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 (jockeys listed from last race).
By Noel Michaels
2022 Saudi Cup Horse Profile: Midnight Bourbon
Best known as the runner-up in several high-profile 3-year-old stakes in 2021 — the Louisiana Derby (G2), Preakness (G1), Travers (G1), and Pennsylvania Derby (G1) — Midnight Bourbon is still seeking his first Grade 1 victory.
Could it come in Saturday’s $20 million Saudi Cup, against defending champion Mishriff and a talented field from around the world? Well, he’s finished second six times and third four times to go with two victories in 16 career starts, so he’d sure have to raise his game one more notch.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen remains optimistic that his now 4-year-old can produce that elusive big-time win. Midnight Bourbon ran second to Mandaloun (also running in the Saudi Cup) in the Louisiana Stake (G3) on Jan. 22
“He has an elite level of talent without finishing it off at this stage,’’ Asmussen said. “He’s not had the success his ability would allow, but it also leaves a lot for us moving forward. It just needs to come together, and I’m hoping beyond hope and expecting that he’s waiting for the Saudi Cup to put it all together perfectly.”
Asmussen believes Midnight Bourbon is set for winning campaign in 2022.
“He is still in a physical and mental development that I think allows for him to possibly end up being the best horse in training in the world
Eclipse Award winning jockey Joel Rosario says the Louisiana Stakes was a prep for the Saudi Cup.
“He came out of it in better shape than he went into it,’’ Rosario said. “It was very good exercise.”
Betting advice: Seems to prefer finishing second and his betting use should be limited to the back-end of exactas, or in the second of third slots in trifectas.
Post position: 3
Odds: 9-1 (BUSR.com odds)
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC
Career record: 14-2-6-4
Career earnings: $1,197,970
Top Equibase speed figure: 114
Pedigree: Tiznow–Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon
Running style: Front runner/presser
Notes: Midnight Bourbon’s two wins came in a 1-mile maiden race at Ellis Park in August 2020, and in the 1 1/16-mile Lecomte (G3) at the Fair Grounds in 2021 … Rosario was fourth aboard Knicks Go in the 2021 Saudi Cup … Midnight Bourbon was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and foaled on Jan. 25, 2018. He was a $525,000 yearling purchase at the 2019 Keeneland September Sale.
Noel Michaels has been involved in many aspects of thoroughbred racing for more than two decades, as a Breeders’ Cup-winning owner and as a writer, author, handicapper, editor, manager and promoter of the sport for a wide range of companies including Daily Racing Form and Nassau County Off-Track Betting.
He also is regarded as the leading source of news and information for handicapping tournaments and the author of the “Handicapping Contest Handbook: A Horseplayer’s Guide to Handicapping Tournaments”, which made his name virtually synonymous with the increasingly-popular tournament scene.
In addition to contributing to US Racing, he is also an analyst on the Arlington Park broadcast team.