Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Barbecue Eddie rallied strongly on the outside to overtake runner-up Out of Bounds in the stretch and capture the $250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round I (UAE-II) Jan. 10 at Meydan Racecourse.
The 1,600-meter (about one-mile) race, the first in a series of key preps for the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), anchored the lead-off of 11 meetings of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, which culminates March 30 with the $27 million Dubai World Cup card, the world’s richest day of racing.
Conditioned by three-time champion trainer Doug Watson, Barbecue Eddie earned his first stakes win after placing five times in graded stakes in the U.S. in 2007 and 2008, including the 2007 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I). Making his third start off an eight-month layoff, he entered with consecutive wins at Meydan in November and December. A fan favorite at the opulent track, the 9-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding scored his seventh win in 18 starts there.
Barbecue Eddie was timed in 1:37.24 on the all-weather surface and improved his overall record to 10 wins in 25 career starts.
Godolphin’s Out of Bounds, a U.S. classics hopeful in 2012 and the 9-to-5 favorite, led soon after the start, and the 4-year-old Discreet Cat colt looked as if he could hold his command and win his comeback from a year-long layoff as he led into the stretch. But Barbecue Eddie, who tracked just behind the frontrunners early, ranged up on the outside under Dane O’Neill to overtake him 300 meters out to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths. Barbecue Eddie was sent off as the 7-to-2 second wagering choice in North American pools hosted by Kentucky-based simulcast company AmWest Entertainment.
Out of Bounds gamely held for second, a half-length in front of Godolphin’s Fulbright.
Bred in Maryland by Margaret Addis, Barbecue Eddie is out of the Carson City mare The Green Owl. His former trainer, Brian Koriner, purchased him for $55,000 at the 2006 Ocala Breeders’ Sale Co. March 2-year-olds in training sale.
The supporting feature on the opening night was the $125,000 Longines Al Rashidiya Trial, won by Godolphin’s Sharestan, who seized the lead in the stretch before drawing clear to win by four lengths and set a turf course record for 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles).
The Irish-bred 5-year-old son of Shamardal, a former Aga Khan homebred, was timed in 1:47.79 under Silvestre De Sousa, lowering the previous turf course record of 1:48.74 set by Mahbooba in last year’s edition of the race. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, he was the 4-to-5 favorite, entering with back-to-back stakes wins in Ireland, most recently the Celebration Stakes June 30 at the Curragh.
The Al Rashidiya (UAE-II), an 1,800 meter prep for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at the same distance on the Dubai World Cup card, is set for Jan. 31.