03/28/2009 12:00AM

Two Step Salsa wins Godolphin Mile


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Americans dominated the $1 million Godolphin Mile - ex-Americans, that is. Two Step Salsa led virtually all the way in Saturday night's first Thoroughbred race at Nad Al Sheba, easily holding clear a mild bid from Gayego. Both horses campaigned last year at 3 in the United States, and were purchased privately by Godolphin late in the season.

Two Step Salsa likes to lead, and did so Saturday evening, out-footing rail-drawn, first-time dirt horse Cat Junior and going clear down the backstretch run. Jockey Frankie Dettori had chosen Two Step Salsa over Gayego, and chose well. He came into the long stretch here with plenty of horse, and Two Step Salsa lengthened nicely in a strong finish.

"I didn't have anybody close to me," Dettori said. "I was able to relax in front."

Gayego raced in mid-pack, and came about six wide for the stretch run. He appeared to be making mild progress in midstretch, but ran evenly late. Longshot Don Renato narrowly got third, with former American Summer Doldrums fourth. Two Step Salsa won by 2 1/4 lengths, and was timed in 1:36.82 for 1,600 meters. He paid $5.60 and topped a $17.60 exacta.