The Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Grade III, run on a card of 10 races at the Saturday Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, California, turned up a one, two for owner/trainer Hellen Shelley.
The Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and co-ordinated by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, and IFAHR, supported by the General Authority for Youth and Sports and Fegentri.
Emirates airlines is the official carrier and the series is sponsored by Invest AD, Al Rashid Investment, Areej Al Ameerat, Mauzan, Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2012, Wathba Stud Farm and Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
First in, the son of Burning Sand, Sand De Wind (TF Desert Jewel), took the largest piece of the $20,000 prize money, followed by another Shelley trained Burning Sand son, Quick Sand PW (Doya Juana Dance) 1 ¼ lengths behind.
The third under the wire, the Kador De Blaziet colt, Golly Bret (Golly Gal) fell back in the stretch and finished over three lengths behind the leader.
The six furlongs on the dirt were contested by eight horses that had come from around the USA to vie for the prize. Shelly had the win last year with So Big Is Better at the Wathba Stud Farm Cup race here in Pleasanton and was thrilled to again be in the winner’s circle and said: “We are going to make other breeds sit up and take notice of the Arabian horse. Sand De Wind just came from Colorado and this was a big surprise. We did set a new track record last year and that horse has gone on to bigger things with Scott Powell of Quarter Moon Ranch.”
Jockey Barrington Harvey was already off to the barn to find his mount for the next race, but Shelly gave him a positive review for the ride.
“Barry is a go to guy. If you can give him a horse that can do it, he will. That’s why we decided to put him on this horse.” Lara Sawaya, director of the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and head of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) Ladies Racing made the announcement at the prize giving that the Fair would have the benefit next year in 2013.
“We have given this race to California as the Fair is very well organised and the crowd is nice. Jeanne Wasserman and her boss and her team have done such a good job with our races.”
Randy Magee, CFO, Alameda County Fair said: “The Arabians bring another element to our racing. The beautiful horses, the pageantry the costumes; everyone enjoys this. Jeanne has worked very hard to have such a good event. We are trying to grow racing and it is great to have more Arabian racing.”
“I love how many people we had here today (Saturday),” said Wasserman.
“The many people down at the rail were really interested in the race. Our overall Fair attendance should register about 35,000 today. I’m very excited about the Ladies Championship race. I worked hard to get it. I got permission from the Horse Racing Board with support from Jesse Choper, and Kirk Breed for the race.”