12/29/2009 12:00AM

Have passport will travel

Barbara D. Livingston
California Flag, who won the Breeders? Cup Turf Sprint, recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong and is being readied for a shot in the Al Quoz Sprint on the Dubai World Cup card.

ARCADIA, Calif. - California Flag, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November, has returned to California following a fifth-place finish in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint earlier this month, but will be back on the road in early 2010.

Trainer Brian Koriner is planning another international trip, to the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on turf on the Dubai World Cup undercard on March 27.

The Al Quoz Sprint will be run over six furlongs, slightly shorter than the BC Turf Sprint, which was run over about 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's hillside turf course.

There was some speculation that the Al Quoz Sprint would be worth $2 million, but the Dubai organizers plan to offer the turf race in addition to a $2 million sprint on the main track, the long-standing Golden Shaheen.

"We only get to run for $1 million," Koriner said.

Owned by Keith Card, California Flag finished 1 3/4 lengths behind Sacred Kingdom in the Hong Kong Sprint. He fought for the early lead with the Japanese longshot Laurel Guerreiro and faded in the final yards.

"He ran his race," Koriner said. "The speed duel early on took its toll."

California Flag returned to Koriner's stable last week.

"He lost some weight, but he'll bounce back fast," Koriner said. "We've got a long way until March. Hopefully, there is a prep at the end of February. If not, we'll go right there with no prep."