Updated on 09/17/2011 10:10AM

U.S. golden in Shaheen sprint


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - In a race that appears to have been created for the special talents of American sprinters, Avanzado can give the United States its fourth consecutive victory in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, one of six races worth at least $1 million on a $15.25 million at Nad Al Sheba Saturday night.

The six-furlong Golden Shaheen, at $2 million the world's richest sprint race, is run over a straight and level course that played right into the hands of 2000 winner Big Jag and Caller One, the winner of the last two runnings.

Avanzado is the choice over three American rivals this year, in no small part because of his experience on a similar straight course at Palermo in Argentina. Unbeaten in four tries in America going six furlongs on fast tracks, Avanzado and his rider Tyler Baze could be arriving in the winners' circle before some of his outclassed local rivals like Conflict and Conroy reach the finish line.

Xtra Heat, third in last year's Golden Shaheen when she failed to change leads, would become the leading female earner in history with a victory. Captain Squire prepped with a win over lesser in the restricted Sunshine Millions Sprint, while the reformed claimer My Cousin Matt may not be quite quick enough.

Duty Free

Ipi Tombe, all the rage in her native Zimbabwe, would prove a popular winner of the Group 1, $2 million Dubai Duty Free.

She has prepped for this 1 1/8-mile turf race with a pair of handy Nad Al Sheba scores for her South African trainer, Mike de Kock. In the Group 3 Jebel Hatta, Ipi Tombe gave nine male rivals two pounds each. In the Duty Free she will receive five pounds from each of 11 male foes.

Ipi Tombe also beat older colts in South Africa's best race, the July Handicap.

Co-owner Barry Irwin is so confident of her ability that he has penciled in the Arlington Million as her major objective after she is sent to trainer Elliott Walden next month.

Imtiyaz is the one Ipi Tombe must fear. Godolphin's 4-year-old Woodman colt, Imtiyaz finished second, only a neck behind Rouvres in a Chantilly Group 1 last June. He has been working brilliantly at Godolphin's Dubai headquarters at Al Quoz since winning the listed Burj Nahaar on dirt by 6 1/2 lengths on March 8.

Godolphin Mile

No fewer than five American horses will start in the Group 2, $1 million Godolphin Mile, which is run around one turn of Nad Al Sheba's triangular track.

Defending champ Grey Memo, Iowa Derby winner Easyfromthegitgo, Cornhusker Handicap winner Mr. John, Lusty Latin, and Cayoke must cope with the homecourt edge of Godolphin's Essence of Dubai, who was sacrificed as Grandera's pacesetter in the Maktoum Challenge last time out. The Super Derby winner, Essence of Dubai took both the UAE 2000 Guineas and the UAE Derby last year and should hold off the late rushes of Grey Memo and Easyfromthegitgo through the 2 1/2-furlong Nad Al Sheba stretch.

Sheema Classic

The Group 1, $2 million Dubai Sheema Classic has drawn a classy field of 16 going 1 1/2 miles on turf. In Sulamani, Godolphin may be spotlighting the best of the 94 Thoroughbreds entered to run under the lights at Nad Al Sheba.

The French Derby winner, Sulamani has not run since finishing second, a half-length behind Marienbard, in last October's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Sulamani is probably good enough to defeat Ange Gabriel, the winner of his last three starts - the Hong Kong Vase, the Prix du Conseil de Paris, and the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud - all at the Sheema Classic distance.