Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dubai Defectors

The sparkling new Meydan Race Course in Dubai was hailed by one and all as a massive success this past spring, a season that culminated with Gloria De Campeo winning one of the more exciting renditions of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup we have ever seen. The Tapeta racing surface is a synthetic, but it was developed by the "Mad Genius" himself, Michael Dickinson, and is generally considered to be the most satisfactory of those synthetic surfaces normally detested by one and all.

One of those who have come out and mentioned that profound dislike for synthetic surfaces recently is trainer Bob Baffert, who has been more inclined to head eastward rather than remain in California and run on those state-mandated synthetic surfaces in the Golden State. One of Baffert's current prized pupils is Richard's Kid, who clearly has a fondness for the synthetics, having won back-to-back versions of the Pacific Classic over the polytrack at Del Mar and the Goodwood this season over the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita. Baffert had been working Richard's Kid toward the Breeders' Cup Classic, to be run over the dirt at Churchill Downs on November 6. Those plans changed abruptly when the owner of Richard's Kid, Sheikh al-Maktoum, decided that he wanted the horse returned to Dubai to be prepared for a winter and spring of racing over there.

Another runner that had some promise on the synthetic surface in California in 2009 was Twice Over. He ran third behind Zenyatta and Gio Ponti in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita last autumn. He preceded that third-place finish with a win in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket. Twice Over repeated that win in the Champion Stakes over the weekend, but he will not be coming west for the Breeders' Cup. Instead, he will go east and head to Dubai to rest for a while and begin prepping for the Dubai World Cup at Meydan.

The Classic field still remains one that could be legendary, even without the presence of Richard's Kid and Twice Over. Remember, that you still have Blame, Quality Road, Lookin At Lucky, and of course, the defending champion, Zenyatta. They all appear ready to give us a show for the ages on November 6. It just seems that we might be missing out on even more quality in that field with these two late defections. After all, who doesn't want to see the best run with the best?

Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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