$20 Million Saudi Cup Contender: DEFUNDED

A likely field of 14 has been announced for the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Feb. 24 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – the world’s richest horse race.  usracing.com will post profiles for all the starters, with post positions, odds, and updates provided when available.


Bob Baffert doesn’t train many geldings, but this one was a reliable moneymaker, if not a star, for him and longtime collaborators Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. Defunded has been in the exacta in 12 of 20-lifetime starts, won two Grade 1s, and made more than $1.6 million, most of it last season.

Defunded and jokcey Juan Hernandez win the Hollywood Gold CupLast year was his best, highlighted by a Grade 1 win in the Hollywood Gold Cup and a distant second behind Art Collector in the Pegasus World Cup. Baffert has always made money for his partners, and Defunded is a perfect example of how he maximizes the earning potential of good but not great horses.

New Beginnings, Steep Challenges: Defunded’s Journey to the Saudi Cup

Unfortunately for Defunded, the Saudi Cup looks like the toughest challenge of his career. He lost his last three starts as his speed figures dropped, and he’s never faced a field as deep and talented as this one. He won’t have Baffert with him, either. He’ll have a new owner for the race, having been purchased last fall by Dr. Muhaideb Abdullah Almuhaideb’s Saudi Arabia-based stable. His new trainer, Riyadh-based Abdulaziz Khalid Mishref, is optimistic about his chances of reviving Defunded.

“He is an exceptional horse, and he has the profile, hopefully, to be a great asset to Riyadh racing and to do well in the Saudi Cup,” Mishref said in a press release.

2024 Saudi Cup Contender Odds and Post Position: Defunded

Betting advice: Defunded doesn’t class up with this world-class group, so don’t expect him to be a contender. Verdict: No play.

Post position: 9

Odds: 25-1

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Abdulaziz Khaled Mishref

Owner: Dr. Muhaideb Abdullah Almuhaideb  

Age: 6

Career record: 20-7-5-2

Career earnings: $1,666,600

Last race: Awesome Again Stakes, Sept. 30, (2nd)

Top Equibase speed figure: 112

Pedigree: Dialed In-Wind Caper, by Touch Gold

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notes: Defunded used to rely on speed, but his early-pace figures declined in his last three starts … He’s had plenty of time to acclimate to his surroundings. He arrived in Saudi Arabia Dec. 18 and cleared quarantine soon after … He’s made 18 of his 20 starts in California. Besides the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park, he finished fourth in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on Derby Day in 2021.

2024 Saudi Cup Odds and Contenders
PP Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Odds
1 White Abarrio Irad Ortiz, Jr Rick Dutrow, Jr. C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable, LLC 3-1
2 Isolate Joel Rosario Doug Watson RRR Racing 15-1
3 Lemon Pop Ryusei Sakai Hiroyasu Tanaka Godolphin 15-1
4 Senor Buscador Junior Alvarado Todd Fincher Joe R. Peacock, Jr 10-1
5 Saudi Crown Florent Geroux Brad Cox SFMQ Stables 8-1
6 Crown Pride Joao Moreira Koichi Shintani Teruya Yoshida 20-1
7 National Treasure Flavien Prat Bob Baffert F Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Masterson, Robert E., Stonestreet Stables LLC, Schoenfarber, Jay A., Waves Edge Capital LLC and Donovan, Catherine 9-2
8 Hoist the Gold John Velazquez Dallas Stewart Dream Team One Racing Stable 30-1
9 Defunded Luis Saez Abdulaziz K Mishref Pegram, Michael E., Watson, Karl and Weitman, Paul 25-1
10 Power in Numbers Adel Alfouraidi Ahmed Mohamoud Klaravich Stables, Inc. 30-1
11 Ushba Tesoro Yuga Kawada Noboru Takagi Ryotokuji Kenji Holdings Co. Ltd. 10-1
12 Meisho Hario Suguru Hamanaka Inao Okada Yoshio Matsumoto 20-1
13 Derma Sotogake Christophe Lemaire Hidetaka Otonashi Hiroyuki Asanuma 6-1
14 Carmel Road Camillo Ospina Abdullah Albadah SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Masterson, Robert E., Stonestreet Stables LLC, Schoenfarber, Jay A., Waves Edge Capital LLC and Donovan, Catherinetd> 25-1
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