Yesterday, ten days after the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, became the first head of state ever to visit Gaza, two-year-old filly Flotilla, owned by another member of the Qatari ruling family, Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani, thrilled racegoers who are supporters of the Gaza flotilla movement, by winning the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf race by a length and a quarter.
Wearing a big white shadow roll under her eyes, Flotilla was easy to spot as she wove her way through the field of horses from the back of the pack. She then displayed an impressive closing kick to run down her opponents under the skillful handling of French jockey Christophe Lemaire.
On the same day as the race, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said that he also planned to visit the Gaza Strip soon. That visit would enhance the legitimacy of Hamas and antagonize the West, especially, of course, Israel and the United States, according to Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times.
Buoyed by the success of Flotilla, the owner Sheikh al-Thani said that he intends to return to the Breeders’ Cup next year with not only Flotilla, but many other horses (see winners’ circle interview with trainer, Mikel Delzangles in the video above). The sheikh’s statement echoes the statements of many Gaza flotilla organizers in which they declare their intention to return with more boats in order to break the illegal Israeli siege.
Flotilla rewarded her backers paying $24.80 for a $2 win bet. I am proud and delighted to report here that I was one of those who profited from her exciting performance.