By Lynne Snierson
In the days leading up to the $12 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on March 27, usracing.com will profile the contenders in the world’s second richest horse race. The profiles will be updated with odds, post positions and jockeys following the post-position draw scheduled for Wednesday (March 24).
This 5-year-old gray is an iron horse and one who is racking up the frequent flyer miles. A model of consistency, Sleepy Eyes Todd has won eight of 17 starts at 13 different tracks across the country at distances from 6 ½ furlongs to 1 ½ miles on dirt and on turf.
And now, he’ll try to win at 1 ¼ miles on the Meydan Racecourse main track on March 27 after contesting the same distance in Saudi Arabia in his last effort on Feb. 20.
The five-time graded stakes winner in the U.S. is seeking his first Group/Grade 1 victory in the Dubai World Cup after a strong closing effort that brought him from last to fifth in the $20 million Saudi Cup. With what he showed against that world class field, his connections elected to try again in the Middle East instead of bringing him home to take on the American handicap horse division.
“He tries his eyeballs out every time. He’s a hard-working horse who’s always the underdog and we just love him,’’ trainer Miguel Angel Silva told Tamarkuz Media. “He’s had issues in the races, but always managed to come back and perform well. He’s training amazing right now and he really likes this track.
“The transition from Saudi to here has been great and we’ve had no issues so far. It’s a little more similar to a U.S. track and he loves to train and gets over the track. The works have been a little bit longer with him [to build stamina], but I don’t see any problem with the distance. He has been, in the last couple races, one of the only horses who is finishing in the race. In Saudi, he was the only horse really closing in on the frontrunners. If anything, the distance will be good for him.”
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Miguel Angel Silva
Jockey: Alexis Moreno
Owners: Thumbs Up Racing LLC (David and Brenda Cobb)
Career record: 17 8-2-0
Career earnings: $1,889,825
Top Equibase speed figure: 121
Pedigree: Paddy O’Prado-Pledge Mom, by Wild Rush
Running style: Versatile. Can set the pace or close
Notes: This horse is the only graded stakes winner for veteran conditioner Silva, who has 4,254 starters, and for the owners, who are in their second year in the sport and are looking for their first stakes win in 2021 … Purchased for $9,000 as a weanling at the 2016 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, he is also the ‘big horse’ in the barn for his owners … Silva is a third-generation horseman and native of Mexico City. “It is an amazing experience to have him, and I’ve been trying to take it all in,” Silva said. “Hopefully, we will get more horses who have this kind of quality of racing in them after this, but we’ll see.”
Lynne Snierson, a former director of communications at Arlington Park and Rockingham Park, currently is a freelance writer and racing publicist. She covered thoroughbred racing as an award-winning sportswriter for newspapers In Boston, Miami, and St. Louis. She lives in New Hampshire. Secretariat remains her all-time favorite horse.