03/17/2009 12:00AM

U.S.-based horses make their way to Dubai


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Mark Hennig was not sure what he was going to do next with Red Rocks - until he got an offer he could not refuse to send his Grade 1 winner to Dubai for the $5 million Sheema Classic on March 28.

Red Rocks was one of five south Florida-based horses who boarded a flight late Tuesday afternoon for Dubai to compete on the rich World Cup card. He was joined on the trip by the Rick Dutrow-trained pair of Kip Deville and Arson Squad, plus Albertus Maximus and Anak Nakal.

Red Rocks, winner of the Grade 1 Man o' War last summer at Belmont Park, was not originally on the invitation list for the Sheema Classic.

"We received the invitation just last week," said Hennig, who trains Red Rocks for owner John Paul Reddam. "We really hadn't requested an invitation, but it works out well for us, because at the moment I didn't have any plans to run him right now. The only option would have been the Pan Am here this weekend at Gulfstream, but I really didn't want to run him over that turf course. It's just been too hard, and he seems to like a little more give in the ground. So it was either go to Dubai or wait another six to eight weeks before starting him again."

Hennig said Red Rocks worked a mile in 1:45 at Payson Park on Saturday. He'll be ridden in the Sheema Classic by Javier Castellano.

Dutrow sent out his two Dubai-bound runners, Kip Deville and Arson Squad, to work early Tuesday prior to boarding for the long flight to the Middle East. The pair went six furlongs, with Arson Squad going in 1:14.20 and Kip Deville timed in 1:14.80. Edgar Prado was aboard Arson Squad, with Kip Deville put through his paces by regular rider Cornelio Velasquez.

"They both went well," Dutrow said. "I'm very happy with the way both horses are doing at the moment."

Kip Deville, who'll run in the $5 million Duty Free, is coming off a victory in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf. Arson Squad will compete in the Godolphin Mile.

Both Albertus Maximus, winner of the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in his most recent start, and Anak Nakal will compete in the main event, the $6 million Dubai World Cup.

On the West Coast, seven horses were set to fly to Dubai on Tuesday, including a three-horse contingent for the $2 million Golden Shaheen sprint: Black Seventeen, Machismo, and 2008 female sprint champion Indian Blessing, who blazed five furlongs in 59 seconds at Santa Anita on Saturday for trainer Bob Baffert.

World Cup hopeful Well Armed also worked at Santa Anita over the weekend, getting seven furlongs in 1:26.40 on Sunday. And on Monday, Hyperbaric turned in a 59-second bullet going five furlongs at Santa Anita to tune up for the Duty Free. Marsh Side (Sheema Classic) and Informed (Godolphin Mile) round out the U.S. invaders.