Same track, same surface, same distance, same time of year, same outside post — same result for Mongolian Saturday. The upset winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland pulled off another upset with his first win of the year at that Kentucky track in the Woodford Stakes Oct. 8.
The victory by the Any Given Sunday gelding in last year’s Breeders’ Cup marked the first such win for a horse owned and trained by Mongolians. The horse is revered in that vast nation, and races with Mongolian ponies — rugged and short — are treated like holidays.
A Kentucky-bred, Mongolian Saturday was a $60,000 purchase as a yearling. “He loves Keeneland,” said trainer Enebish Ganbat. “Lexington is his home town.”
After last year’s Breeders’ Cup victory, the big gelding ran fifth in the prestigious G1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse. He was off the board in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Price at the same track in May, then had two lackluster efforts in England, running ninth in the G1 King Stands at Ascot and 11th in the G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
It was while he was in England that vets diagnosed the gelding with bad stomach ulcer. “It took two months (for the horse to fully recover) but it seems everything is all right,” said Ganbat after the Woodford win. “We’re going to take him to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.”
Mongolian Saturday heads into this year’s Breeders’ Cup with a slate of eight wins, eight second and six thirds from 36 starts, and earnings just over $1.1 million.