Mongolian Saturday Breezes Friday at Gulfstream for Hong Kong Sprint (G1)
Nov 27, 2015
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) Winner Departs Monday for Dec. 13 Race
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Mongolian Stables’ Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Mongolian Saturday breezed a half-mile the wrong way over Gulfstream Park’s main track Friday morning in anticipation of his next assignment in the $2.39 million Hong Kong Sprint (G1) Dec 13.
Under exercise rider and assistant trainer Santiago Aragon, the 5-year-old gelded son of Any Given Saturday went out around 10:30 a.m. following regular training hours. He was clocked in 47.17 seconds for a half-mile, second-fastest of 38 horses.
“I just stayed calm and relaxed and just held him the whole way. He switched leads by himself. He’s a smart horse,” Aragon said. “I think he did really good. I didn’t even ask him at the end. People say he looks like he’s not going fast, but he’s going fast. I can feel it.
“When I started he was looking around, but once I smooched to him and he started going he just did it by himself,” he said. “He didn’t care if he was going the wrong way or not. He felt really comfortable. As soon as he turned for home he switched leads. It should be good. Hopefully he’s not too tired after this and we’ll see what happens.”
It was the second work for Mongolian Saturday since his upset of the Turf Sprint at odds of 15-1 Oct. 31 at Keeneland, his first career graded stakes victory. He went three furlongs in 37.44 seconds Nov. 21 at Gulfstream, two weeks after returning to South Florida from Kentucky.
To confirm his decision to ship to Sha Tin Racetrack, where horses race clockwise, trainer Enebish Ganbat wanted to get a gauge on how Mongolian Saturday would handle running the opposite direction of races in North America.
“I wanted to see how he reacted. He’s never breezed this way, but I think he did really well,” Ganbat said. “He’s really an iron horse. He moves well when he’s out there. I have to thank Gulfstream very much for helping us do this extra job. I told the exercise rider to just go about 48 [seconds], not too much. Mostly today we wanted to see how he reacted to the opposite side. He showed us what we wanted.”
No American-trained horse has raced in the 1,200-meter (about six furlongs) Hong Kong Sprint since 2009. Mongolian Saturday kicked off 2015 with three races during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet, including a starter optional claiming victory Feb. 12. He has been no worse than third in 10 starts this year, with three wins.
“He lost a little bit of weight here because of the hot weather,” Ganbat said. “He’s in good shape. We hope we can do something in Hong Kong. We are thinking of going to Dubai, and we’d like to have some experience with the long flight. I’ll give him 2-3 days rest after we get there. We are excited.”