Updated on 09/15/2011 2:18PM

It's Sakhee in the Classic; 'Light' in the Turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - The complexion of the two most important Breeders' Cup races underwent a dramatic change Wednesday morning as trainer Saeed bin Suroor announced that Arc de Triomphe winner Sakhee will run in Saturday's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on the dirt and Fantastic Light will start in the $2 million Turf.

"We like to surprise people," bin Suroor said.

Though it was widely expected that the two Godolphin horses would run in different Breeders' Cup races, the consensus was that Fantastic Light would wind up in the Classic and Sakhee would be entered in the Turf. That belief was strengthened Tuesday when both horses worked on Belmont Park's main track and Fantastic Light (five furlongs in 59.80 seconds) registered a much sharper drill than Sakhee (five furlongs in 1:01). But after bin Suroor discussed the situation with Godolphin heads Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, the decision to fly against conventional wisdom was made.

"From Tuesday's work we know that Sahkee can handle the dirt and he has the class to run a big race in the Classic," bin Suroor said. "Fantastic Light trained for two years on the dirt in Dubai and handled it well. But his best races have been on the turf, so we decided to run him in the Turf."

Neither Sakhee nor Fantastic Light have ever raced on the dirt.

Sakhee's last race was an impressive six-length victory in the Arc. Fantastic Light is coming off a head victory in the Irish Champion Stakes over previously undefeated Galileo, who will run in the BC Classic.

Entries for Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be drawn at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.