03/23/2017 2:20PM

Mind Your Biscuits has one major hurdle to overcome

Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club
Mind Your Biscuits must overcome post 14 in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Dubai Golden Shaheen is not supposed to be a handicap, but it kind of worked out that way. The best horse in the race, Mind Your Biscuits, was saddled with post 14 for the dirt race over 1,200 meters, or about six furlongs.

“It’s not what we would have chosen,” said trainer Chad Summers.

If Mind Your Biscuits can overcome the draw, he’ll give Summers his first win as a head trainer in a Group 1, $2 million stakes race. Summers has worked in racing publicity, in various capacities on the backstretch, and as a bloodstock agent. He is a co-owner of Mind Your Biscuits, a horse he selected for purchase as a yearling, and took over Mind Your Biscuits’s training earlier this year.

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In his one start for Summers, Mind Your Biscuits rallied strongly to finish second by a neck in the Gulfstream Park Sprint to the good horse Unified. Had the race been run at Meydan, where the homestretch is much longer, Mind Your Biscuits would have won.

Prior to that start, Mind Your Biscuits had been third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and won the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita.

Mind Your Biscuits turned a corner when he began racing without blinkers last summer; he appears to be for real.

“We’re thrilled right now, sitting on go,” Summers said.

The Shaheen, when it has been run on dirt, historically has been dominated by Americans, and there are two more this year, Stallwalkin’ Dude and St. Joe Bay. Stallwalkin’ Dude is a 7-year-old with 50 starts and an iron constitution: He ran 11 times in 2016 and already has raced twice this year. He also has a tough draw on the rail and looked better training earlier this week than later.

The 5-year-old St. Joe Bay might be a more serious contender. His three-race winning streak in California includes two graded stakes, but the competition in those races was not strong for the class level, as the American dirt-sprint ranks have become oddly barren lately. St. Joe Bay has battled for the lead on a fast pace and drawn clear in all three of those wins and is in career-best form.

“He always trained like he had this in him, but until we consistently sprinted him, we could never seem to find his niche,” said trainer Peter Miller. “He’s probably the fastest horse in the race. I don’t think anyone else has 21-and-2 first-quarter speed like him.”

Muarrab won the Shaheen last year but has not looked like the same animal this winter, and among the local contingent, perhaps the American expatriate Cool Cowboy has the best chance. On international ratings, the top horse is Hong Kong’s Not Listenin’tome, and while he never has raced on dirt, he has an excellent trainer in John Moore and looked energetic while training on dirt late this week.