: TM Fred Texas upsets Grilla in Delaware

Delaware, US: Much before the night’s fireworks to mark the eve of America’s Independence Day, TM Fred Texas blazed off in style to win the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Group 2) race at the Delaware Park race course to stake a strong claim to being the Purebred Arabian racing champion.

Racing fans here in the midst of a long weekend, watched the battle between Fred Texas and Grilla finish in a rather convincing win for the former, a 4-year-old son of Burning Sand.

Much was expected from the third clash between the two champion greys after Grilla had bested Fred Texas and created a record in the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup at the Sam Houston Park in April, while the latter cruised to a 9-length win in the President of the UAE Cup (Group 1) race in Kentucky.

But TM Fred Texas, whose sire Burning Sand was known for his exploits over the shorter distance, dispelled all doubts as he scored his second win in a fortnight and both were dominant performances.

Grilla under Ricardo Chiappe hit the front early and looked to make every post a winning one but Fred Texas, despite a slow start looked in superb form under Santos Chavez.

Chaves, who had just 30 minutes earlier won the only other Purebred Arabian race of the 10-race meeting at this historic venue, made his move on the final turn after racing behind Grilla and Dixies Valentine.

Grilla, the conqueror of the US 2010 Horse of the Year Sand Witchh in Keeneland last year and then sizzled to a classy win in Sam Houston in April, just could not match the driving finish of Fred Texas and finished second ahead of half-sister Dixies Valentine. The winning time for the 1700-metre race on dirt was 1:56.26.

The win improves TM Fred Texas’ record to seven wins in 9 starts in two years of racing and breeder Toad Moak said the best was yet to come.

“He is a class horse and can do more than a mile and a quarter though many doubted this. Two wins in two weeks against some of the best horses and he sure is a champion,” said Moak.

Omar Al Shamsi, Deputy Chief of Mission at the UAE Embassy and Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival along with other officials from the UAE Embassy- Salem Al Shamsi and Abdulrahman Ahmad Al Jaber – gave away the trophies to the winning owner, trainer and jockey.

“We are delighted that the two races in the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup series here in the US have produced great results. The debut race in Houston resulted in a record-breaking win by Grilla while today TM Fred Texas thrilled the holiday crowd with a great finish,” said Ms Lara Sawaya, the Festival’s Director.

“We have four more Wathba Stud Farm Cup races in California and so far the success of the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival has been very encouraging,” she said.