Mubtaahij prior to the 2018 Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse

Mubtaahij prior to the 2018 Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse

Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club

Mubtaahij Returns in Lone Star Park Handicap

Son of Dubawi finished third in the March 31 Dubai World Cup in his last effort.

While trainer Bob Baffert has his hands full with Triple Crown contender Justify gearing up for the Belmont Stakes, he will first send out the 6-year-old, grade 1 winner Mubtaahij in the $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) May 27.

In his first start since placing third behind Thunder Snow and West Coast in the Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1) March 31, Mubtaahij has been dubbed the morning-line, even-money favorite for the 1 1/6-mile race at Lone Star Park.

Four other older horses are entered, including the May 6 Steve Sexton Mile Stakes (G3) third-place finisher Shotgun Kowboy and the April 21 Charles Town Classic Stakes (G2) third-place finisher Fear the Cowboy, who has been made the second choice.

Mubtaahij, who began his racing career at 2 at Newmarket and Meydan Racecourse, won the U.A.E. Derby Sponsored By Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) prior to taking on the 2015 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and the Belmont Stakes presented by DraftKings (G1) under the care of trainer Michael de Kock. 

Although he finished off the board in both of those efforts, a year later he returned to Meydan, where he had won four out of five starts and placed second in the fifth, to finish second to California Chrome  in the 2016 Dubai World Cup.

Returning stateside and transferred to the care of Kiaran McLaughlin, the son of Dubawi earned a top-level placing in New York but did not come up with a win. After trying the Dubai World Cup again in 2017 with de Kock and finishing fourth behind Arrogate , Mubtaahij was transferred to Baffert. He was not seen again until September, when he ran to a 1 1/2-length score over Midnight Storm  in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1). However, after an eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and placings in his next four starts, he has not scored since.

Mubtaahij will team with Mike Smith from the rail in an attempt to get back to winning ways.

Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti's Fear the Cowboy will have his work cut out for him to beat the likes of Mubtaahij. The Cowboy Cal ridgling has not won since December, when he took the Harlan's Holiday Stakes (G3) by 2 1/4 lengths. 

That effort prompted his connections to take a run at the Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1), where he finished a respectable fourth behind Horse of the Year Gun Runner , West Coast, and Kentucky Derby contender Gunnevera. Aside from his April 21 third in the Charles Town Classic, he also finished third in the March 10 Santa Anita Handicap Presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino (G1).

Luis Negron has the call aboard Fear the Cowboy from post 4.

Owner/trainer C.R. Trout brings Shotgun Kowboy into the mix, but the 6-year-old Kodiak Kowboy gelding will need to step up from his current form to best the others. His last-out effort was an improvement at the graded level, although he has won at the allowance level twice this year. He has not repeated at this level since winning the 2015 Oklahoma Derby (G3) at 3.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer might opt to run South American group 1 winner Full of Luck at Santa Anita Park May 26, while trainer Steve Asmussen brings longshot 4-year-old colt South Beach, a $1.8 million purchase from the Fasig-Tipton March sale, to round out the field.

Entries: Lone Star Park H. (G3)

Lone Star Park, Sunday, May 27, 2018, Race 9

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 6:42 PM (local)
11Mubtaahij (IRE)Mike E. Smith124Bob Baffert1/1
22Full of Luck (CHI)Flavien Prat121Jerry Hollendorfer7/2
33Shotgun Kowboy (OK)Luis S. Quinonez118C. R. Trout6/1
44Fear the Cowboy (KY)Luis Negron121Efren Loza, Jr.5/2
55South Beach (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateIram Vargas Diego113Steven M. Asmussen20/1