COUNTRY GRAMMER WINS DUBAI WORLD CUP
Frankie Dettori secured his fourth victory in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on Saturday by guiding Country Grammer to victory for under-fire trainer Bob Baffert as red-hot favourite Life Is Good failed to stay.
Much of the build-up to the race had focused on Life Is Good, who was sent off the odds-on favourite after bombastic victories in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the Pegasus World Cup, the latter in which he dismissed Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Knicks Go impressively.
Jumping straight into the lead on his first attempt at 2000m, Life Is Good looked to have his rivals under stern pressure as the runners turned for home, but when jockey Irad Ortiz went to kick clear the distress signals started to show.
Instead of surging clear, Life Is Good started to wander around and he was closed down by the pack, led by Country Grammer in the blue, red and white silks of owner Amr Zedan, who shares the five-year-old with WinStar Farm and Commonwealth Thoroughbreds.
Country Grammer was chased home by Hot Rod Charlie with Chuwa Wizard completing the top three.
Dettori had previously secured the Dubai World Cup on Dubai Millennium, Moon Ballad and Electrocutionist, but this was the first time he had done so in colours other than those of Godolphin.
“I’ve pestered him for the last three weeks for this ride!,” a beaming Dettori said stood alongside Amr Zedan. “It was so surreal when I hit the furlong pole and I knew I was going to win. I was like ‘wow’.
“To have the crowd behind me and I really believed in this horse for Zedan and Bob and it was just great.”
For Baffert, the victory comes at a time when the trainer has been battling racing authorities back home in America on several fronts following Medina Spirit’s positive post-race test for prohibited raceday substances when winning last year’s Kentucky Derby.
Medina Spirit, who died during training in December, also carried the colours of Amr Zedan, an American/Saudi businessman who was recently named as one of the bidders for Chelsea Football Club.
Zedan described Baffert as “the Goat”, meaning the greatest of all time, and praised his partners in the horse for the success.
“He’s absolutely the best – he’s the Goat, the best trainer ever,” Zedan said of Baffert.
Baffert, who was winning his fourth Dubai World Cup, is suspended from having runners at Churchill Downs and recently lost four Kentucky Derby hopefuls after owners moved them to new trainers to allow them to run in this year’s race. – www.racingpost.com