03/09/2011 5:37PM

Chamberlain Bridge won't travel to Dubai for Al Quoz Sprint

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge has been unable to find suitable travel arrangements to Dubai for the $1 milliion Al Quoz Sprint.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge probably would have been favored to win the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on the March 26 Dubai World Cup card, but trainer Bret Calhoun said that the Dubai race, long considered a goal for Chamberlain Bridge, had been called off.

“He is not going to Dubai,” Calhoun said Monday. “Mainly, it’s just because of shipping arrangements.”

American horses traveling to Dubai are flying out of Miami next week, and a plane from California will carry the West Coast Dubai-bound contingent there on March 15. But being based in Louisiana has complicated shipping arrangements for Chamberlain Bridge. Calhoun said his options for getting Chamberlain Bridge to Miami all were unappealing.

“I didn’t think any of that was fair to the horse,” Calhoun said. “I didn’t realize until Sunday before last when I was sent my itinerary of options, that it was going to be like that. We were on the fence, trying to see if we could work out any other arrangements, and we weren’t able to.”

Calhoun said that “unrest in the Middle East” played a minor part in the decision to remain in the U.S. There have been no reported pro-democracy demonstrations in the United Arab Emirates, but protests have taken place in neighboring Oman and, on a larger scale, in nearby Bahrain.

Absent the Dubai trip, Chamberlain Bridge will follow a schedule similar to his campaign in 2010, Calhoun said. Chamberlain Bridge, who won the $70,000 Rail Splitter on Feb. 12 at Sam Houston, started in turf sprint stakes at Keeneland and Churchill last spring, and could so again this year, with a defense of his BC Turf Sprint crown an obvious long-term goal.