(From Gulfstream Park)
Donn Handicap (gr. I) winner Albertus Maximus continues to solidify his status as America’s leading hope for the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) with a bullet workout March 7 at Palm Meadows Training Center.
The 5-year-old Shadwell Stable color-bearer posted the only sub-one minute five-furlong drill of the morning of 31 workers, stopping the official watches in :59.
The son of Albert the Great will have one more workout next week before flying to Dubai where he could give Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin their second victory in the world’s richest race after scoring with Invasor in 2007.
“He’s fabulous right now and is a really neat horse,” said McLaughlin.
Albertus Maximus won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita in October over the Pro-Ride surface in a performance that proved how talented the colt was over artificial main tracks.
Sheikh Hamdan purchased Albertus Maximus privately shortly after the Breeders’ Cup and sent him to McLaughlin, gambling the horse could adjust to the real dirt in Florida and Dubai. It is a gamble that paid off handsomely with his half-length win in the Donn on Jan. 31.
“We haven’t had to do anything differently to get him ready for the dirt,” said McLaughlin. “We just trained him over it and hoped he liked it as much as the synthetics. He’s just a really classy and smart horse and has done everything right.”
McLaughlin and Sheikh Hamdan are in no hurry to get the horse to Dubai, preferring to stick with a proven winning plan despite the schedule last year when 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin trained and won a prep race at Nad al Sheba winning the World Cup.
The flight for Albertus Maximus, Kip Deville, Anak Nakal and some other American-trained stakes runners invited to run in stakes on World Cup day is scheduled for March 17.
“Sheikh Hamdan always wants us to get there two weeks before,” said McLaughlin. “He likes us to get in, race and get out as soon as we can. Even though Curlin got there early last year, I think Curlin could have come in the day before and won the World Cup because he was such a great horse. We’re going to work again next week and then head over.”