The Factor , one of North America’s best sprinters, will face Rocket Man and several other of the world’s top sprint specialists when he goes to the post in the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-I) at Meydan Racecourse March 31.
Post positions were drawn on Monday, March 26, for seven of the eight Thoroughbred stakes races that will be run on Dubai World Cup day, a total program worth $27-million. Post positions for the $10-million Dubai World Cup will be drawn on Wednesday, March 28.
Bob Baffert trains The Factor, a 4-year-old colt by War Front who is riding a two-race winning streak. The gray or roan colt has been superb so far this year, wheeling off victories in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) and the San Carlos Stakes (gr. II). The Factor has won six of 10 lifetime starts for owners George Bolton and Fog City Stables, for total earnings of $772,180. Rafael Bejarano will be in for the ride.
Seven-year-old Rocket Man is the returning champion of the Golden Shaheen, having zipped to a 2 1/4 length victory over Euroears in the 2011 edition. The Patrick Shaw-trained gelding has won 19 of his 25 career starts, which include victories in the 2011 KrisFlyer International Sprint (Sin-I) and Lion City Cup (Sin-I), a race he has won three consecutive years. Jockey Felix Coetzee will be in the saddle.
Godolphin will be represented by the Australian duo of Sepoy and Soul. Peter Snowdon trains Sepoy, a 4-year-old colt by Elusive Quality who has won 10 of 12 starts. This will be the first start on Tapeta for Sepoy, a four-time group I winner who boasts victories in the AAMI Golden Slipper (Aus-I) and Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (Aus-I). Kerrin McEvoy will ride.
Frankie Dettori will pilot Soul for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The 5-year-old Commands gelding enters the Golden Shaheen off two straight wins, most recently capturing a six-furlong handicap at Meydan March 1.
Lucky Nine will be representing Hong Kong when he lines up in the Golden Shaheen. The 5-year-old Dubawi gelding enters the race off a hard-fought head victory in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (HK-I) March 4. Lucky Nine has faced Rocket Man in the past, defeating that rival in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I) Dec. 11. Brett Prebble will be in the irons.
Krypton Factor and Hitchens will try and take their rivalry to the next level. The pair has exchanged wins during the Carnival earlier this season, with Hitchens winning the Al Shindagha Sprint Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-III) Feb. 3, and Krypton Factor taking the Mahab Al Shimaal Sponsored by Skywards (UAE-III) March 10.
Giant Ryan will be making his first start since finishing off the board in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) last November. The 6-year-old horse won six of nine starts in 2011, with his biggest score coming in the Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 1. Willie Martinez will be aboard.
$2,000,000 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-I, race 6, 11:35 a.m. EDT), 3yo (SH-bred) & up, six furlongs (Tapeta).
PP, Horse, Wgt., Jockey, Trainer
1. Rocket Man (Aus), 126, F. Coetzee, P. Shaw
2. Happy Dubai (Ire), 126, J. Murtagh, A. Al Raihe
3. Giant Ryan (NY), 126, W. Martinez, B. Parboo
4. Russian Rock (Ire), 126, W. Smith, M. Al Muhairi
5. Krypton Factor (GB), 126, K. Fallon, F. Nass
6. Hitchens (Ire), 126, S. de Sousa, T.D. Barron
7. The Factor (KY), 126, R. Bejarano, B. Baffert
8. Iver Bridge Lad (GB), 126, M. O’Connell, J. Ryan
9. Sepoy (Aus), 125, K. McEvoy, P. Snowdon
10. Inxile (Ire), 126, A. Nicholls, D. Nicholls
11. Soul (Aus), 126, L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
12. Lucky Nine (Ire), 126, B. Prebble, C. Fownes