Friday, May 24, 2024

Saudi Cup: White Abarrio leads probables for $20 million race

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Breeders’ Cup Classic winner White Abarrio is poised to renew the rivalry with four of his vanquished combatants after the likely fields for the Grade 1, $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse were unveiled by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia.

Five horses from the November race at Santa Anita feature among the 14 probable runners in the Feb. 24 event, including representatives from the United States, Japan, Ireland and Saudi Arabia.

Fair odds: East vs. west showdown looms in Saudi Cup.

White Abarrio was always well placed when winning America’s richest race Nov. 4 for trainer Rick Dutrow. He is set to once again take on the Japan runner-up Derma Sotogake, who returns to Riyadh after finishing third in last year’s Saudi Derby (G3).

The eye-catching Breeders’ Cup hero will sport new colors on Saudi Cup night following a part-purchase of the 5-year-old horse by prolific local owner Prince Faisal and will be recognized during the race by the prince’s familiar red colors with white epaulets.

Japan’s Ushba Tesoro, the 2023 Dubai World Cup (G1) winner and a staying-on fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic also is among the likely runners in the event that goes 1,800 meters, about 1 1/8 miles, on the dirt. The Noboru Takagi-trained 7-year-old is expected to line up with Todd Fincher-trained Señor Buscador, who was seventh at Santa Anita, and Brad Cox’s Saudi Crown, who weakened off a hot pace to finish 10th in the Breeders’ Cup but has wins in the Louisiana Stakes (G3) and the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) to his credit.

Bob Baffert took second ihe Saudi Cup last year with Amr Zedan-owned Country Grammer and is back this time with National Treasure, the Preakness winner, Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up and recent conqueror of Señor Buscador in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1).

After finishing fourth in the Pegasus, Hoist The Gold (USA) is set to travel for trainer Dallas Stewart, having winning form over Señor Buscador from the 2023 Cigar Mile (G2).

In addition to Derma Sotogake, Japan also put forward multiple Grade 1 winner Lemon Pop, who finished first in Japan’s Champions Cup (G1), a Saudi Cup qualifier. He meets former UAE Derby (G2) winner Crown Pride and Meisho Hario, who defeated Crown Pride by a nose in June to become the first to land back-to-back runnings of the Teio Sho.

Leading Ireland trainer Aidan O’Brien unleashes Europe Group 1 winner Luxembourg onto dirt for the first time after he rounded off 2023 with a second in the Hong Kong Cup (G1).

There are three likely local runners. Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques winner Power In Numbers is probable for trainer Ahmed Mohamoud from the Riyadh-based King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Sons Stables. Former Baffert colt Defunded is entered to line up for trainer Abdulaziz bin Khalid bin Mishref and new owner Dr. Muhaideb Abdullah Almuhaideb’s HDB Racing Stable. He is likely to be joined by Carmel Road, another U.S. import who struck his second time out in Saudi Arabia in the King Faisal Cup for trainer Abdullah Albadah.

“The likely fields Saudi Cup 2024 promise to offer a scintillating and fascinating renewal of the fifth Saudi Cup weekend across the two race cards,” said Prince Bandar Bin Khaled Alfaisal, chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia. “We are looking forward to hosting these incredible equine athletes at King Abdulaziz Racecourse and to putting on a showcase of international racing for our domestic audience here in Riyadh and the wider watching world.”

Silks Horse / Sire Rating Trainer / Jockey Last Start / Next Start HRN
Luxembourg

Camelot

8.08

Aidan O’Brien

2nd, 2023 Hong Kong Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

2nd, 2023 Hong Kong Cup G1

Horse Silk White Abarrio White Abarrio

Race Day

7.98

Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.

1st, 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic G1

Probable

Last Race

1st, 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic G1

Horse Silk Ushba Tesoro Ushba Tesoro

Orfevre

7.65

Noboru Takagi

5th, 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic G1

Probable

Last Race

5th, 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic G1

Horse Silk Derma Sotogake Derma Sotogake

Mind Your Biscuits

7.09

Hidetaka Otonashi

2nd, 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic G1

Probable

Last Race

2nd, 2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic G1

Horse Silk Crown Pride Crown Pride

Reach the Crown

6.71

Koichi Shintani

11th, 2023 Champions Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

11th, 2023 Champions Cup G1

Horse Silk Defunded Defunded

Dialed In

6.60

Abdulaziz Khalid Mishref

2nd, 2023 Awesome Again G1

Probable

Last Race

2nd, 2023 Awesome Again G1

Horse Silk Hoist the Gold Hoist the Gold

Mineshaft

6.55

Dallas Stewart

4th, 2024 Pegasus World Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

4th, 2024 Pegasus World Cup G1

Horse Silk Saudi Crown Saudi Crown

Always Dreaming

6.44

Brad H. Cox

1st, 2024 Louisiana G3

Probable

Last Race

1st, 2024 Louisiana G3

Horse Silk Lemon Pop Lemon Pop

Lemon Drop Kid

6.27

Hiroyasu Tanaka

1st, 2023 Champions Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

1st, 2023 Champions Cup G1

Horse Silk Senor Buscador Senor Buscador

Mineshaft

6.18

Todd W. Fincher

2nd, 2024 Pegasus World Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

2nd, 2024 Pegasus World Cup G1

Horse Silk Carmel Road Carmel Road

Quality Road

5.95

A Albadah

8th, 2023 Gotham G3

Probable

Last Race

8th, 2023 Gotham G3

Horse Silk Power In Numbers Power In Numbers

Girvin

5.89

Ahmed Mohamoud

1st, 2023 Tale of the Cat LS

Probable

Last Race

1st, 2023 Tale of the Cat LS

Horse Silk Meisho Hario Meisho Hario

Pyro

4.45

Inao Okada

5th, 2023 Champions Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

5th, 2023 Champions Cup G1

Horse Silk National Treasure National Treasure

Camelot

0.00

Lee Smyth

18th, 2021 Gillies Fillies’ Stakes LS

Probable

Last Race

18th, 2021 Gillies Fillies’ Stakes LS

Horse Silk Isolate Isolate

Mark Valeski

5.94

Doug Watson

1st, 2023 Al Maktoum Mile G2

Possible

Last Race

1st, 2023 Al Maktoum Mile G2

Horse Silk Scotland Yard Scotland Yard

Quality Road

0.00

Moutaib Almulawah

13th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Possible

Last Race

13th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

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