Good feelings rose in a swell from Lexington to Dubai at Keeneland Saturday after 6-1 shot Dickinson topped off a stellar day of four wins for the Maktoum family’s Godolphin Racing. Dickinson’s win by a head over champion Lady Eli in the $350,000 Grade I Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes had her North American team texting proudly to her overseas ownership.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, a Lexington native based in New York and long associated with the ruling family of Dubai, marveled at Godolphin’s day and told how winning four races anywhere, on any day, is special. But to win four on a Keeneland afternoon for Godolphin principals Sheiks Mohammed and Hamdan, both owners of horse farms in Lexington, is “very special to come home to it. And homebreds for the most part,” McLaughlin said.
Darley at Jonabell Farm president Jimmy Bell said the day of four wins “reflects a lot on Sheik Mohammed’s breeding program. He referenced all the North American team involved and said, “We’re very proud and happy we could participate.” Sheik Mohammed was not in attendance, but Bell said he texted the sheik’s worldwide racing manager, John Ferguson, and reported, “big day here at Keeneland, topped off with Grade I win and beat a champion.”
Dickinson, with Paco Lopez riding, was winning for the seventh time in 14 starts, and for the fifth time in six races on turf. But the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro (out of Little Belle) left her win in doubt to the last stride following poor luck at several spots in the 1 1/6 miles on the turf.
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She raced third around the track and into the final turn while Catch a Glimpse led the way, stalked by Illuminant. ButDickinson had trouble finding room to race upon coming out of the turn into the upper stretch. Lady Eli, odds-on favorite, made a late run after coming from sixth, then third, then gaining the lead upon passing Illuminant and Catch a Glimpse. Lady Eli appeared the certain winner of the race — until Dickinson, like a stone slung from a slingshot, flew past them all with inches to go.
Second-placed Lady Eli finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Quidura, who in turn was a nose in front of Kitten’s Roar. Catch a Glimpse ran last in the field of eight clocked in 1:41.98.
While most of Team Godolphin felt their hearts skip as the wire approached, Lopez, the jockey, apparently had no qualms.
“You have to give Paco an enormous amount of credit,” Bell said. “Talk to him in the paddock and you would have thought he was sitting on the favorite because he’s that confident in her.”
Godolphin Racing also took the Grade III Ben Ali Stakes Saturday as a partner in ownership, with McLaughlin as trainer and Lopez riding.
Keeneland’s co-feature, the Stonestreet Lexington Stakes, Grade III, saw Senior Investment, Channing Hill up, take the winner’s portion of the $200,000 purse by a head over West Coast, followed by No Dozing in third. Senior Investment, owned by Jeff Drown and Anthony Mitola, came from next-to-last and closed from fourth at the top of the stretch before a crowd of 30,782 enjoying the sunny afternoon.