Takaful won the 2017 Vosburgh Stakes

Takaful won the 2017 Vosburgh Stakes

Coglianese Photos

Strong Toboggan Run Could Earn Takaful Dubai Trip

Takaful will open his 4-year-old season in the Toboggan Stakes.

After efforts to make last year's classic races didn't work out, Shadwell Stables' Takaful would find success sprinting in New York, an assignment that awaits him in his 4-year-old season opener Jan. 27 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Takaful will face an expected five other horses when he starts in Saturday's $100,000 Toboggan Stakes (G3), a seven-furlong test for older horses. A strong run Saturday could see Takaful be shipped to Dubai to sprint on World Cup Day there in March.

With the short field Saturday, the New York Racing Association will offer the Toboggan as the third race on the card with an expected post time of 1:20 p.m.

Last year Takaful put together a nice run of three sprints in the summer and fall in New York. In July off a 4 1/2-month layoff, Takaful scored a front-running victory in a six-furlong allowance race at Saratoga Race Course. Off that impressive run, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin correctly moved Takaful up in class.

Making his first grade 1 start in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes in August at Saratoga, Takaful again seized the early lead and grudgingly gave way to Practical Joke  in that seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds. In September, Takaful returned to the six-furlong distance and that  proved more to his liking as he scored a clear victory against 3-year-olds and older in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.

Off those efforts, Takaful would be shipped to Southern California for a shot at the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). That hurdle proved too high as Takaful led early but finished 10th. Back at his New York base this year, the son of Bernardini  appears ready for a new season. 

Since Dec. 22 he has worked four times, going a half-mile in two of those moves and five furlongs in the other pair. He enters Saturday's race off a five-furlong breeze in :59.90 Jan. 22 on the Belmont training track, a move that earned the bullet for 20 works at the distance.

McLaughlin has seen enough to think Takaful should rebound from that Breeders' Cup performance.

"He's doing very well, so we're just drawing a line through the Breeders' Cup. He just didn't run that well," McLaughlin said. "We're just throwing it out and we're just looking forward to this race."

A solid effort in the Toboggan could set Takaful up for the group 1, $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News March 31 at Meydan.

"It could be a springboard to Dubai, we'll see about that. He just needs to find a way to the winner's circle," McLaughlin said. "That will help us a lot with the decision."

Entries: Toboggan S. (G3)

Aqueduct Racetrack, Saturday, January 27, 2018, Race 3

  • Grade III
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 1:20 PM (local)
11Summer Revolution (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKendrick Carmouche114Rudy R. Rodriguez8/1
22Takaful (KY)Trevor McCarthy123Kiaran P. McLaughlin4/5
33Vulcan's Forge (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEric Cancel116Todd A. Pletcher4/1
44Great Stuff (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDylan Davis116David Jacobson6/1
55Life in Shambles (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateManuel Franco114Steven M. Asmussen7/2
66Green Gratto (NJ)Christopher P. DeCarlo123Gaston Grant20/1