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Cocoa Beach a potential Cup star for Godolphin; REPORT: USA Beldame Stakes G1 Belmont (Saturday) 1m1f dirt INTERNATIONAL.

GODOLPHIN'S American arm unleashed another Breeders' Cup contender when 5-2 chance Cocoa Beach edged out last year's Distaff winner Ginger Punch in the EUR600,000 Beldame Stakes.

Saeed Bin Suroor flew into New York to saddle the ex-Chilean-trained four-year-old, delivered by jockey Ramon Dominguez from off the pace to take the 1m1f dirt event by half a length over the odds-on Ginger Punch, who was denied a Grade 1 four-timer. The pair drew nearly 14 lengths clear of third-placed Lemon Drop Mom.

Cocoa Beach had starred at the Dubai carnival in the spring, winning both the UAE 1,000 Guineas and Oaks before finishing third against the colts in the UAE Derby.

"It is very good to see a Dubai winner take an American Grade 1," said Bin Suroor. "Cocoa Beach was relaxed and happy before the race and has performed strongly - I'm very pleased with her performance.

"She's grown up a lot since she ran earlier in the year and I had a good feeling coming into the race.

"Her last race at Saratoga really set her up and we'll now look at all the options, including the Breeders' Cup."

Cocoa Beach's likely Breeders' Cup target would be the Ladies' Classic, highlight of the Friday card on October 24, when the Dubai team are also likely to saddle top-class three-year-old Music Note.

However, they're likely to face a stern rival in ante-post favourite Zenyatta (John Shirreffs/Mike Smith), who took her unbeaten record to eight on Saturday with victory in the Grade 1 Lady's Secret Stakes at Breeders' Cup venue Santa Anita. She's now a bestpriced 7-4 for the race formerly known as the Distaff.

Read more Grade 1 reports from Belmont at
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2008
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