Friday, March 1, 2024

Saudi Cup: Taiba draws post 2, Country Grammer 10

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Taiba drew post position 2 for Saturday’s Group 1, $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, and stablemate Country Grammer drew post 10.

Both of the U.S. entries are trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

Country Grammer was runner-up in this race last year to Emblem Road and won the Dubai World Cup (G1) next out. He will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who also rode the 6-year-old to a 4 1/2-length win in the Dec. 26 San Antonio (G2). Emblem Road drew the No. 8 slot for this year’s edition.

Taiba is coming off a 4 1/2-length win in the Dec. 26 Malibu (G1) after he finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He will be ridden by Mike Smith, who has been aboard for all but one of his seven career starts.

Speaking to the Saudi Cup media team about Country Grammer, Baffert said, “He had the rail last year, it didn’t bother him at all. Frankie Dettori knows the horse really well, I’m lucky to have two Hall of Fame jockeys.”

Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes said during the draw program that with Country Grammer last year, “we were coming over here off a layoff. This year, the horse had been racing, and we really believe this will be our year.”

Asked whether Country Grammer will benefit from shipping before, Barnes said, “Well, he does handle everything well, and I think what really helps him is he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse. We kind of think that’s what you need over here to win this mile-and-an-eighth race.”

On Taiba, Baffert said, “I think it’s good to have a speed horse inside of him,” referring to Panthalassa. “He likes company, to run with another horse to get him into the race.”

Barnes said Taiba can be expected to improve on his sophomore season.

“We really believe that this horse is coming into his 4-year-old year,” he said. “He’s matured and has handled the ship over here very well. He has traveled in the states, but this is a longer ship. But coming is in excellent shape.”

The Baffert duo returned to the dirt track after a couple of easy days recovering from their Monday morning breezes.

Barnes remained confident in their condition, as his barn seeks to do one better than its runner-up efforts in the past two editions.

“They’re looking great,” Barnes told the media team. “All was very good today, as we just took them out to stand in the gate and then galloped a mile-and-a-quarter.”

Post Silks Horse / Sire Rating Trainer / Jockey Last Start / Next Start HRN
1 Cafe Pharoah

American Pharoah

7.24

Noriyuki Hori

Joao Moreira

1st, 2022 Mile Championship Nanbu Hai G1

Entered

Last Race

1st, 2022 Mile Championship Nanbu Hai G1

10 Horse Silk Taiba Taiba

Gun Runner

7.97

Bob Baffert

Mike E. Smith

1st, 2022 Malibu G1

Entered

Last Race

1st, 2022 Malibu G1

11 Horse Silk Vin De Garde Vin De Garde

Deep Impact

0.00

Hideaki Fujiwara

Mickael Barzalona

15th, 2022 Yasuda Kinen G1

Entered

Last Race

15th, 2022 Yasuda Kinen G1

12 Horse Silk Lagertha Rhyme Lagertha Rhyme

Gutaifan

5.34

Naif Almandeel

Ricardo Ferreira

2nd, 2023 Gulf Cup

Entered

Last Race

2nd, 2023 Gulf Cup

13 Horse Silk Sunset Flash Sunset Flash

Mayson

0.00

Naif Almandeel

Aseel Alsarhani

1st, 2023 Gulf Cup

Entered

Last Race

1st, 2023 Gulf Cup

2 Horse Silk Country Grammer Country Grammer

Tonalist

8.00

Bob Baffert

Frankie Dettori

1st, 2022 San Antonio Stakes G2

Entered

Last Race

1st, 2022 San Antonio Stakes G2

3 Horse Silk Crown Pride Crown Pride

Reach the Crown

6.68

Koichi Shintani

Damian Lane

2nd, 2022 Champions Cup G1

Entered

Last Race

2nd, 2022 Champions Cup G1

4 Horse Silk Emblem Road Emblem Road

Quality Road

7.09

Mitab Almulawah

Alexis Moreno

1st, Kaa Allow (1/13/23-R1)

Entered

Last Race

1st, Kaa Allow (1/13/23-R1)

5 Horse Silk Geoglyph Geoglyph

Drefong

6.34

Tetsuya Kimura

Christophe Patrice Lemaire

6th, 2022 Hong Kong Cup G1

Entered

Last Race

6th, 2022 Hong Kong Cup G1

6 Horse Silk Jun Light Bolt Jun Light Bolt

King Kamehameha

0.00

Yasuo Tomomichi

Ryan Moore

1st, 2022 Champions Cup G1

Entered

Last Race

1st, 2022 Champions Cup G1

7 Horse Silk Panthalassa Panthalassa

Lord Kanaloa

6.16

Yoshito Yahagi

Yutaka Yoshida

10th, 2022 Hong Kong Cup G1

Entered

Last Race

10th, 2022 Hong Kong Cup G1

8 Horse Silk Remorse Remorse

Dubawi

0.00

Bhupat Seemar

Tadhg O’Shea

3rd, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2 G2

Entered

Last Race

3rd, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2 G2

9 Horse Silk Scotland Yard Scotland Yard

Quality Road

0.00

Mitab Almulawah

Victor Gutierrez

1st, 2023 The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup

Entered

Last Race

1st, 2023 The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup

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