By Margaret Ransom
Bred in Ireland, purchased for about $350,000 nearly 18 months ago, the “home team” has a chance to win its own $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Race Course with the longest shot in a field of global stars.
Mjjack, now owned by Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdulaziz, is moving way, way up in class when taking on champions Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou, as well as trainer Bob Baffert’s McKinzie and Mucho Gusto.
In his previous race, Mjjack won a local stakes called the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup on Feb. 8, earning an invite to the world’s richest race.
By most accounts Mjjack is quite a wagering risk – 50-1 by usracing.com. However, let’s not forget this nearly-white 6-year-old has won over this track at the Saudi Cup distance of 1 1/8 miles, and is trained here by Sami Al Harabi.
Before arriving in Saudi Arabia, our mystery horse was an average performer in England and Ireland on the turf. But the switch to dirt has turned him into a contender over this track, or so it appears.
Mjjack will have regular rider Abdul Alawfi aboard, but drawing the outside No. 14 post may not work out well.
“I wanted the inside not the outside,’’ Harabi said. “My horse never runs from an outside gate, but it’s a new adventure and a big race, so we have to take it either way.”
Trainer: Sami Al Harabi
Jockey: Abdul Alawfi
Owner: Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdulaziz
Post position: No. 14
Career record: 26-10-3-3
Career earnings: $361,821
Pedigree: Elzaam—Docklands Grace, by Honour and Glory
Running style: Mid-pack
Notes: Mjjack will be making his 27th career start, and is 3-for-3 already this year … He was bred in Ireland by Derrymore House Syndicate and is out of the Kentucky-bred Honour and Glory mare Docklands Grace, who raced exclusively in England … sire Elzaam was a stakes winner in Europe and campaigned by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum.
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 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 Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.