MUBTAAHIJ ran several lengths below his best form in Saturday’s Gr1 Gold Cup over 2000m at Belmont, finishing fourth in a six horse field to Hoppertunity.
Mubtaahij was under pressure before the stretch and he faded out from the 400m mark while Bob Baffert’s five-year-old Hoppertunity forged to the lead late to secure a half-length victory in the $1 million contest. He was beaten 7,75-lengths.
Mubtaahij, set for Dubai return.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of speed in the race other than Effinex. Everybody stayed sensible,” said Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes. “The most important thing for ‘Hopper’ is that he was standing good and broke good and he was placed more forwardly in the race, especially on a slow pace, that’s probably why he was a little closer. We always thought in our minds that he would like these big turns here, and this big, deep track where he would have a chance to come from behind.”
Mubtaahij will return to Dubai following a US campaign that yielded a third in the Gr2 Suburban Handicap, a close second in the Gr1 Woodward and Saturday’s fourth place.