Three U.S.-based runners—The Usual Q. T., Take the Points, and Courageous Cat—are among a full field of 16 drawn for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) to be held on the Meydan Racecourse turf March 27 in Dubai.
The about nine-furlong Duty Free has an expected post time of 11:55 a.m. EDT and is one of eight graded races on the $26.25 million World Cup card that will be shown live on HRTV.
The expected favorite for the Duty Free is Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth ll Cup (HK-I) winner Presvis, the runner-up in last year’s race. He drew post 15 after being stuck in post 16 a year ago. Also sure to take much of the betting action is three-time defending Cathay Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) winner Good Ba Ba, an 8-year-old gelding who has earned more than $7.4 million from 34 starts.
Don Van Racing and partners’ The Usual Q. T., reeled off six consecutive turf wins to end his 2009 campaign, including the grade I Hollywood Derby. The California-based gelded son of Unusual Heat had the win streak broken in his 4-year-old debut Jan. 30 when finishing ninth as the favorite in the Sunshine Millions Classic, but that effort can probably be excused since it was on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface.
Trained by James Cassidy, The Usual Q. T. will have regular rider Victor Espinoza aboard. They drew post 9.
Starlight Partners’ Take the Points enters in top form, having crossed the wire first in three of his last four starts—all of them in grade I turf contests. The 4-year-old son of Even the Score won the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park and Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont during his sophomore season and began 2010 with a big effort when finishing first in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. IT) on Feb. 6, only to be disqualified and placed fifth after stewards determined interference in the stretch with Edgar Prado aboard.
Take the Points will again have Prado in the irons as they break from post 11. The gray/roan colt is trained by Todd Pletcher.
Pam and Martin Wygod’s Courageous Cat prepped for the Duty Free with a win in the Feb. 20 Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream. The bay son of Storm Cat also won the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga last year, and was runner-up by a half-length to champion Goldikova in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) last November.
Garret Gomez will ride Courageous Cat for trainer Bill Mott. They drew post 5.
Presvis, a 6-year-old gelding with international earnings of more than $3.2 million, prepped for the Duty Free with a win in the Derrinstown Stud Haatel Jebel Hatta (UAE-II) March 4 at Meydan.
Good Ba Ba is winless in two starts this year as he travels to Dubai for the first time.
$5,000,000 Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I, Race 6, 11:55 a.m. EST), 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Imbongi (SAF), Soumillon, de Kock
2. Good Ba Ba (USA), Marwing, Cruz
3. Justenuffhumor (USA), Durcan, bin Suroor
4. Iba Battuta (USA), Smith, al Muhairi
5. Courageous Cat (US), Gomez, Mott
6. Tam Lin (GB), Supple, bin Shafya
7. Al Shemali (GB), Ffrench, al Raihe
8. Bankable (IRE), Shea, Brown
9. The Usual Q. T. (USA), Espinoza, Cassidy
10. Alexandros (GB), Dettori, bin Suroor
11. Take the Points (USA), Prado, Pletcher
12. Confront (GB), Moore, Stoute
13. Lahaleeb (IRE), Egan, Nass
14. Snaafy (USA), Hills, al Muhairi
15. Presvis (GB), Lemaire, Cumani
16. Calvados Blues (FR), Ajtebi, al Zarooni