Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum's SPLASH POINT (Street Cry [Ire]) couldn't hold off the South African-bred Zanzamar (Fort Wood) in the January 20 Guineas Trial at Meydan, but the Kentucky-bred three-year-old took his vengeance on his older rival in the main event, Thursday's $250,000 U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-G3).
Trained by Mahmood al Zarooni and ridden for the first time by Mickael Barzalona, the well-bred colt employed a change in tactics here, swooping from last to score by a length over a troubled Zanzamar. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club.)
Splash Point now looms as a major player in the remaining legs of the U.A.E. Triple Crown, the March 3 Al Bastakiya and the March 26 U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2), both at about 1 3/16 miles.
The early pace in the Guineas was dictated by Abstrato (Major Storm), stalked by Abjer (Singspiel [Ire]) and Sonoran Sands (Footstepsinthesand [GB]). Zanzamar was positioned in midpack, just behind Godolphin's Bridgefield (Speightstown), while the other Godolphin entrant, Buffum (Bernardini) was traveling conspicuously well another spot back. Splash Point, who had been on or near the lead in all four prior starts, was allowed to settle at the rear by a patient Barzalona.
Turning for home, the leaders were in a constant state of flux. Abstrato had already folded, Abjer was surrendering his short-lived lead to Sonoran Sands, and Krypton Factor (Kyllachy) was emerging from the pack to challenge.
Moving best of all, however, was Buffum. In his first start since trailing home behind To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) in the November 27 Remsen S. (G2), Buffum ranged up with a good-looking charge on the outside and took command briefly. But Buffum failed to sustain his run in deep stretch.
As Buffum's bid stalled, he was beset by a rallying Splash Point wider out, and the resolute Bridgefield and Krypton Factor to his inside. Meanwhile, Zanzamar was looking for a clear path through all of the traffic. Splash Point outkicked them all and forged clear. Although Zanzamar eventually found room along the rail and finished strongly, it was too late to threaten Splash Point, who completed the metric mile in 1:37 3/5 on the Tapeta. Splash Point thus became the second U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas winner sired by Street Cry (Ire), following 2009 winner Desert Party.
"That is a great feeling and I am delighted," al Zarooni said of his first U.A.E. classic success. "I am so grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and everybody for this opportunity. Splash Point ran well first time, and we were hoping for a big run. Mickael did everything right."
Another three-quarters of a length away came Krypton Factor, nipping Bridgefield by a short head for third. Buffum checked in a close fifth, while the early leader Abstrato wound up a tailed-off last of 12.
Splash Point is the latest notable three-year-old bred by WinStar Farm, which campaigned last year's Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Super Saver and Belmont S. (G1) winner Drosselmeyer (Distorted Humor), and whose current Derby candidates include Brethren (Distorted Humor).
Sold for $300,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September, Splash Point began his career in England last year. Then sporting the Godolphin silks, the bay colt finished second in his first two attempts, but broke his maiden on Kempton's Polytrack on October 25. Splash Point returned with his game runner-up effort to Zanzamar in the aforementioned Guineas Trial. With Thursday's classic victory to his credit, he has earned $168,078 from his 5-2-3-0 line.
Splash Point is out of multiple Grade 2-placed stakes heroine Dianehill (Ire) (Danehill), who has since produced a juvenile full sister to the winner. Dianehill is herself a daughter of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Very Subtle (Hoist the Silver), the winner over males in the 1987 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). This is the family of unbeaten Schuylerville S. (G3) queen Subtle Aly (French Envoy), Grade 2 scorer Broad Dynamite (Broad Brush) and Grade 1 victress Pool Land (Silver Deputy).