His connections celebrate as Emblem Road heads to the barn after winning the Saudi Cup
Saudi Cup results
The $20 million Saudi Cup (G1), run for the third time this year (and the first time as a Group 1), is the world's richest horse race. A full field of 14 older horses contested this 1800 meter (about 1 1/8 mile) trip around one turn of the 1 1/4 mile dirt track at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. Conditions were ideal for racing, with clear skies and temperatures in the low 80's, the main track fast and the turf course good-to-firm. 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner (via disqualification) Mandaloun was sent off as the 2-1 favorite off wins in the Pegasus, Haskell (G1) via disqualification, and the Louisiana Stakes (G3) last out. In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice defending champion Mishriff, 4th in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (G1) at Ascot in October, and 5-1 third choice T O Keynes, winner of the Champions Cup (G1) at Chuyko in December.
Emblem Road (outside) chases down Country Grammer in the stretch
8th RACE King Abdulaziz - The Saudi Cup 4 Emblem Road 229.20 66.60 29.80 3 Country Grammer 8.80 6.20 8 Midnight Bourbon 5.40 Running time - 1:50.52 $1.00 EXACTA 4-3 969.30 $1.00 TRIFECTA 4-3-8 8,799.40 $1.00 SUPERFECTA 3-3-8-6 177,003.30
Results Chart for the race from Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, and the video replay.
Emblem Road in the winner's enclosure. Hisham Wahed, representing owner Prince Saud bin Salman Abdulaziz said, "Emblem Road had trained really well and I thought that he was going better than Making Miracles. Keeping The Saudi Cup here in the Kingdom - that is the best thing, it is a great feeling. All the people here are happy that we keep it in Saudi Arabia."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Saudi Cup. Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia said, "Wow. To have a locally trained horse perform that way is very emotional. I'm very happy for the connections, and I'm happy for Saudi Arabia. I think Mishriff, a Saudi Arabian-owned horse [the 2021 The Saudi Cup winner], did amazing things to spread the love of horses. And to have a locally-trained horse win [The Saudi Cup] is extremely special, and I'm really excited about what this means for the future of horse racing in Saudi Arabia."
Emblem Road in the post parade. Winning jockey Wigberto Ramos said, "My horse ran a great race and I broke good and my horse was very strong. He wanted to go early, but I took my time with him and took a little hold and saw another horse, so then I just waited for the 500m to ask him. The key on this track is that you have to be near the front when you pass the 800m. If you're near, you are in a good position and outside is the best part of the track."
Right: Emblem Road in his winner's blanket. Ramos added, "It's a big turn, so when you put a horse who comes from behind all the way on the outside, they finish a lot better. I knew that I could do it, but now that I've done it, I still don't believe it. I beat so many good horses and this is the biggest race in the world. I think he could go on to the Dubai World Cup. He's the kind of horse who can do it."
Left: Second place finisher Country Grammer returns after the race. Jockey Flavien Prat said, "He ran great. When I pulled away I thought I was going to win, I thought it was going to be enough and that my horse was doing the hardest, but the winner was just too good and finished harder."
Right: Third place finisher Midnight Bourbon in the walking ring with trainer Steve Asmussen. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "I thought he ran really well; it was probably a little bit different with him but he showed heart, he did great."
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