02/20/2009 1:00AM

My Central takes Balanchine in Dubai


My Central gave the Italian racing and breeding industries a much needed shot in the arm at Nad Al Sheba on Friday night as she came with a late rush to defeat a strong field in the Group 3, $200,000 Balanchine Stakes.

Bred in Italy by Azienda Agricola Antezzate SRL, My Central is a 5-year-old mare by Central Park. Trained for two years in Italy by Alduino and Giuseppe Botti, she was transferred by her owners at Scuderia Siba to South African conditioner Herman Brown to be trained in Dubai, but finished only sixth last time in Nad Al Sheba s Group 3 Cape Verdi Stakes. The winner of that race, Deem, set the pace in the Balanchine but weakened to finish fifth, four lengths behind the winner. Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, My Central got up by 1 1/4 lengths over Front House, who has been second in the Cape Verdi. Happy Spirit was third and Peace Royale fourth. The time for the 1 1/8 miles on a turf course labeled good was 1:51.09.

Racing in Italy has had a rough time of late. A horsemen s strike canceled all racing there for nearly two months last autumn. My Central s best previous efforts had been a win in the listed Premio Tadolina at the Capannelle in Rome last spring followed by a third in the Group 3 Premio Paolo Mezzanotte at San Siro in Milan. Italian-bred horses rarely win stakes races outside of their home country, so My Central s victory is something to celebrate.