Mubtaahij, which hopes to become the first UAE Derby winner to capture the Kentucky Derby, is training at Arlington International Racecourse this week before shipping off to Kentucky.
Mubtaahij (Moob-tah-HEEJ) is listed at 10-1 in the early odds for the May 2 race at Churchill Downs, although the field is not set. The favorites are Dortmund, American Pharoah, and Carpe Diem.
The three-year-old colt, whose Arabic name translates as "Elated," has quite an international following.
Mubtaahij, which won the United Arab Emirates Derby at Meydan by eight lengths, is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum and trained by South African Mike de Kock. Jockey Christophe Soumillon of France was aboard Mubtaahij for the UAE Derby, but it is not known if he'll ride the Ireland-bred colt (Dunmore Stud) at Churchill Downs..
Mubtaahij's trainer has declared his horse will not race with anti-bleeding medication (Lasix). Mubtaahij has never taken medication and it has been 10 years since a horse ran without medication at the Kentucky Derby, according to Bloodhorse.com.
With a chill in the air Tuesday morning, Mubtaahij worked three furlongs on Arlington's all-weather Polytrack surface. Mubtaahij also had a two-lap exercise on Monday at Arlington.
"He's taken it all very well, and at this stage, we're impressed with the way he's come out of things," said trainer Mike de Kock, according to a report at courier-journal.com.
Why train at Arlington?
"Mike de Kock has been a big supporter of Arlington and he's had some very good horses in the Million," said Howard Sudberry, Arlington's senior director of marketing and communications. "He likes the surface here."
Arlington officials said Mubtaahij will likely work again this week before traveling by van to the Skylight training center in Goshen, Ky., where he will be based before heading to Churchill Downs early next week.
"He's got a great stride, great confirmation," Sudberry said. "He just looks the part of an outstanding racehorse and you can tell he's really happy with the track surface."
Daily Herald handicapper Joe Kristufek also gives Mubtaahij high marks.
"I saw him at Dubai, and he's legitimate," Kristufek said.
The last horse bred outside of North America to win the Kentucky Derby was Tomy Lee (Britain) in 1959.