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Godolphin's VALE OF YORK (Ire) (Invincible Spirit), last seen upsetting champion Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike) in the November 7 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), will make his much anticipated three-year-old debut in Thursday's $250,000 Al Bastakiya at Meydan. The middle leg of the Dubai Triple Crown, the about 1 3/16-mile Tapeta test is one of six Thoroughbred stakes on the program, dubbed "Super Thursday." These races serve as preps for the lucrative events on Dubai World Cup night, scheduled for March 27.
DUBAI / BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE WINNER VALE OF YORK SET FOR RETURN – The only horse to finish in front of 2009 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky has been mostly invisible on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) while spending the winter in Dubai, but Godolphin’s Vale of York is near his return to the spotlight.
FLORIDA / AMEN HALLELUJAH DOMINATES DAVONA DALE FOES IN DIRT DEBUT, CHRISTINE DAAE IMPRESSES IN GULFSTREAM ALLOWANCE – After seven straight races on synthetic tracks, including a victory in Santa Anita’s Santa Ynez (Grade II) on Jan. 16, IEAH Stables and Whizway Farm’s 3-year-old filly Amen Hallelujah traveled to Florida’s Gulfstream Park with a single goal: to prove her worthiness as a contender for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI) with big effort on traditional dirt.]
Grade 3-placed ALL DUE RESPECT (Value Plus) is expected to challenge three-time Grade 1 queen BLIND LUCK (Pollard's Vision) in Saturday's $250,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) at 1 1/16 miles over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride.
The Florida-bred filly broke her maiden by 7 1/2 lengths on a muddy Fair Grounds track going the distance on January 24 for trainer Ronny Werner. She has since been transferred to conditioner Kathy Walsh.
"I've only had her a few weeks," Walsh said, "but she's doing well and she worked Friday in 1:11 4/5."
CHRISTINE DAAE (Giant's Causeway) was scratched out of Saturday's Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, but trainer Patrick Biancone re-entered the talented chestnut in the 6TH race on Sunday, a $37,000 allowance going 1 1/8 miles.
The move proved successful as the sophomore lass tracked just to the outside of the pacesetting Kitty in a Tizzy (Tiznow) through fractions of :23 2/5, :48 1/5 and 1:12 4/5, took command heading into the stretch and pulled away under an easy hand ride from a very confident Corey Nakatani for the 2 3/4-length victory.
Lathrop G. Hoffman's STORMING SAINT (Sweetsouthernsaint) was awarded the victory in Saturday night's $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park despite finishing a neck back in second to Raise the Bridle (Spanish Steps), who drifted out under a left whip at the head of the stretch.
IEAH Stables and Whizway Farms' AMEN HALLELUJAH (Montbrook) has already made a name for herself on the West Coast, but on Saturday faced her toughest task to date when making her dirt bow in the $150,000 Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The Richard Dutrow trainee tracked the pacesetting Bickersons (Silver Deputy) along the inside, took command at the quarter-pole and easily drew off for the 6 1/4-length victory under jockey Julien Leparoux.
Donegal Racing's VOW TO WAGER (Broken Vow) turned in a second consecutive upset victory at Turfway Park in Saturday's $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S., but needed a little help from the stewards to do so. The judges disqualified first-place finisher Codoy (Bernstein) and placed him second after he drifted out into Vow to Wager turning for home, instead awarding the race to the 23-1 longest shot on the board ridden by John McKee. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack was a pokey 1:48 4/5.
English Group 2 winner RADIOHEAD (GB) (Johannesburg), who was scratched from last Saturday's Hutcheson S. (G2), made his debut for Richard Dutrow exactly one week later in Saturday's 3RD race at Gulfstream Park. The classy sophomore proved to be worth the wait in his first try on dirt. After forcing the pace beneath Edgar Prado, Radiohead stretched 3 1/4 lengths clear while rattling off the fast-track mile in 1:35 4/5. The 8-5 favorite returned $5.20, $3.20 and $2.60.
Santa Anita officials announced that live racing for Saturday has been cancelled due to heavy overnight and early morning rain, which was expected to continue throughout the afternoon. The announcement was made at 9:45 a.m. (PST).
Saturday's nine-race program was to be highlighted by the $150,000 Sham S. (G3) for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles. The field for the Sham will be redrawn and run next Saturday, March 6. The Sham is an important steppingstone to the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 3.