Fantastic Light, Sakhee decisions due

Godolphin stable stars to run in Turf or Classic

Breeders' Cup notebook

October 24, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. - Fantastic Light and Sakhee, the European stars of the Godolphin stable, were scheduled for their telltale workouts today for the Breeders' Cup - the works that would determine whether they run in the Turf or the Classic.

But the Godolphin decision-makers changed their mind and breezed both horses yesterday at Belmont Park. Saeed bin Suroor, Godolphin's trainer, made his first appearance at the track to oversee the workouts.

"I wanted to see their action, how they moved, before we decide," Suroor said.

Neither Fantastic Light nor Sakhee has ever raced on dirt. All their races have been on turf. Yesterday, they appeared to handle the dirt just fine.

Under jockey Frankie Dettori, Fantastic Light breezed five furlongs in 59 4/5 seconds. Under exercise rider Darren Thomas, Sakhee breezed the same distance in 1 minute, 1 second.

Dettori said that he would like to see Fantastic Light run in the Classic, where he would renew his epic European rivalry with Irish colt Galileo, and Sakhee run in the Turf, where he would perhaps be the afternoon's best bet.

"I liked the way he conducted himself," Dettori said of Fantastic Light. "He's a 5-year-old and a true professional now. He did it quite easy, and when he pulled himself up, he looked around and said, `Where's Galileo?' He was getting a bit bored by himself.

"If they both run [in the Classic], it would take the limelight away from one of them. And if they both flopped, it would be a disaster. ... I think to win the Turf, all Sakhee has to do is show up."

The decision must be made before final entries are taken and post positions drawn at 11:30 a.m. today at Belmont.

"I'm happy to run them in any race," Suroor said. "Both of them are ready."

Funds for victims

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the leader of Godolphin, has pledged to donate all Godolphin earnings in the Breeders' Cup races to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's New York Heroes Fund. The fund benefits victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

Briefly

NBC, which will broadcast the eight Breeders' Cup races, has agreed to a four-year extension that will keep the series on the network through 2005.

The Maryland horses competing in the Breeders' Cup will be the last to arrive at Belmont.

Include, who breezed four furlongs in 47 2/5 seconds yesterday at Laurel Park, will arrive today.

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