Monday, September 10, 2001
Fantastic Light, Galileo point to Classic
By Alan Shuback
Daily Racing Form
After producing one of the most electrifying stretch duels in memory in Saturday's
Irish Champion Stakes, Fantastic Light and Galileo will both head to Belmont Park
for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
The connections of the victorious Fantastic Light have decided to forgo the Prix de
l'Arc de Triomphe in favor of the Classic.
Sheikh Mohammed and his brother Sheikh Maktoum realize that Fantastic Light is
a better horse at 1 1/4 miles than he is at 1 1/2 miles, and Sheikh Mohammed left
no doubt that the Classic is next on the agenda. "He will go straight to the
Breeders' Cup Classic," he said. In so doing, Fantastic Light, a Rahy 5-year-old, will
be running on dirt for the first time in his career.
Team Godolphin's tactics were the key to his victory over the previously undefeated
Galileo. Jockey Frankie Dettori gave credit to Sheikh Maktoum, who on Friday said
that Fantastic Light should make Galileo follow him.
As the race developed, one wondered why Galileo, whose high cruising speed has
been praised by trainer Aidan O'Brien, was allowed to follow Fantastic Light. At the
head of the stretch, slightly over two furlongs from home, Galileo's rider, Michael
Kinane, paid the price. He had to go wide around the Godolphin pacesetter Give the
Slip, who had been eased off the rail by Richard Hills to allow Fantastic Light
For a moment just inside the furlong pole it looked as if Galileo would get past
Fantastic Light, but Dettori found something extra in the winner's tank. He held on
by a head with the good Group 2 winner Bach six distant lengths behind in third.
The winning time of 2:01.80 was .8 seconds off the track record.
Fantastic Light returned a generous 9-4 as a record flat-racing crowd of 16,987 at
Leopardstown bet Galileo down to 4-11 favoritism.
Galileo will now skip the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes as a disheartened
O'Brien, along with co-owners Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, regroup for the
Classic. The son of Sadler's Wells is expected to travel to the British all-weather
track at Southwell in three weeks for a workout. That is the same racecourse where
Giant's Causeway had his major Classic work last year.