Trainer Brendan Walsh made a radical decision when Plus Que Parfait didn't fire in the G2 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 16, moving the 3-year-old from the Fair Grounds to South Florida. He began planning a trip to Dubai for the son of Point of Entry, and on Saturday the Imperial Racing-owned ridgling delivered a major victory in the Group 2 UAE Derby. It was the second win for Jose Ortiz in his Dubai World Cup night debut, following up a win in the G2 Godolphin Mile with Coal Front.
“I have a nice horse,” said Ortiz. “He was running well and around the turn I was trying to find spaces. I was happy that I saved the whole ground in the race. And when I was able to find a way through, he responded really well, so I am very happy and very happy for Brendan. He deserves it. Brendan, he works so hard and he gave me so many shots and we haven't been lucky and now I was able to deliver for him. To win means a lot. It's tough to come all the way and win and I have been blessed to have two winners, so I am very happy.”
In the U.S. pools, Plus Que Parfait paid $19.60 to win. The victory earned Plus Que Parfait 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Plus Que Parfait, which means more than perfect in French, covered the 1 3/16 miles on a fast track in 1:58.41. He boosted his lifetime earnings to $1,949,800 with his share of the purse and the Imperial Racing LLC's colorbearer now has a record of 7 2-1-2.
Brendan Walsh, who spent a decade working on the Godolphin team in Dubai before heading to the USA with hopes of becoming a trainer, was emotional after his first Dubai runner found the winner's circle.
“This is huge – Jose gave him such a great ride and what a night for him with two winners,” Walsh said. “This has been the plan for quite a while and his owners are based out here. We said if things didn't work out to get to the Kentucky Derby then we would come here. He had a bad day the last time he ran but we didn't hold it against him and it has worked out. Brilliant.”
Plus Que Parfait found racing room in the field of 14 at the top of the straight and after Ortiz switched him to the inside, he accelerated between Gray Magician (U.S.-trained by Peter Miller) and Manguzi and dug in to prevail by three-quarters of a length. The remaining order of finish is Derma Louvre, Swift Rose, Stubbins, Walking Thunder, Superior, Van Beethoven, Razeena, Jahbath, Al Hayette, Divine Image, and Golden Jaguar.
A fairytale success for trainer Brendan Walsh as PLUS QUE PARFAIT takes the UAE Derby, providing a second win tonight for @jose93_ortiz
Plus Que Parfait
— Meydan Racing (@MeydanRacing) March 30, 2019
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