In the weeks after Dubai World Cup day, the talk has been of Thunder Snow's remarkable victory in the Dubai World Cup Presented by Emirates Airline (G1) and Mendelssohn's jaw-dropping 18 1/2-length score in the UAE Derby Sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2).
But the big race day also saw a milestone as local fan favorite, Zabeel Racing International's Reynaldothewizard, made his final career start in the group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News, won a second straight year by Mind Your Biscuits.
After the last-place finish, Reynaldothewizard's longtime trainer Satish Seemar announced the 12-year-old veteran of 31 starts would be retired.
Group 1 winner Reynaldothewizard, a Kentucky-bred Speightstown gelding, entered the gate March 31st for one final start at the top level. Seemar said after he trailed early in his previous race, the Dubawi Stakes Sponsored by Borealis (G3), his thoughts briefly turned to retiring him after that about-six furlong effort. He rallied to finish third, the 11th time he's placed in a group stakes at Meydan, and while he fell short of a fourth straight score in the Dubawi, he'd earned one final start.
While no storybook ending would follow, Reynaldothewizard posted plenty of memorable races. He began racing in the United States for Zabeel and trainer Eoin Harty, winning his debut and earning a placing in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) in his juvenile campaign. Racing in the U.S. at 3, he would fail to win a race in three starts.
A change in fortune would follow his move to Dubai, where at the then-new Meydan he would close out his sophomore campaign with a pair of handicap wins.
Still, his first stakes win would not come until 2013, when at age 7 he scored a four-length victory in the Mahab Al Shimaal Sponsored by Emirates Skywards (G3). That earned him a start in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, where he followed the biggest win of his career, scoring by a neck over Balmont Mast, in a field that included U.S. champion sprinter Trinniberg , who struggled on the synthetic surface.
In 2015, with Meydan switched to dirt, he would win the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint and his first of three consecutive Dubawi Stakes, the last of which would come as an 11-year-old. In 2018, he would finish third in both the Al Shindagha Sprint and Dubawi Stakes; even a wizard has only so much magic.
Reynaldothewizard earned 11 victories and seven other placings while banking over $2.2 million. He became a winner at an age when most Thoroughbreds would have been long retired. More importantly, he became a touchstone for local racing fans in Dubai, adding charm and heart to a city known mostly for excess.
Trainer Seemar said there was worldwide interest in serving as Reynaldo's retirement home. "He likes the sun," said Seemar, so hope grew among his stable staff that he would remain in Dubai. Horse people lobbied from California: "We have sun!" Asked about Old Friends in Georgetown, Seemar said that, yes, they had been in constant contact.
Seemar ultimately said his most likely new home will be the Darley retirement facility in England.
England is hardly sunny Dubai, too often dismal and rainy. But, as the land of Harry Potter and Hogwarts, it is used to its share of magic.