By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
Reversing a trend, a Northern Hemisphere-bred won the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas when Splash Point charged by several other runners at Meydan Racecourse.
Trained by Mahmood al-Zarooni and ridden by Mickael Barzalona, Splash Point was timed in 1:37.73 for the 1,600 meters, about one mile. Last year's winner, Musir, finished the race in 1:37.46.
Several horses appeared to have a chance as they bounded down the stretch at Meydan. Sonoran Sands, then Buffum, struck the front, but they receded as Splash Point (10-1 at TwinSpires.com) took control on the outside. At the same time, odds-on favorite Zanzamar (3-5) finally found racing room on the rail after running behind a wall of horses much of the way. He finished second, beaten a length.
Krypton Factor (17-1) outdueled Bridgefield (12-1) to get up for third by a short head. They were beaten 1 3/4 length for all of it.
Zanzamar, a South African-bred, is not a 3-year-old under North American rules. Southern Hemisphere-breds had won this race two of the last three years--Musir in 2010 and Honour Devil in 2008. Desert Party took the 2009 running and went on to finish fourteenth in the Kentucky Derby.
Splash Point brought in $150,000 as the winner's share of the $250,000 purse, putting him in the graded earnings picture if connections have the Kentucky Derby in mind. For now, the next target would be the Group 2 UAE Derby at Meydan on March 26.
It was second win in five starts for Splash Point. He also has three seconds, including the runner-up spot to Zanzamar in the seven-furlong allowance prep for the 2000 Guineas on Jan. 20. He has one start on turf; the rest have come on synthetic surfaces at Kempton and Meydan.
Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum owns Splash Point, a son of Street Cry. He was bred by WinStar Farm in Kentucky and is out of Dianehill, by Danehill.
Mahmoud Al Zarooni: "That is a great feeling, and I am delighted. 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."
Michael de Kock, trainer of Zanzamar: "Musir and Zanzamar have both run good races and perhaps, with some luck and a clear passage, Zanzamar especially could have won."