Breeders’ Cup Alumni Take on the World
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The inaugural Saudi Cup, a $20 million race at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, will be run Saturday, February 29. The approximately 1 1/8-mile race has drawn 14 of the world’s best, including Breeders’ Cup alumni McKinzie and the mare Midnight Bisou. Both were second as the favorite in their previous outings, the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), respectively.
Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman’s McKinzie has been a Grade 1 winner at ages two, three, and four. He has always been highly regarded, but missed the Kentucky Derby in 2018. Last year he was second in the Met Mile (G1) before winning the Whitney Stakes (G1), then ran second as the favorite in both the Awesome Again (G1) and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Although he is based out of Santa Anita, he actually does quite well on the road, with wins at Parx Racing, Churchill Downs, and Saratoga. Bob Baffert trains the son of Street Sense.
Midnight Lute daughter Midnight Bisou was named the 2019 Eclipse Champion Older Dirt Female after a season that yielded seven straight wins and a second in the Breeders’ Cup. She won three Grade 1 races for Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, and Allen Racing. Steve Asmussen trains, and has been pointing her for this very race since the day after the Distaff. Midnight Bisou has won 12 of 19 starts lifetime and has never been worse than third.
Although they have yet to contest a Breeders’ Cup race, Maximum Security and Mucho Gusto will be well backed. Maximum Security was last year’s Champion Three Year Old Colt after winning the Florida Derby, Haskell Invitational, and Cigar Mile, all Grade 1 events. He also crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby before the Jason Servis trainee was disqualified. Mucho Gusto has blossomed of late and is coming off a win in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) last out.
As for the international runners, Benbatl is wildly popular after three wins in his last four starts. The globe trotter has run in Australia, England, and Germany, with two wins in Dubai of late. The son of Dubawi has group wins on both dirt and turf.
Chrysoberyl is one of the Japanese representatives on the day. He has won three in a row including the Champions Cup (G1) on the dirt over Gold Dream, who is also entered for this. Christophe Soumillon will ride for Hidetaka Otonashi.
Another globe trotter in the race is Magic Wand. The mare by Galileo (Ire) has only won three times in 23 starts, but has been second nine times and has earned over $3.4 million. This will be her dirt debut after a Group 1 wins in Australia last year. She was also second in the Pegasus World Cup Turf.
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