Mshawish Earns Trip to Dubai After Donn Victory
February 07, 2016 08:44am
An impressive and rare Grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt thanks to his victory in Saturday’s $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1), Al Shaqab Racing’s Mshawish has given his connections plenty to think about when it comes to his next start.

The 6-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro will run next on the Dubai World Cup card March 26 at Meydan, where he finished third in the $6 million Dubai Turf last year. The $10 million World Cup, contested on dirt, is also an option.

“I’ll talk to Brad Weisbord and Harry Herbert and all the guys at Al Shaqab but I would think the World Cup would be very, very high on the radar,” Pletcher said. “I think everyone’s initial impression right after the race was to hopefully go to the World Cup, but we’ll assess everything like how he comes out of it and how he trains. Right now the plan is hopefully to go forward to the World Cup.”

Winner of the Gulfstream Park  Turf Handicap (G1) last winter, Mshawish joined an exclusive club in the Donn, where he got a perfect ground-saving trip under Hall of Famer John Velazquez before taking command at the top of the stretch and pulled clear to a two-length victory.

“In an ideal world that’s the way we saw it, but as you know sometimes the gates open and the horses that you aren’t giving instructions to don’t do what you expect them to do,” Pletcher said. “In this case they did, and Johnny was able to tuck in behind them and he relaxed doing that. It was perfect from there.”

The Donn was Mshawish’s third race since being switched to the dirt for the Cigar Mile (G1) Nov. 28 at Aqueduct, where he was fourth by 1 ¼ lengths. It was enough to earn another try in the Hal’s Hope (G3) Jan. 9 at Gulfstream, resulting in a thrilling neck victory over Valid, who was also second in the Donn.

“Finally you just have to make the decision and do it. Timing-wise last year we talked about doing it, but he was winning races on the turf and he’s winning a Grade 1 on the turf and then he went to Dubai and ran really well. The one thing we kept talking about is the horse is really impressive on the dirt, so when the opportunity comes up we’re going to do it,” Pletcher said. “With the Breeders’ Cup being over and him having a little freshening, we thought the Cigar Mile would be the right place to try it. I think we learned something that day and came out of that better. Coming into the last two races he’s trained as well as he ever has and seemed to be in really good form.”

Pletcher also plans to examine all options for Tommy Macho and Stanford, who ran 1-2 in the $100,000 Fred Hooper (G3) Saturday.

“I thought both of them ran very well and we’ll kind of assess things,” he said. “I think both horses are in a position to potentially come back at a mile or even run further. We’ll kind of survey the whole scene and see what makes the most sense.”

Pletcher indicated that Al Shaqab’s Sandiva, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf, is expected to make her dirt debut in the $200,000 Royal Delta (G2) Saturday at Gulfstream.

Source: Gulfstream Park


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