“Perfect” was the word trainer Kiaran McLaughlin chose to describe Invasor’s workout at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida -- his last major exercise before he is loaded on a plane on Tuesday for his journey to the US$6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
The threat of storms in South Florida led McLaughlin to change his initial plan to send Invasor to the track on Saturday.
So, at around 9.15 a.m. on Friday, regular exercise rider Danny Wright gave the Argentine-bred son of Candy Stripes his cue to go and the American Horse of the Year performed just like McLaughlin hoped he would.
Invasor completed his five-furlong drill in :59 3/5, the fastest of 19 workouts at the distance on a track rated fast. McLaughlin reported that he galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.
“We wanted to have a decent work because it’s his last before he leaves,” McLaughlin said. “It was perfect.”
Despite the rescheduling of the workout by a day, virtually all of Invasor’s Dubai World Cup preparations have been accomplished just as the trainer had envisioned. But McLaughlin bestowed much of the credit on the horse.
“It’s gone very smoothly. He makes our life easy because he does everything so well,” he said. “He’s such a professional and great to be around.”
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, Invasor has been defeated only once in his 11-race career.
That defeat -- in last year’s UAE Derby (UAE-II) -- came not long after he had been imported to the United States from Uruguay for his first start for McLaughlin. The trainer maintains that Invasor is a different horse altogether now--bigger, stronger, and more mature.
Additionally, McLaughlin said he is looking forward to seeing Invasor compete at 2,000 meters in Dubai, particularly in his expected rematch with UAE Derby winner Discreet Cat, who has never raced that far in his undefeated career.
McLaughlin has mentioned that he is concerned that Invasor will not be able to race with the anti-bleeder medication Lasix under the rules of racing in the United Arab Emirates.
Invasor has won five grade I races in the U.S. while racing with Lasix. McLaughlin said his charge is not a bleeder and should have no problems.
Jockey Fernando Jara, who has ridden Invasor to four of his American triumphs, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will be back aboard for the Dubai World Cup after getting a tour of Nad Al Sheba at the March 8 race meeting.
The 19-year-old nearly pulled off a win for Sheikh Hamdan, steering Mutasallil to within a quarter-length of winner Bennie Blue in the 2,000-meter Jaguar Trophy.