11/16/2009 12:00AM

Passion for Gold cruises at Saint-Cloud


Passion for Gold reveled in the heavy ground at Saint-Cloud on Saturday as he cruised to a six-length victory in the $374,000 Criterium de Saint-Cloud, the last Group 1 race of the year on the European calendar.

Frankie Dettori put Godolphin's 2-year-old son of Medalgia d'Oro on the lead entering the 2 1/2-furlong stretch and never looked back, leaving the Aidan O'Brien-trained Mikhail Glinka in his wake. The German-bred and trained Zazou was another three-quarters of a length back in third, with the German-bred, O'Brien-trained Don Carlos fourth. The winning time for the 3-2 favorite, who was coupled with eighth-place Simon de Montfort in the betting, was 2:19.10.

In victory, Passion for Gold was paying a compliment to Europe's leading 2-year-old, St Nicholas Abbey, who had beaten him into third place in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on Sept. 27. Passion for Gold, who was bred in Kentucky by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, had previously won a one-mile maiden at Thirsk by five lengths.

His victory follows on the heels of Godolphin's Breeders' Cup Juvenile triumph with Vale of York. Like that son of Invincible Spirit who is being tentatively aimed at the Kentucky Derby, Passion for Gold will be spend the winter in Dubai at Godolphin's Al Quoz training center. His major early season target will be the Epsom Derby, for which William Hill lists him as their 16-1 third favorite behind the O'Brien-trained St Nicholas Abbey at 9-4 and that one's stablemate, Criterium International winner Jan Vermeer at 14-1.