DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed watched as his unbeaten horse Discreet Cat finished last in the world's richest horse race yesterday, while his brother's horse Invasor ran off with the $6 million Dubai World Cup.
Invasor, the 2006 Horse of the Year, avenged his only previous defeat and ran a thrilling duel with Premium Tap, a horse owned by Saudi King Abdullah.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who grew up in Lexington -- and who spent nearly 10 years as a trainer in Dubai for the ruling Maktoum family -- Invasor took charge down the stretch and won by about two lengths.
"It's an awful good year in one night to win in a $6 million race," a grinning McLaughlin said after capturing the showcase event on the $21.25 million card, the richest in the sport.
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Invasor, with jockey Fernando Jara aboard, extended his winning streak to six in a row and his career record to 11 of 12. The only loss was to Discreet Cat in last year's UAE Derby over this same Nad Al Sheba track. Discreet Cat, ridden by Frankie Dettori, lost for the first time after six straight wins.
Invasor's time of 1:59:50 in the race of about 11/4 miles was the second fastest in the 12 editions of the Cup, nine-tenths of a second short of the mark by Dubai Millennium in 2000.
Sheikh Hamdan was gratified to win before a crowd waving the flag of United Arab Emirates. The victory also means much of the prize money stays in Dubai.
"For the horses it's best to win in the United States, but for me it's best to win here in Dubai," Hamdan said as his horse was doused with a bucket of water and washed down.
Invasor now has triumphed in two of the richest races: The 5-year-old also won the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic in November at Churchill Downs.
McLaughlin said Invasor might run in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park this summer. Invasor won last year's Suburban.
Premium Tap, trained by John Kimmel, was second, with Bullish Luck third, another 10 lengths back, in the field of seven.
Invasor was chasing Saudi-owned Premium Tap down the stretch, far ahead of the pack. A final push by Invasor brought him to the lead for good.
"I had a lot of horse and he responded very well," Jara said.
Other Dubai stakes races
Admire Moon lived up to his billing as the favorite and won the $5 million Dubai Duty Free, holding off Linngari while American star Lava Man finished last in the 16-horse field. A 4-year-old colt from Japan, Admire Moon has won eight of 13 career races for owner Riichi Kondo. Linngari came up a half-length short under jockey Kevin Shea. Third by nearly five lengths was Japan's Daiwa Major, ridden by Katsumi Ando.
In the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic, New Zealand-bred Vengeance of Rain ran to victory, ahead of Oracle West and Youmzain. Vengeance of Rain was the first horse from Hong Kong to win on the Dubai World Cup card.
Asiatic Boy pulled away for an easy victory in the $2 million UAE Derby, with Kentucky Derby prospect Day Pass ninth. Asiatic Boy, bred in Argentina, finished nearly 10 lengths ahead of runner-up Jack Junior, with Adil taking third.
Kentucky-bred Kelly's Landing, with Dettori aboard, won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, a six-furlong sprint on the dirt. Friendly Island was second, with hometown favorite Salaam Dubai third. Kelly's Landing is trained by Eddie Kenneally.
Spring At Last won the $1 million Godolphin Mile by 23/4 lengths over Parole Board. Mullins Bay was third. Garrett Gomez was aboard the winner, a 4-year-old colt trained by Doug O'Neill.