08/17/2005 12:00AM

Punctilious rallies to victory


Punctilious gave Godolphin Racing its second Group 1 triumph in four days when she scored a mild surprise at York on Wednesday in the $452,000 Yorkshire Oaks.

A 4-year-old Danehill filly, Punctilious rallied from eighth to defeat Dash to the Top by a half-length in the 1 1/2-mile contest for fillies and mares, getting the distance on good ground in 2:28.76. Those two were followed by a trio of Group 1 winners: French invader Lune d'Or, English Oaks champ Eswarah, and German Oaks winner Iota. The 3-1 favorite, Playful Act, trailed home last of the 10 runners, 38 lengths behind Punctilious. The race was marred by a false start when only the gate holding longshot Aunt Julia succeeded in opening. After she was reloaded, Right Key, fourth in the Irish Oaks, refused to race.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Punctilious was following up on Dubawi's victory in the Prix Jacques le Marois for Godolphin on Sunday. Once again, Kerrin McEvoy, deputizing for the injured Frankie Dettori, was at the controls as he guided the 6-1 Punctilious to her first Group 1 victory.

Punctilious now looks ready for what could be a lucrative autumn campaign that could start with the 1 1/2-mile Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on Sept. 11.