Merchant Marine, third behind Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr.I), has been sold to Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Farm, said John Fort of Peachtree Stable, who previously owned the 4-year-old gelding.

 

Fort, who called the deal “quite a successful sale for Peachtree,” purchased Merchant Marine for $325,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Bred in Kentucky by Pollock Farms, the son of Tiznow   – Head East, by Gone West sold as a weanling for $70,000 at the Keeneland November mixed sale.

 

In 12 career starts under the care of Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, Merchant Marine won five, with one second and two thirds for earnings of $305,750.

 

In addition to his third-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, in which he was beaten 4 1/2 lengths by Curlin, Merchant Marine has captured the listed Devil Diver and Yankee Victor Stakes at Belmont Park. In his most recent start, he shortened up from 1 1/4 miles to seven furlongs and finished fourth in the Sport Page Handicap at Belmont.

 

Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains for Shadwell in the U.S., said Merchant Marine will be sent to Dubai to be pointed for the major Carnival races, which could culminate with the Dubai World Cup (UEA-I) or one of the other lucrative stakes.

 

Doug Watson, a former assistant to McLaughlin when he trained for Sheikh Hamdan in Dubai, is Shadwell’s main trainer in Dubai, but McLaughlin could not confirm whether Watson will be taking over the training of Merchant Marine. He also has not been told yet whether the horse would be sent to him following the Nad al Sheba meeting.

 

McLaughlin did say that Shakis, who finished last in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) after getting stopped at the eighth pole and having to take up sharply, would be pointed for the Citation Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 28.

 

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