The locally trained American-bred COMMISSIONER KING (c, 3, Commissioner–Ek Haseena, by Songandaprayer) engaged in a race-long battle with favored US shipper Havnameltdown (Uncaptured) in Saturday’s G3 Saudi Derby Cup and proved narrowly best in a war of attrition to scoop the winner’s share of the $1.5-million pot. Unraced since defeating Almurtajiz (Good Magic) by four lengths in the Ministry of the National Guard Cup over this course and 1600-metre distance Dec. 16, the $9,000 Keeneland January graduate would not allow Frankie Dettori to steal away on Havnameltdown, last-out winner of the GII San Vicente S., who was sent off favoured in spite of question marks surrounding the difference. As early as 600 metres out, it was clear that the Derby would be a two-horse affair, as nothing was making any sort of progress from behind as the pacesetters continued to eyeball each other. Still shoulder to shoulder as they entered the final furlong, Havnameltdown battled on with good determination down inside, but Commissioner King proved the better stayer, if only just, to post a first Saudi success in the Derby at World Pool odds of 12-1. Sales history: $9,000 Ylg ’21 KEEJAN. O-Faisal Mohammed Al Aljadheei; B-Paul Tackett Revocable Trust, Phil Tackett Estate, et al (KY); T-Sabah Alshammri.
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