In the days leading up to the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 26, usracing.com is publishing profiles of the starters in the world’s richest horse race. Profiles will be updated with odds, post positions and jockeys several days before the race
By Richard Rosenblatt
2022 Saudi Cup Horse Profile: Marche Lorraine
Japan’s leading trainer Yoshito Yahagi is not one to shy away from a challenge. This time, he’ll send out his star mare Marche Lorraine against the boys in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Saturday.
In what could have been her career grand finale, Marche Lorraine pulled off a huge upset in winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar at odds of 49-1. She defeated champions that included Letruska, Malathaat, and Shedaresthedevil.
Her odds won’t be as long on Saturday, but the competition will be a little more intense, if that’s possible. Yahagi said he began thinking Saudi Cup the minute Marche Lorraine held off Dunbar Road by a nose in the BC Distaff on Nov. 6. This will be her final race.
“First of all, I want her to complete the race safely, as she will be a mother soon,’’ Yahagi said late last month. “While I understand the competition is very tough, I hope she performs well enough, like at the Breeders’ Cup.”
After the trip from Japan to Riyadh, Yahagi said his 7-year-old mare “lost a bit of weight after the long travel, and I understand that she is still conditioning now and needs some more time to recover (she will be back on the track again on Wednesday, Feb. 23).
The top choices in the Saudi Cup include defending champion Mishriff, newly-crowned 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun, and Japan’s Champions Cup winner T O Keynes.
Betting advice: Maybe the BC Distaff should have been her final start because it doesn’t seem Marche Lorraine can make it two monster wins in a row … She surged to the lead in the Distaff and led by two lengths before hanging on by a nose to win at 1 1/8 miles … Don’t think she can finish in the top 3 in this company.
Post position: 13
Odds: 12-1 (BUSR.com odds)
Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi
Owner: U. Carrot Farm
Career record: 21-9-2-2
Career earnings: $2,845,677
Top Equibase speed figure: 113
Pedigree: Orfevre-Vite Marcher, by French Deputy
Running style: Closer
Notes: Yahagi, a three-time top trainer in Japan, saddled the first Japan-based winner in a Breeders’ Cup when Loves Only You won the BC Filly & Mare Turf (G1) three races before Marche Lorraine’s win … He didn’t expect a second win: “It was kind of a surprise – even for me – to watch Marche Lorraine win the Distaff to be frankly honest,’’ he said … Marche Lorraine was 0-for-3 in graded stakes races heading into the BC Distaff.
Over the years while working at The Associated Press, Rich Rosenblatt became a familiar name to legions of the horse racing fans and industry insiders with his award-winning articles on horse racing and his stories from the backstretch.
In addition to being an astute observer of sports, Rosenblatt is the co-author of The All-American Chili Cookbook. His work has been seen in just about every publication in the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine.