Calumet Farm's Bravazo will return to the track Saturday morning to begin preparations for the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Friday morning.
Bravazo returned to his Oaklawn base Monday morning after finishing fourth in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
“Twenty-something hour van ride, we'll give him an extra day or so,” Lukas said. “No reason to get in a hurry.”
Racing over a sloppy track, Bravazo was beaten 12 lengths by 2018 Oaklawn Handicap winner City of Light in his 4-year-old debut. Champion Accelerate, runner-up in last year's Oaklawn Handicap, finished third.
“Getting pinned down on the inside in the mud was not ideal,” Lukas said. “I think those horses go along for five-eighths, three-quarters of mile pinned down on the inside like that, they get a little discouraged, too. Then when you get them out where they can run, they don't fire like they could if they had a clean trip.”
Bravazo earned $700,000 Saturday, pushing his career bankroll to $2,003,528. He opened his busy 2018 campaign (11 starts at eight tracks) with an allowance victory at Oaklawn before winning the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds in his next start. Bravazo also ran second in the Preakness (G1) and Haskell Invitational (G1).
“I think he merits it,” Lukas said of the Dubai World Cup. “He deserves a chance. Again, new surface, different track, configuration, new field. You never know. But $12 million is certainly a strong incentive.”
Lukas said he's never been to the UAE.
Oaklawn Handicap winner Cigar won the inaugural Dubai World Cup in 1996. Two-time Oaklawn stakes winner Curlin (Rebel and Arkansas Derby) won the Dubai World Cup in 2008.
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