Recovered from Hoof Injury, Pico Central Ready for Golden Shaheen

Trainer Paulo Lobo says Pico Central, listed by British bookmakers as the 10-11 favorite for Saturday's $2-million Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba, appears to have fully recovered from a hoof injury suffered earlier this year.

"I think he's in pretty good shape," Lobo said Thursday. "He didn't lose any weight traveling. He's used to it. He worked very well on Saturday and came back in perfect shape. He's eating well and he's happy. Two months ago he had a quarter crack and needed two stitches but he has come through everything fine since then. There will be no excuses."

As a precaution, Pico Central's regular farrier was due to arrive in Dubai Thursday night. "I didn't want to change anything," Lobo said. "And Mr. (owner Gary) Tanaka agreed to it. I don‚t want to leave anything to chance so he will be shoed by his regular guy."

Pico Central is one of four U.S. runners in the Golden Shaheen, alongside Bear Fan, My Cousin Matt, Saratoga County.

My Cousin Matt's jockey Pat Valenzuela admitted to concerns about how quickly his mount would break. "He's had trouble leaving the gate in some of his races and I just hope we get a good clean break because (trainer) Jeff Mullins tells me he's doing very well."