03/05/2013 5:38PM

Dubai: Little Mike and Dullahan set for local World Cup prep races

Barbara D. Livingston
Dullahan is one of two American horses set to run on the Super Saturday card.

For the first time since Curlin ran in the Jaguar Trophy Handicap on Feb. 28, 2008, major American horses will be racing in Dubai in advance of the Dubai World Cup program.

Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Little Mike and Pacific Classic winner Dullahan, both trained by Dale Romans, arrived in Dubai last weekend after shipping from Florida, and both horses will see action Saturday night at Meydan during an excellent renewal of the Super Saturday card, which is part of the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

The eight-race card (seven Thoroughbred, one Arabian) comprises preparatory races for stakes on World Cup night, and nearly all the best horses stabled in Dubai this winter are competing. That includes the two Americans, whose connections both have designs on the $10 million World Cup.

Dullahan, already a known, top-class commodity on synthetic surfaces, runs in the Group 3, $200,000 Burj Nahaar, which is contested around one turn at about one mile over Meydan’s Tapeta main track. Dullahan drew post 2 in a 14-horse field and will be ridden by Kieren Fallon. His chief opposition figures to come from two Godolphin runners: African Story, who won the 2012 Godolphin Mile on the World Cup program, and Moonwalk in Paris, a sharp course and distance winner of the Firebreak Stakes on Feb. 14 at Meydan.

[DUBAI SUPER SATURDAY: Get PPs, watch Saturday's Meydan card live]

Little Mike drew post 1 in a 13-horse edition of the Group 1, $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, a race at the World Cup distance of about 1 1/4 miles on Tapeta. Little Mike won three Grade 1 turf races last year, preceding his BC Turf score with wins in the Turf Classic at Churchill and the Arlington Million. Little Mike has never started on a synethetic surface of any type, and his performance Saturday will determine whether he gets a shot in the World Cup or is aimed at one of two rich turf races, the Sheema Classic over about 1 1/2 miles or the Duty Free at about 1 1/8 miles.

Little Mike’s opponents include a powerful duo of Godolphin runners in Monterosso and Hunters Light. Monterosso is set to make his first start of the winter in just his second race since he won the 2012 World Cup. Hunters Light ran out a sharp 3 1/4-length winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2.

The Jebel Hatta, a prep for the Duty Free, features a pair of Mike de Kock-trained runners with World Cup night aspirations, Igugu and The Apache, and the card also includes preps for the Sheema Classic, the Godolphin Mile, the Golden Shaheen, the Al Quoz Sprint, and the UAE Derby.

Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Don't know how Dale's horses will run this time, but will this help them on WC night? The answer to that will influence what American trainers do with their WC prospects hereafter. The Curlin example may not apply anymore, because when he went over early, they were still using the dirt track at Nad al Sheba. This will be the first test of this approach of acclimating the horses to Dubai and giving them a start in advance of the WC since the move to Meydan and Tapeta. I'm fascinated to see if it will give them an edge over Animal Kingdom.
Chris Butler More than 1 year ago
Did Dale Romans forget that Animal Kingdom was pointing for the Dubai World Cup? He must have or there is no way he would have sent two horses all the way to Dubai. After he realizes this Dale will probably run both Little Mike and Dullahan on the under card on World Cup night. Because there is no way Animal Kingdom can lose, right?
JW More than 1 year ago
What are you talking about? . . everyone of your questions and sentences make no sense . .
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
The prep is just that ! Thats not why they went over there...like souza, B C term
Richard More than 1 year ago
Dullahan should have a good chance on the synthetic track if he likes the Tapeta track. Keeneland and Del Mar are polytrack which are different. Well Armed was born in Kentucky and his sire was Tisnow. They bought him from the farm or auction and took him to the UAE which was where he was raised. He was a UAE horse. He raced a 1 ¼ mile race a month before The World Cup and won it, and then he went on to win The World Cup a month later. He was then brought to the U.S. and competed with Curlin and Tiego in 2009. I really think that horse might really go on the synthetics. Taking him there and racing him before the big race could turn out well for Dullahan just like it did for Well Armed!
Perl More than 1 year ago
Yeah Well Armed totally freaked at Nad Al-Sheba. That was something. Good day for Aaron Gryder!
Black More than 1 year ago
Well Armed lived at Santa Anita . He got drubbed there on a regular basis . He wasn't even in the top 6 horses on the grounds at SA . He ran 2nd one year in dubai and won the next year. In between he got beat up on regularly in California. If you think he lived primarily in dubai you're mistaken and its TiZnow not Tisnow. Look at his form and then try and say he's a dubai horse.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
The Pacific Classic winner Dullahan is the best American Synthetic horse that we have here in the US. With age , Dullahan will get better and better .... Good Luck Dullahan ( Dale Romans) and make us proud...
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
We have crappy synthetic horses obviously if you figure he's best.
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
I can see Little Mike being given a shot in Dubai but Dullahan ??? I don't think he is that good but then again he could prove me wrong but I doubt it and most likely we will be hearing that he brought up the rear. Little Mike will make a good impression or win the race, now he is one Classy Hombre and can't be over looked.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Dullahan is much better suited for a trip to Dubai than Little Mike is. I'm thinking Little Mike gets swallowed up in the long stretch. Then again, he has proven me wrong a zillion times so why not one more time?! Dullahan is obviously a freak on synthetic surfaces and he absolutely deserves a shot on Meydan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Little Mike has already beat 2 of the horses in the prep he is in Trailblazer and Treasure Beach
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Not on synthetic.
Kelly Frazier More than 1 year ago
If not for synthetics, Dullahan would be a 20,000 dollar claimer.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
really!! a horse that breaks the track record in the Gr1 PC? Ill be 1st in line to buy him ok?
Kelly Frazier More than 1 year ago
Again, PC was run on synthetics! This must be one of his 100 owners.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kelly go buy a horse that wins a GRADED race then talk
Gina Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Well I'm not one of his "100 owners" but would be more than happy to own a horse that could finish 3rd in the Kentucky Derby...or win the PC for that matter. Money won on a race run on synthetic spends just as nicely...lighten up!
Wathen More than 1 year ago
....and yet he stands to make millions on that surface !!! many Million Dollar Turf horses might be claimers also, but they DO RUN RACES on the Turf !!!.......bring that pile of money back to the States Dullahan !!!
BobbyPS11 More than 1 year ago
Not sure what the point is. Thats like saying if there were no turf courses, Cigar (...was beaten soundly on dirt nearly every time) would be a $10,000 claimer. Also, If not for the main track @ SA, Game On Dude would be a claimer. The $10M Dubai WC is run on Tapeta and THAT is precisely why Dullahan is entered. Many top horses only perform on one surface. If not for SA main track, Game on Dude would be a $10,000 claimer, he cant win anywhere else. And, and Dullahan beat G.O.D. at Del Mar
Perl More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude finished second in the Breeder's Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky. Pretty sure he'd be worth more than $10k without the SA main track.
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
Cigar was not a turf horse, his sire Palace Music produced several nice turf runners but Cigar wasn't one of them. His forte was the main track, over which he made several million dollars. John Henry on the other hand was a very modest claimer until introduced to the sod where his exploits are no famous. Ole Bob Bowers sure gave us a good one in John Henry.
Black More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude has 5 wins at tracks other than SA . He has several Gr I 2nds at other tracks as well. He got checks in the Preakness & Belmont . Cigar couldn't run a lick on grass. And just for your information Dullahan has never run on Tapeta ! So whats your point ?
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
re: Cigar, I'm sure you meant the opposite .
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Child please !!!!
Perl More than 1 year ago
Not sure what the point of your rant is. Dullahan did hit the board in the Kentucky Derby, so that should count for something. But yes, no shoot, he's a synth specialist. Tell us something we don't know.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
That's cold Kelly and not very warm either.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
What does that even mean? How about, "If not for grass, Frankel would be a 20,000 pound claimer!" So what? It doesn't mean anything.
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
Little Mike shows up and runs. Who knows if he handles the surface though?
Adam Levy More than 1 year ago
Dullahan finishes a Dull 3rd at the best going 1 turn
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Yeah, he may need this one. Don't know if he'll be sharp enough for mile off the layoff. But it should set him up.