The champion sire and most expensive horse in North America will be represented by an eclectic trio on Dubai World Cup day, and it’s possible by next week that all the chatter will be about Tapit again because one, two, or all three could win.
Frosted is Tapit’s main chance, and he’s the most straightforward of the three on form and development. He goes in the main event itself, the $10 million G1 Dubai World Cup at 2000 meters. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Godolphin, Frosted was bred by Darley, has won a G2 prep for this race over 1900 meters at Meydan convincingly (see video below), was one of the better 3-year-olds in North America in 2015, is a G1 winner, is classic-placed in the 12F G1 Belmont Stakes, and is the house horse. His main competition will come from fellow US-breds California Chrome — the Lucky Pulpit Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner of 2014 who was second in this race last year for trainer Art Sherman and majority owner Perry Martin and now under the ownership banner of California Chrome LLC; Mshawish, a 6-year-old multiple G1-winning son of Medaglia d’Oro trained by Todd Pletcher for Al Shaqab Racing; and Keen Ice, upsetter of American Pharoah in the G1 Travers at 10F and a Curlin colt trained by Dale Romans for Donegal Racing.
Frosted is out of the Deputy Minister G2 winner Fast Cookie and his 2nd dam is multiple G2 winner Fleet Lady, a daughter of the Seattle Slew horse Avenue of Flags. Frosted is inbred 4×4 to Seattle Slew — coincidentally, McLaughlin’s Tapit colt Mohaymen is inbred 4×5 to the Triple Crown winner, and several other good Tapits are inbred to him, too. Fleet Lady is also the dam of Darley’s champion 2-year-old colt Midshipman — sire of Lady Shipman, a contender in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint over 1000 meters on turf. Midshipman stands at Darley in Kentucky and Frosted will almost certainly join him there upon retirement.
A colt with speed, Frosted should be able to maneuver from post nine to the inside part of the track that has been playing best, and from there jockey William Buick — who rode him to a five-length win here last out and won the DWC last year — can track the pace and produce his horse in the straight. California Chrome, from post 11, likes to race outside but will lose some ground and will be on the worst part of the track against better company than last faced at Meydan. Keen Ice, with blinkers for the first time, is not a model of consistency and will likely have a tough trip from post one, and Mshawish may not stay the trip — his lone foray past 9F was a fourth-place finish in the 2100-meter French Derby.
Farrier, an 8-year-old gelding by Tapit, has travelled a long, strange trip to the big stage. He goes in the G1 Dubai Turf at 1800 meters. Bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, he’s from Wild Vision, by Wild Again, and is a brother to stakes winner War Echo and stakes-placed Teardrop and a three-quarter brother to the Pulpit stakes winners Pyro and Longview Drive. This is the extended family of other Tapit stakes winners Tapizar and champion Untapable as well as the stakes-placed Tapits Harpoon and Areolite. Untapable, of course, is a half-sister to Donegal’s Paddy O’Prado, too.
Farrier was purchased by John Ferguson for $525,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale but something went awry somewhere along the line because the colt didn’t make his debut until age 4 — and then in Dubai, where he has raced exclusively at Meydan or Jebel Ali, on dirt and all weather until his last race.
A winner of four of 22 starts and multiple stakes-placed through the years, Farrier, who races for Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohd al Maktoum, was tried on the turf for the first time last out by trainer Sateesh Seemar in the G1 Jebel Hatta at 1800 meters (video below), and the old man (in red silks below) produced, running second to the highly regarded Tryster — one of the choices in the Dubai Turf. Any improvement from that effort — and why not? — might see him spring an upset.
Lani, a 3-year-old colt based in Japan, was bred in the US by Koji Maeda’s North Hills Co. Ltd. and races in the colors of Ms. Yoko Maeda. He’s out of the Japanese-bred Sunday Silence black-type winner Heavenly Romance, who earned the equivalent of $3.5 million. The mare has produced two black type winners to date, one of them a G3 winner. Heavenly Romance is from the Sadler’s Wells mare First Act, who in turn is from the high-class Ribot racer — she was multiple classics-placed — and producer Arkadina. There’s plenty of stamina in the female family for Lani to get the 1900 meters of the G2 UAE Derby, a $2 million race that awards 100 Kentucky Derby points to the winner, but he has some quirks and “is not straightforward,” according to comments by Ryan Moore, which can be read here. Moore, nevertheless, likes the horse’s chances at a price, especially as Market Rally is missing the race and Polar River might have some issues.
A winner of two dirt races in Japan from five starts, Lani was well-intended as a staying prospect from the get-go. He made his debut at 2 in a 2000-meter turf maiden but was subsequently switched to dirt at 1800 and 1600 meters after a fourth-place effort. He’d won two races in a row on dirt but last out Lani was fifth in the Listed Hyacinth Stakes (see video below) on dirt at 1600 meters after appearing much the best turning for home. His issue, part of what Moore perhaps alluded to, is not switching leads, and he tired in the Hyacinth as a result.
If trainer Mikio Matsunaga and rider Yutaka Take have worked out these kinks, Lani could have an excellent chance. The UAE Derby is not a particularly strong race, and a win by Lani would mean yet another classics candidate for Tapit.