There was something of a fairytale element to the result of the $100,000 Grade I UAE President Cup at Churchill Downs, Kentucky, on Saturday when champions Paddys Day and Calvin Borel combined to take the Purebred Arabian feature.
Taking place over a mile and one sixteenth at the home of the Kentucky Derby, the valuable event attracted a field of nine, including Grade I winner Sand Victor, who had been successful in the Grade 2 Arabian Cup Diamond Jewel at Los Alamitos just a week previously, when he narrowly beat Paddys Day.
Scott Powell’s trainee was therefore gunning for revenge in Kentucky and he wreaked it. Given a ground-saving ride by Hall Of Fame jockey Borel, the evergreen five-year-old took the lead on the second turn and coasted to an impressive victory, beating fellow Grade I winner Thess Is Awesome by eight and a quarter lengths. RB Madymoiselle came in third.
It was a first Stakes victory for 49-year-old Borel since returning from retirement, and he was delighted, saying of Paddys Day: “He’s like a little Thoroughbred. He does everything like a Thoroughbred does. He ran a good race, although he didn’t break as sharply as I thought he would. Once I found a hole I just picked my spot and he took off.”
On his recent return to race riding, he added: “I’m just happy to be back; I’ve won a few races this week so it’s back to rolling so everything’s going good.”
Winning trainer Scott Powell, no stranger to big-race success in this field, said: “I’m really pleased with the horse’s performance and I’m delighted that the UAE President Cup programme has returned to Churchill Downs; we’ve been treated really well by all the people here.”
Paddys Day is now expected to travel to the home of the series, Abu Dhabi, to run in the valuable Group I Jewel Crown event on November 13th.
Reflecting on the success of the race, which was part of the Kentucky track’s popular ‘Downs After Dark’ event, Kathy Smoke, President of the Board of Directors for the Arabian Jockey Club, commented: “Racing at Churchill Downs is a highlight for the Arabian season in the USA and it always attracts the top horses in the US.
“This race did not disappoint; Paddys Day with top Thoroughbred jockey Calvin Borel onboard proved an unstoppable duo.”