After Captain Squire scored a 5 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $250,000 FedEx Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita in a blistering time of 1:08.15, trainer Jeff Mullins left little doubt on what's on his mind later this year.
"We nominated him to a couple of races in Dubai, so hopefully we'll get invited there," said Mullins, who trains the 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding for owners Bob Bone of Shingle Springs, Calif., and Jeff Diener of Fair Oaks, Calif. "And so far that's the only plans we have. It doesn't matter which, the mile or the sprint, as long as it's a one-turn race, or a stretch-run race."
Captain Squire, a son of Flying Chevron, pressured F J's Pace out of the gate through an eye-opening first quarter-mile of :21.28, but as they approached the half-mile, jockey Alex Solis could hold him no more. Captain Squire never let up through four furlongs in :43.55 and five-eighths in :55.56. Ten-year-old Men's Exlcusive, with Laffit Pincay Jr. In the irons, closed best to get second, a half-length better than F J's Pace and Jerry Bailey.
Echoe Eddie, the 2-1 favorite ridden by David Flores, was fourth.
"To be honest with you, I had no idea they were going that fast," Solis said. "He really wanted to go at the five-sixteenths pole, so I let him. That's how easily he was going. He's just that kind of horse where he makes everything look easy. We really didn't have a plan for the race. (Mullins) just said to wait and see how it all set up and to use my best judgment. We were thinking that, hopefully, we'd have a good break and go from there. I don't think a horse could have run any better than he did."
A $13,500 Ocala Breeders Sale purchase in August of 2000, Captain Squire had been on the sidelines since Aug. 10 after going stale following a third-place finish in the West Virginia Derby (gr. III). A 45-day farm vacation seemed to perk him up, Mullins said.
"He's trained super since we brought him back in from the farm," he said. "We decided it was probably a good idea to back off on him, so I talked to the owners and they agreed it was best. But he's done everything right since, so we decided this was a good spot to bring him back in.
"I didn't even pay any attention to the (fast pace)," Mullins said. "He's that way, though. In the morning, even, when you watch him work, he goes a lot faster than he looks like he's going."
Captain Squire picked up $137,500 for the victory and improved his career bankroll to $471,800 with his fifth career win in 11 starts. He also has two seconds and two thirds. He won the Laz Barrera (gr. II) at Hollywood Park in May.
Sent off as the 7-2 second choice, Captain Squire paid $9, $4.80 and $3. Men's Exclusive returned $10.20 and $7.40. F J's pace paid $5.60. The $2 exacta was worth $105.20.