Over 1600M ON the Meydan dirt surface, the $1.5 million Group 2 Godolphin Mile produced a thrilling finish with Heavy Metal looking set to defend his title only to be caught in the dying strides by Coal Front. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, the 5yo rig was drawn wide in 12 and not able to get to the front under Jose Ortiz, who had hoped to do so, but forced to track Heavy Metal, Muntazah and Good Curry. The last named was the first to crack with Muntazah looming large alongside Heavy Metal at the top of the straight before weakening with 300m to run. That left Heavy Metal clear with a seemingly insurmountable advantage but Ortiz had a willing partner who finished off his race in style to put his head in front where it mattered.
The winning verdict was three parts of a length with Ortiz making his first UAE mount a winning one as well as supplying Pletcher his maiden local success with his 17th runner. The trainer said: “He had a fantastic run and was given a great ride. Our whole team is very proud of him.” Co-owner, Sol Kumin, added: “He has had some health issues, on and off but always had a ton of talent. And Todd Pletcher has done a great job with him. We thought we would come back to the mile trip and everything worked out well. It was worth the trip. “We were lucky enough to own a part of Mind Your Biscuits a few years ago.
I wasn’t sure if he was winning. I was hoping and I was worried. I thought he would run out of gas, but he didn’t.” Ortiz concluded: “The emotion right here is for my family back home and I just want to say that I love them all. The horse felt great for me and he broke well, which was important. I wanted to be on or near to the lead and it worked out perfectly. I knew I had to be patient to time my run for home. “I had two horses in front of me which gave me a great lead, and I just sat and watched Jim Crowley and Muntazah as he is the main man around here. I followed him and my horse dug in for me late on and he has done it well.”