Curlin continues to impress during his Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) preparations.

Curlin continues to impress during his Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) preparations.

Andrew Watkins

U.S. Horses Impress in Dubai Workouts

Curlin continued to impress at Nad Al Sheba in a morning workout.

(From Dubai Racing Club)

In his final timed tune-up for the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), Horse of the Year Curlin dazzled onlookers at Nad Al Sheba with a show of contained power March 24.

As exercise rider Carlos Rosas sat motionless in the saddle, Curlin rolled through a half-mile in :50.16 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:06.18.

Scott Blasi, who has been overseeing Curlin’s preparations in Dubai for trainer Steve Asmussen, labeled the workout “perfect.”

“He’s physically ready to do what we are going to ask him to do on Saturday,” Blasi said.

Winstar Farms’ Well Armed also turned in his final timed work breezing a half-mile in :48 flat under exercise rider Iggy Puglisi.

Trainer Eoin Harty said the workout went according to plan, commenting: “I just wanted him to go an easy half mile, which he did. He galloped out strong. He’s very fit and he’s sound, so it was just a routine maintenance work.”

After watching Well Armed’s breeze, Harty said preparations for the race are complete. “It’s pretty much all done and dusted,” he said. “Some light galloping, a trip to the starting gate, and that will be it.”

Well Armed, a 5-year-old gelding by Tiznow , picked up one of his four career victories in an allowance race at Nad Al Sheba in January 2006. He finished 11th in that year’s S&M Al Naboodah Group UAE Derby (UAE-II), and then after an 18-month layoff, returned to competition in October 2007 and won his most recent start, the Feb. 9 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita.

Making his first appearance on the main track after exercising lightly March 22-23 at the training track, A. P. Arrow was full of energy as he alertly took in the surroundings. He returned from a mile jog, followed by an enthusiastic gallop under exercise rider Eddie King with some lather on his neck.

Ginny De Pasquale, an assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said the chestnut horse “always enjoys his training.”

A. P. Arrow will visit the starting gate March 25, and then just gallop up to the Dubai World Cup with no timed workouts, she said.  Pletcher plans to fly to Dubai March 29 to saddle the horse, and then return to the United States shortly after the race.

Also glimpsed the morning of March 24 was Great Hunter, who underwent a light canter for Tony Romero, an exercise rider for trainer Doug O’Neill. Romero said he backed J. Paul Reddam’s 4-year-old colt up to the 2,000-meter mark and had him gallop once around the track.

“He felt perfect,” Romero said, adding that the son of Aptitude had made a smooth transition to Dubai after shipping in from California. “He’s pretty happy--he’s acting pretty good.”

Resident trainer Mike De Kock also made an appearance opting to work his World Cup aspirants Lucky Find and Asiatic Boy on the Nad Al Sheba turf.

Winner of the UAE Triple Crown last year, Asiatic Boy suffered his first Nad Al Sheba defeat in the March 6 Muhtathir Burj Nahaar (UAE-III), but his handler is confident of a much bolder showing March 29.

“I was too easy on him in the build-up to (the Burj Nahaar), but as you can see, he is far tighter now and hopefully will be at his peak on Saturday,” said De Kock. We ran him over a mile to progress to the 10 furlongs gradually, and we will find out about his stamina on Saturday."

Earlier, Lucky Find worked with Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) candidate Archipenko and both moved nicely. De Kock added: “Stamina is an obvious concern with Lucky Find.”