A series of American runners had come close without winning the Al Quoz Sprint (G1), and Extravagant Kid brought a record dotted with near-misses in graded stakes. By finally getting his head in front in Saturday’s $1 million renewal, DARRS Inc.’s eight-year-old veteran accomplished a milestone for himself as well as for Team USA.
Extravagant Kid was also maintaining trainer Brendan Walsh’s perfect record at Meydan. Two years ago, at the last Dubai World Cup meeting, Walsh sent out Plus Que Parfait to become the first American shipper to take the UAE Derby (G2). Now the Irish expat has struck a blow with the first American-based horse to win a World Cup night race on the turf.
Overlooked at 16-1 by the market, Extravagant Kid was not overlooked by British ace Ryan Moore, who was well aware of his close fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Moore made a clutch move to guide Extravagant Kid more toward the stands’ side, where the pace was hotter thanks to five-furlong specialist Equilateral.
Space Blues, the even-money favorite, and Khaadem also made the migration from no-man’s-land. The field split raggedly before coalescing into two groups, with the few left on the far side – including three-year-olds Acklam Express and Cowan – at a comparative disadvantage.
As Equilateral weakened in the last furlong, the scramble was on. Extravagant Kid packed the best late punch to edge Godolphin filly Final Song by a half-length, covering about six furlongs in 1:09.26. Acklam Express was positively heroic on the other side of the course to grab third, just another neck back.
Equilateral lasted for fourth, a head up on late-running Motafaawit. True Valour, Royal Crusade, and Man of Promise came next. Space Blues never looked like getting involved, suffering his first loss since last Carnival and reviving the idea he’s not suited by this trip. Cowan, Speak in Colours, Moss Gill, and a subpar Khaadem concluded the order of finish.
“It was a very messy race,” Moore noted. “The speed looked like it was going to be stands’ side but we had to make a decision. Space Blues and Khaadem were going, they were the best horses and gave me a bit of tow. The horse ran a super race at Keeneland (in the Breeders’ Cup). He is a very talented horse. You’ll have to watch out for Brendan when he comes back here!”
Final Song’s connections paid tribute to her effort.
“She ran really well,” jockey Christophe Soumillon said. “Unfortunately we were on the wrong side. I think if we had drawn on the outside she would probably win, but it was a good run from her.”
“She ran a big race,” trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. “She moved to the middle, but she finished her race really good. She managed to come second. This is her trip, six furlongs. We’re going to keep her at the same trip. We are going take her back now to Newmarket and find a race for her in Europe.”
Extravagant Kid’s scorecard stands at 50-15-16-6, $1,581,610. The son of Kiss the Kid is a triple-surface threat effective on dirt, turf, and synthetic, and his six previous black-type victories include the 2018 Lucky Coin at Saratoga and 2020 Sunshine Millions Sprint. Among his graded placings are the 2019 Highlander (G1) and last season’s Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) and Woodford (G2). He’d been enduring seconditis since the Breeders’ Cup, as the defending champion in the Jan. 1 Janus and Jan. 16 Sunshine Sprint and most recently in the off-the-turf Colonel Power Feb. 13 at Fair Grounds.
Bred by Vicino Racing Stable in Florida, Extravagant Kid is out of the With Distinction mare Pretty Extravagant.