03/28/2015 1:28PM

Solow impresses in Dubai Turf victory

Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins
Jockey Maxime Guyon celebrates Solow's victory in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on Saturday.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Freddie Head called his shot.

Solow, the 5-year-old gelding Head trains for owners and breeders Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, never had run in a Group 1 race before Saturday night. Yet this week, as Solow readied for the Group 1, $6 million Dubai Turf, Head called him one of the best horses he ever had trained, and even called him great.

And indeed, it was a great show Solow put on, blowing open the Dubai Turf with a breathtaking turn of foot at the top of the stretch. The referee stopped the fight with a furlong still to run. Jockey Maxime Guyon, who rode a great race, spent the last 10 seconds of the race pumping his fist and pointing to the Meydan crowd. 

Solow, racing in the No. 2 path in fifth or sixth position much of the race, was rated patiently by Guyon, who could have panicked and gone three wide on the far turn for fear of getting hemmed in. Instead, he waited and waited, only pulling Solow out for his kick after turning for home. And man, did Solow kick.

Running his final quarter-mile in 22.02 seconds, according to Trakus, Solow finished like there were flames coming out of his gray tail. While nowhere near the insanely fast clocking Just A Way turned in last year, his time of 1:47.76 for 1,800 meters (about nine furlongs) on good turf was the second-fastest in Meydan history.

The Grey Gatsby was left in Solow’s wake, beaten 4 1/4 lengths, but he actually ran well in defeat. The Grey Gatsby got hot and looked agitated before taking to the track, where he balked badly at the starting gate, was hooded and spun around several times before finally going in. He plugged away and away and scraped second from Mshawish while racing a distance that was an eighth of a mile short of his best.

Mshawish also did well in defeat, his training this week compromised by a bruised foot that barely resolved in time to start Saturday night.

But Solow was the star. By Singspiel, Solow was bred to run 1 1/2 miles and farther, and Head said the horse fooled him at first. Bulky and a little top-heavy, he was becoming fragile because of his build, and the decision was made in 2013 to geld him. Solow didn’t race for a year but has only gone forward since returning to the races in May 2014.

“It was his biggest test today, but he showed what a good horse he is,” said Head.

Head already has designs on the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which he has won five times, twice as Miesque’s jockey and three times as Goldikova’s trainer, and Head does not hesitate to put Solow in Goldikova’s class. The gelding’s major early-season goal is likely to be the Queen Anne Stakes on June 20 at Royal Ascot.