Mshawish To Taylor Made In 2017; Has ‘Big Chance’ In Dubai After Final U.S. Workout

by | 03.11.2016 | 4:40pm
Mshawish wins the Donn Handicap

Taylor Made Stallions announced a deal on Friday for the Nicholasville, Kentucky-based stud farm to stand Al Shaqab Racing's Mshawish in 2017. The multiple Grade 1-winning son of Medaglia d'Oro is set to retire at the end of the 2016 season.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to stand such an exciting horse as Mshawish, and thankful to the entire Al Shaqab Racing team,” said Ben Taylor, vice president of Taylor Made Stallions. “It's exciting because Mshawish has always been an elite horse that's performed well all over the world, but he's really shown a different dimension on the dirt. He ran a 2 ¾ on the (Ragozin) Sheets in the Hals Hope, and his win in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap established him as one of the best dirt horses in the world.

“Physically and genetically, Mshawish is really going to appeal to breeders. He's a good-looking horse, extremely sound, and will be the most accomplished son of leading sire Medaglia d'Oro to retire in America. The sky is the limit for him the rest of this racing season, and beyond in the breeding shed.”

Impressive winner of last month's Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream, Mshawish breezed Friday morning at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) March 26th at Meydan, where he'll be one of the top contenders in the prestigious 1 ¼-mile event. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Mshawish worked five furlongs in :58 4/5 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5.

Watch the workout here:

“Mshawish has always impressed me with his versatility, high cruising speed, and neat ability to also have an exciting turn of foot,” said Pletcher on Friday morning after the breeze. “His work this morning at Palm Beach Downs had the fastest seven-furlong gallop out we have ever had by a full second. The rider wasn't even asking him for run, so if he stays like this, he will have a big chance in the Dubai World Cup.”

Bradley Weisbord, the U.S. advisor to Al Shaqab Racing, confirmed that Mshawish will ship to Dubai this Sunday, March 13th, and will train locally up to the race to get reacquainted with the Meydan surface. Mshawish is unlikely to breeze again before the World Cup.

“Mshawish is special for us, as he was the first colt sent to our American program and got us rolling right away,” said Weisbord. “He couldn't have come over in better shape, and Todd Pletcher's team has done a magnificent job of training him from day one, getting him to fire every single race, on all surfaces and all distances. I have told anyone who would listen that even though the horse had run his entire career on turf, he trained out of his skin on dirt. I'm glad he got the chance to show that to the world in 2016 when he won the prestigious Grade 1 Donn Handicap, and we're extremely excited about his chances in the Dubai World Cup.”

Mshawish will continue to be owned and campaigned by Al Shaqab and Pletcher throughout 2016, with his year-end goal being the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita. The deal calls for a 50% syndication of Mshawish upon retirement, with Al Shaqab retaining the other 50% of the horse.

“All of us at Al Shaqab are delighted that Mshawish will be retired at the end of the season to stand at Taylor Made Farm,” added Khalifa al Attiya, general manager of Al Shaqab Racing. “He joins Khozan as our second horse to retire to stud duties in the U.S. It is so important to us that we not only race good horses but that we also produce stallions. Therefore, we are very proud that, in a relatively short period of time, we now have six exciting young sires on our roster around the world, with the hope of many more to come.”

Mshawish began his career in France, breaking his maiden in his second start before finishing second in the Group 3 Prix de Guiche over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Chantilly. That earned him a try against the best 3-year-olds in Europe, where in subsequent starts he turned in a pair of solid performances in the Group 1 French Derby at Chantilly and Group 1 St. James Palace S. at the Royal Ascot meeting in Great Britain.

As a 4-year-old, Mshawish captured the $250,000, Group 2 Zabeel Mile at Meydan before finishing fourth against the best turf horses in the world in the $5,000,000, Group 1 Dubai Duty Free. He was then transferred to Pletcher's stable in the States. At last year's Gulfstream meet, Mshawish won the $100,000 El Prado S. to start a three-race win streak. He captured his first Graded win in America in the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale S. (G2), and then went on to become a Grade 1 winner with a victory in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf H. (G1).

After a close finish in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland, Mshawish was training so well on the dirt that his connections tried him in the Cigar Mile H. (G1) last November at Aqueduct. He responded in his dirt debut by finishing a close fourth to Tonalist, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths.

Mshawish returned to Gulfstream this winter and has watched his career take off on the main track. He defeated top local horse Valid in a fast renewal of the Hal's Hope S. (G3), covering a mile in 1:34 3/5. That performance vaulted him into this year's Donn H. (G1), where he became a Grade 1 winner on two surfaces after scoring a decisive two-length victory over a top field, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 4/5. He earned a career-high 106 Beyer for the performance, marking his seventh straight triple-digit Beyer.

Mshawish owns eight wins and has been on the board in 13 of 22 starts to date, with earnings of $2,219,826. Out of the Thunder Gulch mare Thunder Bayou, Mshawish's second dam is by Storm Cat, and his third dam is Seeking the Gold's Graded stakes-winning juvenile, At the Half, who is the dam of multiple Graded stakes-winning millionaire Lu Ravi.

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