03/31/2016 10:29AM

De Kock sends Mubtaahij, Vale Dori to U.S. trainers

Barbara D. Livingston\
Mubtaahij finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes last year.

Mike de Kock, who trains in South Africa, Dubai, and England, is sending two of his best dirt horses, the 4-year-old Mubtaahij and Vale Dori, a 4-year-old filly on Northern Hemisphere time, to U.S. trainers for summer campaigns. Mubtaahij goes to Kiaran McLaughlin and Vale Dori to Bob Baffert.

Mubtaahij came to the U.S. under de Kock’s training last year to finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Belmont Stakes, and after the colt stepped forward from his previous form this winter to run second to California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup last weekend, de Kock said he was keen on trying to win a Grade 1 on dirt in the U.S. with Mubtaahij, though he was not eager to face California Chrome again.

But de Kock said he’s already stretched thin by training on so many fronts, and therefore the decision with owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum was made to transfer the two horses to American trainers.

Vale Dori, an Argentine-bred, finished second to Polar River in the UAE Oaks but was fifth last weekend in the UAE Derby. The second-place finisher in that race, Polar River, had previously been considered for a U.S. trip this spring or summer, but trainer Doug Watson said Saturday night at Meydan that Polar River would not be coming.