MUBTAAHIJ is scheduled to breeze on the synthetic surface at Arlington in Chicago before being vanned to Churchill on the evening of 27 April, reports ESPN. Mike de Kock is scheduled to arrive in Kentucky on 26 April.
“We just felt it might be better for the horse to settle down there on the Polytrack,” said De Kock, who in 2013 sent The Apache to compete in the Arlington Million. “We’re very familiar with Arlington Park, and very comfortable and welcomed at Arlington Park by some lovely people, so it does make it a good place for him to train.”
“He’ll work at Arlington and I’m hoping to show him Louisville on [Derby week] Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, paddock schooling and going to the gate and those sorts of things,” De Kock said.
De Kock will be sending out his first Derby starter in Mubtaahij, who won the UAE Derby by a dazzling eight lengths after taking the Al Bastakiya Sponsored by Emirates Skywards and getting beat a head in the UAE 2,000 Guineas Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors. By winning the last two legs of the UAE Triple Crown he becomes only the second horse, along with Canonero II, to compete in the Derby having run in two races longer than 1800m.
The new experience of shipping Kentucky Derby contender Mubtaahij from Dubai to Kentucky has required improvising from De Kock – but when it comes to racing without raceday medication, the respected South African-based conditioner will not change the Dubawi colt’s routine.
Mubtaahij has never raced on the anti-bleeding medication furosemide (Salix, commonly called Lasix) and the UAE Derby Sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group winner will run without it in the 2 May Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the first horse in 10 years to do so.
“He’s never run on it, he doesn’t bleed, and I’m not prepared to take my chances running him on a substance he’s never run on before,” De Kock said. “He’s good enough without it. I’m not experienced enough to say whether thoroughbreds in general will or won’t run well on Lasix, but [in South Africa]we only use it in training in very minute doses and he doesn’t bleed so he’s never had it.”
“If I gave him Lasix he may run better, he may run worse, but I’m not going to experiment. Lasix is not even a consideration for him.”