prep was a success, but the three-time Group 1 winner on turf hardly set Nad Al Sheba on fire when winning his dirt debut in the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge by a half-length over Grundlefoot.

Grandera came from midpack under a hand ride from Dettori to lead at the quarter pole in the 1 1/4-mile race. He quickly went clear and was ridden out to maintain an edge over Grundlefoot, who won the Grade 3 Baltimore Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico last June before being sent to Saudi Arabia. Although he had Essence of Dubai, winner of the Super Derby 10 3/4 lengths behind in fifth, Grandera, timed in a pedestrian 2:02.83, will have to improve if he is going to test Medaglia d'Oro in the World Cup.

Grandera will be joined in the World Cup by Godolphin stablemates Sulamani and Moon Ballad, and Aquarelliste, who was a five-length winner of the Group 3 Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud on Saturday.

* Ipi Tombe established herself as the horse to beat in the Dubai Duty Free with a 3 3/4-length win in the Group 3 Jebel Hatta on turf. Bred in Zimbabwe and trained in South Africa, Ipi Tombe gave two pounds to an accomplished field of older colts and recorded her sixth straight victory, getting the 1 1/8 miles in a fast 1:48.62. Owned by Team Valor, Ipi Tombe will join trainer Elliott Walden after the Duty Free.

* The Group 3 Dubai City of Gold, a course and distance prep for the 1 1/2-mile Dubai Sheema Classic, went to Godolphin's Highest with stablemate and defending champ Narrative running fourth.

* Conroy won the six-furlong Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal for the second straight year.