Following a six-length score in the Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park Feb. 27, Mystic Guide is pointed toward the $12 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) at Meydan March 27, trainer Mike Stidham said.
The dual graded winner’s presence gives Godolphin a promising American-trained candidate for the rich race. Godolphin was founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and creator of the Dubai World Cup.
“It was always something that was in the back of our minds, and we were waiting for his first race as a 4-year-old, just to see where we were with him. He was doing everything right in the morning, but you don’t know until you run,” Stidham said March 3 via telephone from his primary training base at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. “We waited to talk seriously about going to Dubai, and it just makes sense to go over there for a race like that.”
Daily Racing Form first reported Mystic Guide was headed to the Dubai World Cup.
Stidham believes Luis Saez, who rode the Ghostzapper colt to victory in the Razorback, will be able to ride. He said Saez’s agent Kiaran McLaughlin told him Wednesday morning that COVID-19 protocols upon the rider’s return to the U.S. have been clarified and that should now allow him to be tested days after the Dubai World Cup and to ride opening weekend at Keeneland in early April.
Mystic Guide, an improving 3-year-old last summer and fall, won the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course and was second to Happy Saver in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park to close out his sophomore campaign. The Razorback was his first race since the Oct. 10 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Stidham liked the speed figure he earned.
Video: Razorback H. (G3)
“It looks like with the kind of number he ran the other day, if he could come anywhere near that or close to that, it should make him very competitive in this race as it is shaping up thus far,” Stidham said of the Dubai World Cup.
Mystic Guide ran a career-best 115 Equibase Speed Figure in the Razorback following respective figures of 108 and 104 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Jim Dandy.
Stidham said his trainee would fly from Louisiana to South Florida March 15, and would then travel to Dubai a couple of days later.
Mystic Guide is one of at least three top-class runners Stidham hopes to run in graded stakes races this month for Godolphin, the others being Micheline and Proxy. Micheline is scheduled to make her seasonal debut in the $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes (G2T) March 6 at Tampa Bay Downs, and Proxy is preparing for the $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) March 20 at Fair Grounds.
Proxy, runner-up in the Lecomte Stakes (G3) and Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2), worked a bullet half-mile in :47 in company Feb. 26 at Fair Grounds when equipped with blinkers. He has not yet raced with blinkers, but after a Risen Star performance in which the colt did not maintain focus throughout, Stidham said he is “leaning toward” an equipment change in the Louisiana Derby.