The $100,000 President of the UAE Cup (GI) will mark the fifth time since 2011 that a race for purebred Arabian 4-years-old and up – the world’s most ancient breed of equines – will be run beneath Churchill Downs’ world-famous Twin Spires.
Last year, Quarter Moon Ranch LLC’s Paddys Day defeated Thess Is Awesome by 8 ¼ lengths and clocked 1 1/16 miles in a stakes record 1:53.49 as Calvin Borel rode the winner for owner/trainer Scott Powell en route to his second Arabian Horse of the Year title.
The 6-year-old Texas-bred son of Burning Sand is one of the most accomplished horses in American Arabian racing history, having won 22 of his 32 starts, with seven seconds and no thirds, and banking an American Arabian record $485,346. He hasn’t finished worse than second in the United States in nearly three years (Oct. 18, 2014), and has been favored in all but three of his American starts.
Paddys Day, who’ll be ridden Saturday by Keiber Coa, will attempt to win his fifth Grade I event of this year and eighth overall. The bay Arabian rolled to a 5 ½-length win in his last start on Sept. 4, the $50,000 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (GI) over one mile at Monmouth Park, to sweep all three legs of that breed’s Triple Jewel Series.
Betty J. and Joseph A. Gillis’ 5-year-old gray Easter Man (19-9-7-2—$188,965) appears to be Paddys Day’s stiffest competition. The Mississippi-bred son of Burning Sand handed Paddys Day his only two losses this year in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Delaware Park on July 24 and the 1 ¼-mile Delaware Park Arabian Classic Handicap (GI) on Aug. 19. Trained by Jerenesto Torrez, Easter Man hasn’t raced since his 9-2 upset over Paddys Day one month ago.
The complete field (with jockeys and assigned weight): Kao Maloan SWA (Borel, 121 pounds); Sand Victor (Alex Canchari, 123); Thess Is Awesome (Corey Lanerie, 123); Quick And Rich (Joe Rocco Jr., 121); Risky Red (Robert Paz, 118); Raineing Sand (Florent Geroux, 121); Lil Dude AA (Miguel Mena, 121); Paddys Day (Coa, 123); and Easter Man (Carol Cedeno, 123).
Post time for the President of the UAE Cup, which goes as Race 10 of 11, is 10:42 p.m. The race will be televised live in the United Arab Emirates on the Abu Dhabi Sports Channel.