Updated on 09/17/2011 5:51PM

Our New Recruit never better


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Our New Recruit has thrived since traveling halfway around the world in March. He came back from a successful Dubai trip an improved horse, and on Saturday can win the second-richest race of his career in the $1,060,000 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Lone Star Park.

Our New Recruit's biggest win came this spring in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad al Sheba on the World Cup undercard.

"I think he's better than he was before he left," said John Sadler, who trains the Santa Anita-based Our New Recruit for the family of Lee and Susan Searing. "One of the reasons he's a little better is the time we gave him coming back from Dubai. It was probably a little longer than most of them. He just needed the time. He's a late-developing horse."

Sadler waited five months to bring Our New Recruit, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred, back to the races, and on Sept. 6 he ran the fastest six furlongs of the Del Mar meet when he captured the $75,000 Pirate's Bounty Handicap in 1:08.20. He defeated last year's Sprint runner-up, Bluesthestandard, in that race and earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 106.

Sadler chose the restricted Pirate's Bounty as a prep for the BC Sprint because of its 60-day spacing from the Breeders' Cup, which is the same amount of time between starts Our New Recruit had going into the Golden Shaheen.

Since the Pirate's Bounty, Our New Recruit has worked consecutive bullets at Santa Anita in his final preparation for the Sprint, going six furlongs around the dogs in 1:13 on Oct. 18, then the same distance in 1:12.20 on Sunday.

"He trains in bar shoes and then he switches to regular plates on raceday, which really makes those last couple of works exceptional," said Sadler.

Sadler started to put bar shoes on Our New Recruit's front feet in late 2003. "We had a lot of rain last winter and he got some quarter cracks," he said. "Actually, his feet are good now, but we keep the bar shoes on because he really does well in them.

"He's so big - when you look at him he doesn't look like he's 1,200 pounds because he's not that tall - but he is. So I think he pounds quite a bit. The bars give him a lot of support."

Bar shoes are made of steel, and most have a bar that extends across the heel portion of the horse's foot. The shoes offer protection and also displace the concussion on a landing foot better than regular racing plates; but they also are heavier than regular aluminum shoes. The bar also tends to trap dirt when a horse works, unlike a regular shoe that is open at the heel of the foot. It is harder for a horse to get hold of the track in bar shoes than in regular plates.

Our New Recruit is the latest in a long line of good sprinters trained by Sadler, who has won the Ancient Title, the top sprint stakes of Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet, three times - with Track Gal (1995), Frost Free (1991), and Olympic Prospect (1988). Sadler also trained Valiant Pete to victory over Quarter Horse champion Griswold in a 1991 match race at Santa Anita.

But Sadler does not liken Our New Recruit to any of his previous sprinters. "He's got something going for him that is going to help him here," he said. "A lot of the others were pure speed horses, and he's a little more versatile.

I think he's got a good style to win a big sprint stakes because he can actually come off the pace a little bit. He can stalk, whereas some of those horses, especially Olympic Prospect, were stone-cold lead horses."

Sadler would like to return to Dubai with Our New Recruit in 2005. But for now, all of his energies are focused on completing a Golden Shaheen-BC Sprint double on Saturday.