02/05/2013 1:14PM

Dubai: Alpha heads Godolphin's strong team on Maktoum Challenge card

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Barbara D. Livingston
A start in the Maktoum Challenge puts Alpha closer to an appearance in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 30.

Alpha, who finished in a dead heat for first in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga last August, makes his Dubai debut in Thursday’s $250,000 Round Two of the Maktoum Challenge at Meydan Racecourse.

Owned by Godolphin Racing, Alpha has not started since finishing last of 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. A start in the Maktoum Challenge puts Alpha closer to an appearance in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 30. A winner of 5 of 11 starts and $1,270,000, Alpha was 12th in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, but rebounded to win the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga as a prep for the Travers.

The Maktoum Challenge is run over about 1 3/16 miles on the Tapeta Footings synthetic track. The race drew a field of 12. Alpha will be ridden by William Buick for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor. Kiaran McLaughlin trained Alpha in the United States.

Godolphin has a deep team in Thursday’s Maktoum Challenge, also starting top contenders such as Saint Baudolino, who was second in the 2012 French Derby and won the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Deauville last August, and Hunter’s Light, who won the Group 1 Premio Roma at Capannelle, Italy, last November.

Michael de Kock, the prominent South African trainer, runs Await the Dawn, who won the 2011 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, but was seventh in the BC Turf at Churchill Downs that year. Await the Dawn has not started since finishing last of 15 in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Meydan last March.

Two in the field started in the Dubai World Cup last year – Prince Bishop was seventh and Mendip was 11th, having won Round Two of the Maktoum Challenge in February 2012. Mendip has not started since the 2012 Dubai World Cup.

Earlier on the Meydan program, Music Chart can win the first major stakes of the year for 3-year-old fillies in Dubai, the $250,000 United Arab Emirates 1000 Guineas.

A Kentucky-bred by Exchange Rate who was purchased for $230,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale in 2011, Music Chart is part of a field of 10 in the UAE 1000 Guineas, which is run over about a mile on the synthetic track.

Shuruq and More than Sotka, second and third behind Music Chart in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial last month, are part of Thursday’s field.

russell More than 1 year ago
Michael- You get this perverse logic where? I can name you more 3 year-olds that didn't improve than those that did. The fact that Golden Ticket ran slower than 3 year-olds last week doesnt bode well for this horse. I love the trainer, not the horse.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Alpha is not a serious contender in any decent race with euros in it.i agree that the travers was a joke.this was a 2nd tier 3yo as best.if he gets bet I would bet against him with both hands.
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
No... Alpha doesn't figure. 3 year olds don't imprive when they turn 4. I love you guys. WHO BEAT WHO and other stupid notions fly around here like it is gospel. Will Alpha win? I didn't see the PP's, but I can guarantee you he is a better horse than the Travers by 4-7 lenghts. Just the normal progression of things...............
John More than 1 year ago
Sorry guys, Im from the West Coast, but I never knew Alpha was considered a East Coast "big horse " Im thinking more of the likes of Mucho Macho Man or Animal Kingdom, or Ft Larned, how did Alpha become a horse for a prestigious race like this ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Because his owners Run Dubai Racing, and Dubai.. They can do what they want..lol. Godolphin = Dubai.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alpha is a nothing horse. The Travers was a joke. That race was an overnight masquerading as a grade 1.
mrm More than 1 year ago
Probably the only race he can win at this point....a staged one by his owner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He won't win this challenge. He will be soundly beat by his stable mate Saint Baudolino. I would place Alpha in the 4-5th spot...
Joyce Johnson Groome More than 1 year ago
The fact that Godolphin owns him is why he's running there, which I totally get. But I don't think he has a shot! He obviously liked Saratoga but has showed nothing since the Travers! I say this horse's only chance is being shipped back to New York and left there!
russell More than 1 year ago
Good luck with this horse.
avlamal More than 1 year ago
alpha come on ez winner
NicoleProulx510 More than 1 year ago
I love how I mentioned this on twitter yesterday, when no one really knew about it, it got retweeted And all the sites like drf and bloodhorse posted it today just saying its ironic. Of course it is their jobs and they were going to anyway!
Tim More than 1 year ago
and anyone cares?
NicoleProulx510 More than 1 year ago
i just found it ironic dont need to be a jerk
Tim More than 1 year ago
If you follow racing and Dubai you would have Know this in December when Kiarian annonced it. It was also mentioned last thursday by ATR (at the races).. Most posts on drf comments are garbage and have no revelance to racing like your post did.. oh oh oh oh but teacher i had my hand up first.. LMAO
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
God your stupid Tim.