By Margaret Ransom
2022 Saudi Cup Horse Profile: Mandaloun
Mandaloun, your new 2021 Kentucky Derby winner following first-place finisher Medina Spirit’s disqualification by state racing officials this week, is set for his first start as the Derby winner.
And it’s a big one: The 4-year-old trained by Eclipse Award-winner Brad Cox challenges defending champion Mishriff and 12 others in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Saturday.
Mandaloun ran second in the Derby, finishing a half-length behind Medina Spirit. A post-race positive for a banned race-day medication put the final result on hold until all kinds of hearings were held these past nine-plus months. Appeals, though, are in the works.
Meanwhile, Mandaloun has won three in a row since the Derby, posting victories in the Pegasus Stakes, the Haskell Stakes (G1), and the Louisiana Stakes (G3), defeating Midnight Bourbon, also entered in the Saudi Cup.
Mandaloun won’t be the only first-place Derby finisher to run in the Saudi Cup – Maximum Security was disqualified after finishing first in the 2019 Derby for interference. He went on to win the first Saudi Cup, but that victory is on hold pending a final ruling by Saudi racing officials concerning drug charges facing Jason Servis, the horse’s trainer.
In the Haskell, Mandaloun was awarded the win after the DQ of Hot Rod Charlie for interfering with Midnight Bourbon, who was beaten by Mandaloun in the Louisiana Stakes.
Mandaloun has been training exceptionally well, Cox said, and is on target to run a big race under the King Abdulaziz Racecourse lights.
“Mandaloun ran a really big race at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Stakes,” Cox said. “It was his first run in a while, and he appears to have come out of it in great shape. He seems to have moved forward from three to four. If he moves forward again, he’s going to be tough in the Saudi Cup.”
And he’s versatile.
“He’s a horse who’s capable of being where we need him to be in a race. He’s able to adjust to the pace – if it’s slow he can be up close, if it’s fast he can sit off it,’’ Cox said “A one-turn mile-and-an-eighth is not something we get much in America, Belmont is the only place, but I’m confident he’ll be able to handle it.”
Betting strategy: With a good amount of speed likely, this horse’s tactical turn of foot will be a blessing. He will be bet but he may offer some odds against a field of talented international runners.
Post position: 6
Odds: 9-2 (BUSR.com)
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Trainer: Brad Cox
Owner: Bruce Lunsford
Career record: 9-7-0-1*
Career earnings: $3,001,252*
Top Equibase speed figure: 115
Pedigree: Into Mischief-Brooch, by Empire Maker
Running style: Stalker/mid-pack
(*includes 2001 Kentucky Derby victory)
Notes: Mandaloun gets his name for a type of mullioned (or decorative partition) window from traditional Lebanese architecture … dam Brooch was a two-time group/stakes winner, including the 2015 Ridgewood Pearl S. (G2) at The Curragh … Though he’s an American-based and Kentucky-bred, his late owner was a Saudi national so he is very much a hometown horse who will have a lot of local support in the crowd
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law in Kentucky known as the “Borell Law.”Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time.She lives in Robinson, Texas, with her longtime beau, Tony. She is the executive director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue, The Bridge Sanctuary.