Kinsale King will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano when he attempts to defend his title in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) March 26, trainer Carl O’Callaghan reported.
MIke Smith was aboard Kinsale King for an easy half-mile work in :47 4/5 on the Cushion Track racing surface at Hollywood Park March 1. But since Smith is committed to Euroears in the Golden Shaheen, Bejarano has accepted the mount, O'Callaghan said after the drill. Garrett Gomez had ridden Kinsale King in Dubai last year.
“We’re happy, he’s happy,” O’Callaghan said of obtaining the riding services of Bejarano, who currently is the leading jockey by wins at Santa Anita Park.
Kinsale King is slated to ship to Dubai in about two weeks, the trainer said.
O'Callaghan said Kinsale King “worked awesome” and that the 6-year-old Yankee Victor gelding will have at least one more timed drill before he is shipped to Dubai.
Kinsale King won his only start of 2011 under a hand ride from Smith when he set all the pace in a six-furlong Golden Gate Fields allowance Feb. 17, crossing the finish line in a snappy 1:09.57 over the Tapeta surface. O’Callaghan chose the race for him because the Golden Shaheen is run over the same kind of surface at Meydan Racecourse.
Last year, Kinsale King trained over the Golden Gate track prior to traveling to Dubai and collecting the $1.2 million first-place prize in the Golden Shaheen, which is run over 1,200 meters (about six furlongs).
For his career, Kinsale King has won six of 12 starts and has earned $1,502,320. Among his other wins are the 2010 Palos Verdes Stakes (gr. II) and the 2009 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III). In a remarkable effort following his Dubai victory last year, Kinsale King finished third in the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) on turf at Royal Ascot.
Euroears, who has never won at the grade or group I level, has been working strongly on the dirt track at Santa Anita Park. He recorded this third bullet work in a month when he covered five furlongs in :57 4/5 Feb. 24.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Euroears has won nine of 15 starts. His victory in the Palos Verdes Jan. 22, with Smith in the irons, marked a lifetime best as well as the only race of 2011 to date for the 7-year-old son of Langfuhr .
Meanwhile, Singapore-based crack sprinter Rocket Man, who chased Kinsale King home while finishing second by a half-length in last year’s Dubai Golden Shaheen, is set to race on March 6 at Kranji Racecourse as he prepares for a rematch.
“He will have this one run under his belt before he leaves for Dubai and everything is in perfect order,” trainer Patrick Shaw said. Last week, Rocket Man won a trial race at Kranji to prepare for his official seasonal debut.