So Big Is Better stuns Paddys Day
21 September 2015, Los Alamitos, California ~ The Los Alamitos Racecourse prides itself as a venue where America’s top aged horses continue to shine and on Saturday it was So Big Is Better that justified that tag when as an 11-year-old he pipped odds-on favorite Paddys Day to win the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Diamond Jewel Grade Two contest over a mile on 19 September.
While Mark Powell, owner and trainer of So Big Is Better celebrated his win, brother Scott Powell, though disappointed with the loss of Paddys Day, entered history books as the first winner of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s newly-introduced Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup US Triple Jewel competition.
The 4-year-old Paddys Day dominated the Triple Jewel competition with a second place finish to Burning Fleet in Houston on 7 March, and a win in Pleasanton in the second leg, finishing the three-leg series with Saturday’s second place.
While So Big Is Better got a major slice of the US$47,800 on offer for the Grade Two contest, Paddys Day earned his connections the bonus of US$150,000 for winning top points in the series and it is likely that the two horses could make the trip to the UAE for the world’s richest Purebred Arabian race – the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s €1.2 million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Group 1) on 8 November 2015.
Kelsi Purcell on Paddys Day looked headed for the star’s 10th win in 12 starts but So Big Is Better under Robert Paz came up with a blazing run and collared the leader in the final furlong to score a second big win in a week. The Burning Sand son had won a Grade One race in Delaware a week ago and Mark was elated with the second inning of his aging star.
“He was demolished in the first two legs of the Triple Jewel but I did not get perturbed as he was coming back after a year’s gap. His win last week in a Grade A Stakes in Delaware forced me to air-lift him here for the big race and he proved his class with a third win in a row this year,” Mark said.
“He is a great horse and I have five yearlings from him and another five seven-month old foals so I am delighted all the more with this success after his stud duties,” he remarked.
“I hope he makes it to the big race in Abu Dhabi and it will be a great re-match between him and Paddys Day which is the best American Arabian at the moment, although it was great to beat him,” Mark continued.
RB Rich under Erik McNeil and Sand Victor under Pedro Flores finished third and fourth with So Big Is Better taking 1:49.25 to complete the mile’s distance.
HE Abdulla Al Suboosi, UAE Consul General in Los Angeles along with Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), Denise Gault, Head Steward of the Arabian Racing Cup, and other representatives of the US Arabian racing attended the prize giving ceremony.
Ms Sawaya hailed the exciting finish and said she expected both Paddys Day and So Big Is Better to be in the line-up for the Festival’s Euros1.2 million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Group 1) on 8 November 2015.
“There are three slots for US and three for Europe with the rest for GCC and the UAE. The list of invited horses will have to be approved by the Emirates Arabian Horse Society and the 16 horses which will start will all be champion Purebred Arabians currently in racing. Preparations are on for the One World, 6 Continents – Abu Dhabi the Capital week-long finale of the Festival in November.”
Ms Sawaya and HE Al Subosi took a moment to remember the too-early death of the eldest son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.
“We convey our heartfelt condolences to the UAE leaders on the demise of Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum,” HE Al Subosi and Ms Sawaya said.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by Invest AD, National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels, Racing Post, and Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics.