By Margaret Ransom
2022 Saudi Cup Horse Profile: Mandaloun
Mandaloun ran second in the Derby, finishing a half-length behind Medina Spirit. A post-race positive for a banned race-day medication put the final result on hold until all kinds of hearings were held these past nine-plus months. Appeals, though, are in the works.
Meanwhile, Mandaloun has won three in a row since the Derby, posting victories in the Pegasus Stakes, the Haskell Stakes (G1), and the Louisiana Stakes (G3), defeating Midnight Bourbon, also entered in the Saudi Cup.
Mandaloun won’t be the only first-place Derby finisher to run in the Saudi Cup – Maximum Security was disqualified after finishing first in the 2019 Derby for interference. He went on to win the first Saudi Cup, but that victory is on hold pending a final ruling by Saudi racing officials concerning drug charges facing Jason Servis, the horse’s trainer.
Mandaloun has been training exceptionally well, Cox said, and is on target to run a big race under the King Abdulaziz Racecourse lights.
“Mandaloun ran a really big race at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Stakes,” Cox said. “It was his first run in a while, and he appears to have come out of it in great shape. He seems to have moved forward from three to four. If he moves forward again, he’s going to be tough in the Saudi Cup.”
And he’s versatile.
“He’s a horse who’s capable of being where we need him to be in a race. He’s able to adjust to the pace – if it’s slow he can be up close, if it’s fast he can sit off it,’’ Cox said “A one-turn mile-and-an-eighth is not something we get much in America, Belmont is the only place, but I’m confident he’ll be able to handle it.”
Betting strategy: With a good amount of speed likely, this horse’s tactical turn of foot will be a blessing. He will be bet but he may offer some odds against a field of talented international runners.
Post position: 6
Odds: 9-2 (BUSR.com)
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Trainer: Brad Cox
Owner: Bruce Lunsford
Career record: 9-7-0-1*
Career earnings: $3,001,252*
Top Equibase speed figure: 115
Pedigree: Into Mischief-Brooch, by Empire Maker
Running style: Stalker/mid-pack
(*includes 2001 Kentucky Derby victory)