Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's $4.4-million yearling purchase Shah Jehan might make his first American start in Friday's restricted Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. Though he is nominated to the 1 1/8-mile race, trainer D. Wayne Lukas is uncertain the 3-year-old Mr. Prospector colt will be among the starters.
"Right now, we're 50-50 on that race," said Lukas. "I've had him since November, and he's been training in a regular pattern, but how far along I am with him, I'm still not sure."
Shah Jehan worked six furlongs at Santa Anita Sunday, getting the distance in 1:12 2/5, handily.
"I had a tough time reading the work," Lukas said. "We'll wait a couple of days, see how he is, then make the decision. I definitely think he needs to go two turns, but I don't want to send him out there if he's not tight enough."
Shah Jehan spent his juvenile campaign in trainer Aidan O'Brien's barn. He won at first asking in June, then finished second by a neck in the Flame of Tara Tyros Stakes at the Curragh in July, beating San Vicente (gr. II) fifth-place finisher Line Rider. In two subsequent stakes starts in the fall, Shah Jehan finished fourth in the Grand Criterium Lucien Barriere (Fr-I) and a closer seventh in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I). Should he be entered, the Sham will be his first start on dirt.
Lukas was the underbidder on Shah Jehan at the 2000 September Keeneland yearling sale only to have the colt turned over to be trained by him at the end of his juvenlile campaign.
"I bid $4.4 million on him myself," Lukas said. "I loved the horse but didn't get him bought. But (owners Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier) ended up sending him to me anyway."
Lukas said the lofty purchase price doesn't weigh on his mind.
"I never think about (how much they cost), I never worry about it," Lukas said. "You can't train scared, you just have to go with it."
Shah Jehan is out of Voodoo Lily, by Baldski.
Probable for the $75,000 Sham Stakes, with jockeys, are: Cottonwood Cowboy, Alex Solis; Definite Edge, Victor Espinoza; Puerto Banus, Gary Stevens; and U S S Tinosa. Stevens is also named to ride Shah Jehan, who is listed as possible.