T M Fred Texas became the first winner of an Arabian race at the world-famous home of the Kentucky Derby when he drew past Dixies Valentine down the stretch to win the Grade I, $52,500 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup by 9 ¼ lengths on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
The President of the United Arab Emirates Cup was made possible due to a one-year partnership between Churchill Downs, United Arab Emirates capital city Abu Dhabi and the Emirates Equestrian Federation. The race was one of five stakes races on the 12-race Stephen Foster Day program, which was presented by Abu Dhabi.
T M Fred Texas, a 4-year-old Texas-bred son of Burning Sand, ran 1 ¼ miles over a track rated “sloppy” due to heavy overnight thunderstorms and showers. Santos Chavez rode the winner for owner Sam Vasquez and trainer Ron Martino.
“Everyone has been saying that horses by (sire) Burning Sand can’t go long, but we proved them wrong today,” Martino said. “I was never concerned about the distance.”
The gray gelding banked $31,500 for the triumph and improved his record to six wins and one second from eight starts. He’s earned $79,605.
Dixies Valentine, the 3-1 second wagering choice under Calvin Borel, and 3-5 favorite Grilla, ridden by Bill Hollick, set the early pace and took the field through early fractions of :25.32 and :51.95 and 1:19.79. T M Fred Texas, who was untested beyond one mile, rated about six lengths back in third along the inside before commencing his winning move from the outside. He caught the leaders while entering the far turn, poked his head in front of Dixies Valentine at the head of the stretch as Grilla faded and inched clear down the lane.
T M Fred Texas paid $12.20, $5.40 and $3.40. Dixies Valentine returned $4.40 and $3.20. Ovour the Top, under leading rider Corey Lanerie, was another 16 ½ lengths back in third and paid $4. Grilla, Crownn Royal, Vip, Wodkka and Another Color completed the order of finish in a strung out field of eight purse-bred Arabians.
The President of the UAE Cup Series was established 20 years ago to promote and celebrate the Arabian breed internationally. It was the first international racing series for Arabian horses and continues to be considered as the world’s premier racing series for the breed.
“This was awesome,” Martino said. “We thank Churchill Downs for allowing us to run here. It means a lot to our industry. Hopefully we can run here again.”
PRESIDENT OF UNITED ARAB EMIRATES CUP QUOTES
Santos Chavez, jockey of T M Fred Texas (winner): “I did what (trainer) Mr. (Ron) Martino told me to do. He told me to lay off the pace and then make one run and be sure to get keep him (T M Fred Texas) focused when we made the lead.
“It’s very nice to be the jockey of the winning horse in the first Arabian race at Churchill Downs. I want to thank Mr. Martino and the owners (Sam Vasquez) for giving me the opportunity to ride him.”
Ron Martino, trainer of T M Fred Texas (winner): “The race went how I thought it would go. We had speed, but we elected to go off the pace today and it worked. Also, it’s a long stretch here and I thought that would help us. Everyone has been saying that horses by Burning Sand (sire) can’t go long, but we proved them wrong today. I was never concerned about the distance (1 ¼ miles).
“This was awesome. We thank Churchill Downs for allowing us to run here. It means a lot to our industry. Hopefully we can run here again.”