DRC Notes Vol. 38 | Dubai Racing Club News & Features | November 1, 2019



The best miler to race in front of the mighty Meydan Grandstand this season will look to cement himself as possibly the best dirt miler in the world on Saturday when $1.5 million Godolphin Mile (G2) champion Coal Front goes to post in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Trained by top American conditioner Todd Pletcher, the Bob LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners-owned son of Stay Thirsty defeated UAE stars Heavy Metal (second) and Muntazah (third) on Dubai World Cup night and will now take on the likes of multiple G1 winner Omaha Beach, Bob Baffert-trained upstart Improbable and Korean star Blue Chipper.

Since his Dubai triumph, the nearly black colt has had three starts. He was a disappointing seventh against three of the world’s top dirt horses—Mitole, McKinzie and Thunder Snow, who finished 1-2-3—in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park. Regrouping, he returned as the favourite in the Monmouth Cup (G3), but faltered to finish third in that 1800m race, which was likely beyond his scope. Last out, he returned to the 1600m trip and responded with a smart victory in the Parx Dirt Mile (Listed), setting him up for another stab at top-tier competition.

“He’s doing great at the moment,” Pletcher said. “We were delighted with his performance in Dubai. That was a big win for the whole team and a really fun win for the team. He was a little bit unlucky in the Met Mile. He drew the one-hole and came under a little bit of pressure, but I’m pleased with how he’s doing now. I hope he shows up and runs his best.”

Coal Front drew barrier seven of 10 in the field and is currently considered one of the top-four main players. He will go to stud after this season at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.

“He looks great and we’ve been fortunate this year that he’s been able to maintain a campaign, so we hope everything goes smoothly here,” Pletcher continued. “We hope to break well and get into a good position, which is key in a two-turn mile race. The post is okay, but it is risky if you get hung out. He’s traditionally been a pretty good gate horse.”

No horse has won the Godolphin Mile and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in the same season, though Tamarkuz won both races in separate years, taking the Godolphin Mile in 2015 and Dirt Mile in 2016.

Aside from Godolphin’s Old Persian, who was previously reported to be contesting the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), others with Meydan form who will be competing include:


Unplaced in the $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) when disappointing as two of the favorites, Bill Mott-trained Yoshida and Dallas Stewart-trained Seeking the Soul (pictured above) line up in the meeting’s richest affair, the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic over the same 2000m of the Dubai World Cup. Always a serious race leading to the Dubai World Cup, the Classic saw Gunnevera and Thunder Snow finish second and third in 2018 before finishing first and third in Dubai.


Two horses who ran very well in this year’s $6 million Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World, David O’Meara-trained Lord Glitters, who was a very game third to the mind-blowingly brilliant Almond Eye, and John and Tanya Gunther’s Without Parole, fifth, line up in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile over 1600m on turf. Ken Condon-conditioned Trais Fluors, formerly in the care of Andre Fabre, was 13th in the 2018 Dubai Turf astern Benbatl.


The second- and third-place finishers from the $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News (G1), Japanese sprinter Matera Sky (pictured above) and American ‘rocket’ Imperial Hint, will take on some of the fastest dirt horses in the world, including favorite Mitole and highly regarded 3-year-old Shancelot. The latter, trained by X Y Jet’s conditioner Jorge Navarro, is being considered for the 2020 Dubai Golden Shaheen.


The Peter Miller-trained pair of Belvoir Bay (pictured second from right) and Stormy Liberal (far right) will once again take on some of the best grass dashers on the planet when they go to post in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) over 1000m. Luckily this time they will not have to face Blue Point like they did when finishing second and third in the $2 million Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments, but they will meet a high-class field, including venerable star sprinter Pure Sensation, Royal Ascot alumnus Imprimis and UAE Derby also-ran Stubbins, who has found new life in turf sprints.
All in all, 12 runners with Meydan form will contest the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.