It was a thrilling stretch drive in the Group 1, $12 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday, as Thunder Snow nailed Gronkowski on the wire by a whisker in the ten-furlong event.
While guiding Thunder Snow to a hard-fought nose victory, jockey Christope Soumillion also put the 5-yr.-old son of Helmut into the history books, becoming the first horse to ever win the race twice.
Gunnevera would close from last place to get up for third and Pavel, closed from out of the pack to be fourth, but it was an obvious two-horse race through the lane.
Usually known for being a closer, Gronkowski was forwardly placed and in the clear on the outside in the early going, as North America and Richard Mullen showed the way. Thunder Snow was also near the pace and as the field turned for home, North America shortened stride and Oisin Murphy gave Gronkowski his cue and the duo powered to the lead. Thunder Snow was also in gear and was wheeled out for the drive and responded, and the two battled on even terms to the wire. Thunder Snow barely prevailed over a very game and stubborn Gronkowski, who went off at odds of 40/1.
Capezzano and Yoshida were the co favorites at 7/2. Capezzano resisted being on the rail in the early going as was rank for almost 1/4 mile and Yoshida wasn’t a factor at any stage of the race.
The connections of Thunder Snow plan to bring the horse back to the U.S. later this year with Saratoga and the Breeders’ Cup being possible goals.