12/14/2008 12:00AM

Record repeat for Good Ba Ba in Hong Kong Mile


Good Ba Ba and Doctor Dino scored repeat victories in the Hong Kong Mile and Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin on Sunday before Eagle Mountain cruised to a handy score in the Hong Kong Cup. The four American runners all finished out of the money in their two races, Kip Deville the most disappointing of all in finishing ninth behind the record-settting Good Ba Ba in the Mile.

In one of the better efforts seen anywhere in the world this year, Good Ba Ba rallied to win the $2 million Mile by 2 1/2 lengths over fellow Hong Kong trainee Able One, setting a track record of 1:32.71 as the 3.45-1 favorite. A gelded 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Lear Fan, Good Ba Ba was bouncing back from a pair of losses with the help of Christophe Soumillon, who was riding him for the first time. Egyptian Ra, who had beaten Good Ba Ba into third last time in the International Mile Trial, made it a Hong Kong sweep of the first three places as he came home three-quarters of a length behind Able One.

"To win like that and break the track record was beyond my expectations," said trainer Andreas Schutz. "I'd like to keep him in Hong Kong for the big mile races here next year, but we'll think about going to Dubai for the Duty Free."

Kip Deville got it all wrong in his first attempt on a right-handed course. Fourth early in perfect striking position, he blew the turn and drifted wider and wider through the 2 1/2-furlong stretch, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

"It was just the wrong way around for him," said rider Cornelio Velasquez." He was never tracking comfortably and was always on the wrong lead."

Awesome Gem did even worse, never picking up his feet in finishing 12th of 14, beaten 8 3/4 lengths.

"He was lost out there," reported rider Garrett Gomez. "He was changing legs and confused."

Eagle Mountain was just as impressive as Good Ba Ba in winning the $2.58 million Hong Kong Cup, coming from a wide seventh to lead at the three-sixteenths pole, drawing quickly clear by three lengths before being eased down late by Kevin Shea for a 1 1/4-length triumph over French invader Balius. Sent off as the 4.95-1 second choice, the Mike de Kock-trained 4-year-old son of Rock of Gibraltar covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.92 on good ground. Linngari was third with the 1-3 favorite Viva Pataca fourth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths after a rough trip in a very roughly run race.

Eagle Mountain managed to avoid the trouble despite starting slowly in just his third race since ending a one-year layoff in October. Second to Conduit in the Breeders' Cup Turf, he must surely rank as one of the world's best middle-distance horses after this performance.

"Maybe the injury that forced him to miss a year was a blessing in disguise, as he had an enforced rest and a chance to mature." said de Kock. "He ran a massive race in America and has come on again. He'll now go back to Dubai and we'll decide what race to aim for. I've thought he might be as good as Archipenko and Sun Classique, but after today he may be even better."

Out of Control tracked the early pace and led briefly at the head of the stretch before weakening to finish 5 1/4 lengths behind in seventh, Gomez reporting that "it was a good run, but his draw in 14 didn't help. He was very wide, but that is the luck of racing."

Trapped along the rail through the stretch, Artiste Royal was one of five horses who ran into trouble; he finished 10 lengths back in 11th.

"It was like an apprentice race," said his rider Olivier Peslier, "interference all over. I got no breaks at all."

Other riders victimized by the scrimmaging said things like "the roughest race I've ever ridden in, a disaster," and "crazy, the worse race I've ever ridden in."

The 1.30-1 favorite Doctor Dino scored his second victory in the $1.8 million Hong Kong Vase after a furious duel to nip Purple Moon by a short head, with Jaguar Mail a head farther back in third. Trained in France by Richard Gibson, the 6-year-old son of Muhtathir covered the 1 1/2 miles in a tepid 2:29.14 while giving Peslier his fourth Vase victory and sixth overall on Hong Kong International Raceday.

In the six-furlong, $1.5 million Hong Kong Sprint, the John Moore-trained Inspiration scored a 67-1 surprise under Darren Beadman with a neck victory over a second local trainee, Green Birdie. Australian favorite Apache Cat was a neck behind in third, with European sprint champ Marchand d'Or beaten 1 1/4 lengths in sixth after racing in tight through the stretch. Inspiration was timed in 1:08.68, 1.18 seconds off Sacred Kingdom's track mark.

A crowd of 52,000 at Sha Tin helped boost total handle on the 10-race card to $130 million.