With her good looks drawing eyes on the backstretch of Churchill Downs heading into the Breeders’ Cup, Dubawi Heights is a filly moving in the right direction for the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). Drawing the rail for the 1 3/8-mile race Nov. 4, Dubawi Heights will break from the hedge under Joel Rosario.
Throughout Breeders’ Cup week, exercise rider Peter Barry has led her from Barn 33 to the track and galloped the bay filly. He continues to be impressed.
“She was very strong again, maybe even stronger than before,” Barry said after a 1 1/4-mile gallop Nov. 2, and her trainer, Simon Callaghan, agreed.
Callaghan is the son of long-time British trainer (and Dubawi Heights’ co-owner) Neville Callaghan. One of Neville’s main clients was the Coolmore contingent headed by Michael Tabor.
The 28-year-old trainer came up under his father and also worked for top British trainer Richard Hannon. In the U.S., Callaghan had a pair of stints with trainer Todd Pletcher, who also has Tabor among his many clients.
“That wasn’t a bad place to go; so he probably learned more from Todd Pletcher than he did from me,” Neville Callaghan said.
Landing in Southern California, the younger Callaghan has a stable of about 15 horses, including Dubawi Heights.
A moderate success in her native England, she’s come into her own at 4, winning four of five starts, landing two of racing's top prizes for the older female turf set.
A maiden when she came to Southern California last summer, she broke through in her third start at Hollywood Park Nov. 28 going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Progressing this spring, she ripped through victories in her initial allowance test and the grade III Wilshire Handicap, both at a mile.
She made a name for herself May 30 with a head victory in the nine-furlong Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park. Pitched against the best, she ran a solid second to division leader Stacelita as an 8-1 chance in the Aug. 13 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington. Back home, she took the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) Oct. 1 at Santa Anita.
Dubawi Heights races for a group comprising of Simon’s father, Clodagh McStay, M.V. Magnier, and Annabel Wyatt.
The elder Callaghan paid $132,035 for Dubawi Height from the Tally Ho Stud consignment at the Tattersalls October yearling sale in 2008.
“I knew the family and I fancied Dubawi who wasn’t fashionable at the time,” Callaghan said. “He’s become a revelation. He’s fantastic.”
Dubawi, who stands at Darley in England, is from the lone crop of Dubai Millennium, who died of grass sickness in 2001. Winner of the National Stakes (Ire-I) at 2, Dubawi captured the classic Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) and Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at 3. Dubawi is out of Zomaradah, winner of the Italian Oaks (Ity-I) and E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IIT) for Sheikh Mohammed. She ran third behind Soaring Softly in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park and was named champion older female in Ireland and Italy.
Dubawi Heights is the third foal out of Rosie’s Posy, a daughter of the longwinded Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) winner Suave Dancer, a pedigree combination that both Callaghans hope will help her get the 11 furlongs under the Twin Spires.
It won’t be easy, facing Stacelita and 10 other top fillies and mares, but based on her appearance at Churchill Downs this week, don’t be surprised if she scales the “heights.”