Mystic Guide, who launched his 4-year-old season in smashing fashion winning the Razorback Handicap on Saturday at Oaklawn, will make his next start March 27 in the $12 million Dubai World Cup if all goes according to plan.
Trainer Mike Stidham said the decision to ship to Dubai was reached Tuesday afternoon during a conference between the trainer and representatives of the colt’s owner and breeder, Godolphin. Mystic Guide, a close second to Happy Saver in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his final start at age 3, won the Razorback by six lengths as the 121-pound starting high-weight, running 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy track in 1:44.33 and earning a career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure.
Mystic Guide came out of the Razorback in excellent physical condition and since his trainer firmly believes races at nine or 10 furlongs suit him better than the Razorback distance, there’s no compelling reason not to go for the 1 ¼-mile World Cup.
“Our main goals here aren’t until late summer and fall, so we have plenty of time to get him back,” Stidham said.
Mystic Guide, by Ghostzapper out of Music Note, should be one of the shorter prices in the World Cup. Sleepy Eyes Todd, who was fifth last out in the Saudi Cup, and Tacitus, seventh in the same race, went on to Dubai for the World Cup following their trip to Saudi Arabia. Charlatan is not expected to ship back halfway across the world after returning to Bob Baffert’s base in California following his second-place Saudi Cup finish. The looming question is whether Mishriff, the Saudi Cup winner, travels from England for the Dubai World Cup. The colt’s connections had yet to announce a final decision on his status as of Tuesday.
Mystic Guide shipped from Fair Grounds to Oaklawn for the Razorback and returned to Stidham’s barn in New Orleans on Monday. He has yet to go back to the track but on Wednesday was to begin the vaccination program required of horses travelling from the U.S. to Dubai. Mystic Guide flies from New Orleans top Miami on March 15 and then on to Dubai on March 17. His major work will come at Fair Grounds but a blowout over the track at Meydan the week of the race seems likely.
Mystic Guide’s jockey situation vis a vis the World Cup is fluid, Stidham said. Luis Saez rode Mystic in the Razorback and would have the mount in Dubai, but he rides 2-year-old champ and Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality, another Godolphin homebred. Essential Quality could well start on April 3, the Saturday after the World Cup, and current COVID-19 restrictions on travelers returning from Dubai to America could prevent Saez from taking the mount that day.