The First Saudi Cup

On Saturday before we get to see some Derby hopefuls at Gulfstream we’ll get to see the inaugural Saudi Cup, as of today the richest horse race in the world.

The USA has both a strong presence and a big shot to win. For a $20 million purse, you’ll always have horses show up, so it is not any surprise to me that the race has a strong field.

I really didn’t plan on betting the Saudi Cup, but I have changed my mind. Sometimes you just see something you can’t pass up.

The race will be run mediation free. That means no Lasix among other things. I think this may factor in on how things unfold.

Generally speaking, I think when horses are used to racing on Lasix, and then run without it they are at a disadvantage. I would guess this is especially true when shipping far away to race in the heat of the desert.

There are two horses coming into the Saudi Cup sneaky good, and sitting on big races in my opinion. I am going to bet on one of them. Many people in my situation would bet or use them both, but if you read or follow me you already know that is not my style or my philosophy. I go for the kill, or I don’t go. Here’s to making it count!

Obviously you have to respect anything Bob Baffert sends to a race like this. I mean, this is what he does. He wins on the big stages, and his horses almost always bring it in these spots. If he ran 1-2 I would not be surprised at all. Mucho Gusto jogged in the Pegasus without Lasix. It looks like he was purchased privately before that race with this race also in mind. McKinzie is a serious runner when he brings his A game and I expect he will bring it Saturday. The Baffert pair are the ones to beat, as usual.

I love Midnight Bisou but can’t get to her here, against these males, under these conditions. She’s as honest as can be, but this just looks like a bad spot for her to me.

They say the kickback on this surface is mild and doesn’t hinder or bother deep closers like some other surfaces. In a race with some pace in it, that may hurt Maximum Security who will be on or very close to the pace. I respect him, and he should surprise nobody if he wins, but I’ll take a shot against him.

The horse I almost landed on is Benbatl. He is classy and sitting on a peak race I think. He won his dirt debut in Dubai but that was just a prep for this. Super talented Oisin Murphy rides, and he’s building up the big wins. We now know he handles dirt and didn’t need Lasix. I think he is gonna rum big.

Now we get to the fun part. I’ll say who I like and why, and most will dismiss his chances. I love that. I much prefer most people saying no shot than agreeing with me. I expect that here and would be a tad disappointed with anything less.

I like Tacitus. I think he wins the Saudi Cup on Saturday.

Tacitus ran sneaky good in the Kentucky Derby and could have even won it had things gone better for him. He’s had his share of trouble in his races and has still held his own without really getting to show his best. He started his career without Lasix so I know he can run good without it as he broke his maiden before going on it. Bill Mott is one of the best at pointing for a race and I believe he had this race in mind for a while. After all who owns Juddmonte…. (Wink wink)

If you recall Mott ran one of his big fillies, Royal Delta against the boys in the Dubai World Cup without Lasix. She didn’t win, but he has experience with this move and likely learned from past tries. I can forgive Tacitus’ races after the Derby, and I think how he has been managed screams peak effort coming and I have seen enough from him to believe his peak is good enough.

Jose Lezcano replaces injured Jose Ortiz. I’m fine with that. Lezcano has ridden for Mott for years now and also has ridden in Saudi Arabia. Tacitus is kind of a forgotten horse who most have given up on. He should be 15-1 or better on Saturday. That is enough to make me go after him.

Enjoy the races everyone.

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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