02/17/2010 12:00AM

Vale of York not ready to run yet


The $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on Thursday night is Dubai's first major stepping-stone toward the Kentucky Derby, but the one-mile Group 3 race will go without Godolphin's leading Derby candidate, Vale of York.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, Vale of York was termed "not quite ready" for the Guineas by Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford on Tuesday.

"He'll run in either the Al Bastikiya on March 4 or in a turf conditions race the next night," Crisford explained. Either one of those races would serve as a prep for the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup Night, March 27, with Crisford stating that "his participation in the Kentucky Derby depends entirely on how he does here in Dubai."

In Vale of York's absence, Godolphin will run Frozen Power in the UAE 2000 Guineas. Frozen Power, winner of the listed seven-furlong Prix de la Huderie at Deauville in August, finished well to finish second, a neck behind Musir, in the seven-furlong UAE 2000 Guineas Trial on Feb. 4. But on that occasion Frozen Power received 16 pounds from Musir, who is a Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old, meaning he is six months older than his Northern Hemisphere-bred rivals.

Seven of those pounds were added as a penalty for Musir's win in the Group 1 Golden Horseshoe Stakes at Greyville in South Africa. On Thursday, the Mike de Kock-trained Musir, who will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon, will carry just nine pounds more than Frozen Power.

Also in the mix are Argentine 2000 Guineas winner Quartier Latin, and Argentine Derby winner Storm Chispazo, both of whom will carry the same weight as Musir in their seasonal debuts.

Round 2 of the 1 3/16-mile Maktoum Challenge, a Group 3 race valued at $200,000 that leads to the Dubai World Cup, has come up light. Snaafy, a 6-year-old son of Kingmambo, returns from a sharp score in a one-mile handicap on Feb. 5, while Poet, the winner of the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Kilternan Stakes at Leopardstown last September, is coming off a dull 10th in the same race. Bon Grain is fresh from a five-length victory in a 1 1/4-mile allowance on the Cagnes-sur-Mer synthetic track on Dec. 1, while Crowded House, who is also entered in Friday night's Al Fahidi Fort on turf, was second in the Group 3 Al Rashidiya on turf two weeks ago.