Sharp Azteca wins the Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap on Feb. 11
With five runners likely to enter the starting gate in the $ 10 million Dubai World Cup, the U.S. has the largest number of runners in that 14-horse field. Over the course of the carnival, a total of 14 U.S.-based horses are expected to compete in five races on the March 26 card.
Leading the group, of course, is top-rated Arrogate for trainer Bob Baffert. Likely to join him in the Dubai World Cup are stablemate Hoppertunity, along with Gun Runner (Steve Asmussen), Keen Ice (Todd Pletcher) and Neolithic (Pletcher). Read more about the World Cup field here.
The $ 2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen is likely to feature four U.S. runners in the 1200-meter (about six furlongs) contest. Grade 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits has made the trip for new trainer Chad Summers, for whom he most recently finished second in the G3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship. St. Joe Bay flew over for trainer Peter Miller after three consecutive wins in Southern California, including the G2 Palos Verdes Stakes. The final two probables finished one-two last out in the G3 General George Stakes: Imperial Hint (Luis Carvajal, Jr.) finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of well-regarded and consistent sprinter Stallwalkin’ Dude (David Jacobson).
A pair of U.S. runners are probable for the $ 1 million Al Quoz Sprint, held over 1200 meters (about six furlongs) on the turf. Bill Mott trainee Long on Value, a multiple graded stakes winner, and Peter Miller trainee Richard’s Boy, placed in multiple graded stakes, are both expected in the field.
The $ 2 million, Group 2 UAE Derby features a rare pair of U.S.-based entrants, perhaps chasing the winner’s 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Todd Pletcher has sent over sophomore Master Plan (Twirling Candy), winner of the OBS Championship Stakes in January, to contest the 1900-meter race (about 9 1/2 furlongs). Vettori Kin, a Brazilian-bred son of Vettori (Machiavellian), is expected to appear for trainer Kenny McPeek for the first time. He is a Group 1 winner in Brazil, and has been working steadily at Payson Park in Florida since February. As a Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old, Vettori Kin is ineligible for the Kentucky Derby (where he is considered a 4-year-old).
Closing out the group of U.S. runners is Sharp Azteca for trainer Jorge Navarro, probable for the $ 1 million, Group 2 Godolphin Mile. Held over 1600 meters on the dirt (about one mile), Sharp Azteca is a very quick, multiple graded stakes winner who won the G2 Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap by 4 1/2 lengths around one turn.
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