02/02/2011 3:20PM

Sheikh buys interest in Morning Line with eye to World Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum bought part of Morning Line because he's looking for a World Cup horse, said his racing manager.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum, who races under the nom de course of Zabeel Racing, has purchased an interest in Morning Line from Thoroughbred Racing Legends Stable. Morning Line, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, figures to be among the favorites in Saturday’s Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

“We’re looking for a World Cup horse,” said Omar Trevino, racing manager for Zabeel Racing. “Morning Line was very good at the end of his 3-year-old campaign, and from looking at his pedigree, we don’t think he’s a miler. He has speed, which we love, but we’re hoping he will go a route of ground, and if he runs well in the Donn we plan to bring him to Dubai for the World Cup.”

Morning Line, a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, has won 3 of 8 starts for trainer Nick Zito, including the nine-furlong, Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby before his setback at the hands of Dakota Phone in the Dirt Mile. Morning Line opened his 2011 campaign finishing third as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope on Jan. 8.

Morning Line is one of two horses Zito will run in the $500,000 Donn along with Fly Down. A field of nine was drawn for the race with Morning Line getting post position 3 and Fly Down to break from post 6. Fly Down will carry high weight of 122 pounds including Julien Leparoux. Morning Line totes 119 pounds with John Velazquez. The remainder of the field, in post position order, includes I Want Revenge, 117, Ramon Dominguez; Hear Ye Hear Ye, 113, Jeffrey Sanchez; Giant Oak, 118, Shaun Bridgmohan; Eldaafer, 118, Edgar Prado; Square Eddie, 116, Corey Nakatani; Rule, 119, Javier Castellano; and Ron The Greek, 116, Jose Lezcano.

I Want Revenge, who is still seeking his first win since capturing the Grade 1 Wood nearly two years ago, worked an easy half-mile in 47.72 seconds under exercise rider Michelle Nevin here Wednesday.

The Donn is one of two Grade 1 races on Saturday's card along with the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. A field of only eight turf specialists was drawn for the Gulfstream Park Turf led by Little Mike, upset winner of the Grade 3 Ft. Lauderdale earlier in the session.

Battle of Hastings, who finished a troubled sixth as the tepid favorite in the Ft. Lauderdale, will carry high weight of 120 pounds and will be joined in the starting gate by Get Stormy, Smart Bid, Justaroundmidnight, Sal The Barber, Teaks North, and Twilight Meteor.

Saturday's program also features a third graded stakes, the Grade 3, $150,000 Suwannee River, which lured 11 fillies and mares, including one also-eligible to go 1 1/8 miles on the grass. A promising field of 3-year-olds led by Casper's Touch will square off at 1 1/8-miles mile and one eighth under first-level allowance conditions in the third race.