By Stephanie J. Corum
The top 2 finishers in the President of the UAE Cup S. (G1), Valiant Boy SBFAR and RB Champagne Taste, met again on July 12 in the $50,000 Delaware Park Arabian Classic H. (G1). The race was held immediately following the Delaware H. (G1), the biggest thoroughbred race of Delaware Park’s meet. As expected, these two horses went off as the top choices, as well as the high weights carrying 126 and 124 pounds respectively, in the field of eight.
Going into the first turn it was Burning Fleet who grabbed a short lead over Quick And Rich and RB Champagne Taste. Valiant Boy SBFAR settled back in sixth. After a half mile, RB Champagne Taste moved into second racing on Burning Fleet’s flank. Together they opened up about 6 lengths on the rest of the field and ran the opening 6 furlongs in a solid 1:20.67. Valiant Boy SBFAR moved into third, but had a lot of ground to make up.
Coming out of the final turn and into the stretch drive, the whip came out on Burning Fleet, and initially it didn’t look like he had enough left. RB Champagne Taste got the lead, but Burning Fleet, carrying 10 pounds less than Valiant Boy SBFAR, came right back when they straightened for home. Valiant Boy SBFAR and Quick And Rich moved together and closed on the leaders. Valiant Boy SBFAR, in the middle of the track, had his head turned to the right and wasn’t able to switch to his right lead, yet he was still making up ground. Then jockey Victor Carrasco smacked him twice with a right handed whip allowing the grey stallion to straighten his head. He ran down RB Champagne Taste to win by a determined ½ length. Burning Fleet was tough to the end and was third by almost 2 lengths over Quick And Rich. It was another 15 lengths back to A Classs Act, RB Djustify, Madjanthis and Burning Breeze. The final time for the 1 ¼ mile race was 2:17.52.
Elizabeth Merryman trained Valiant Boy SBFAR (Darweesh x Thumb Print, by Barour De Cardonne) for owner Guy Neivens. The French-import was bred by Shaikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed. Darley Horse of the Year in 2012, Valiant Boy SBFAR is making a big case for Horse of the Year again in 2014. He’s made 2 starts, both wins, and both grade 1 races against tough competition. In his career he has 10 wins from 18 starts and over $278,000 in earnings.