Mongolian Stable's star sprinter Mongolian Saturday worked at Arlington International Racecourse in preparation for Royal Ascot next month. The winner of the 2015 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint recently returned from Hong Kong after an unfortunate run in the Group I Chairman's Sprint Prize at Sha Tin Racecourse, where he finished ninth among the world's best sprinters.
“The horse trained better for Hong Kong than even Breeders' Cup,” trainer Ganbat Enebish said. “But our jockey [Florent Geroux] couldn't ride because he had a horse in the Kentucky Derby [Gun Runner] so we got a different jockey from Hong Kong. He was very experienced, but he didn't do as I said. I told him to whip the horse to get around [in the stretch], and he never did. He was behind a wall of horses, and pulled back. I've never complained to a jockey, never, but this time I was very unhappy with him. All the best sprinters of the world were in the same race, and [Mongolian Saturday] came out of the race very well; he was not tired at all. He was very strong and sound afterwards, like nothing had happened.”
After the race Enebish shipped Mongolian Saturday back to Arlington to train, just as he has each year. The son of Any Given Saturday put in an impressive three-furlong work on May 20 that showed he had lost little, if anything, in form while traveling back and forth from Hong Kong.
“It looked like he worked slowly,” commented Enebish. “I thought 35 [seconds], but then they told me 33.2.”
The trainer says the 6-year-old will leave next week for England, where they have nominated him to three races over the summer months – two in June, and one in July.
“He ships on May 25 to England for Royal Ascot,” explained Enebish. “It will be the first time he goes to England. I nominated him to three races, all Group I Global Sprint Challenge races. The [five-furlong] King's Stand Stakes on June 14, then four days later on the 18th is the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee. The time between the two races is very short, but I'll watch him after the [King's Stand] and if he comes back very good, then maybe we will try the next race. I think we will stay and also go to the July 9 Darley July Cup in Newmarket. It's almost three weeks in between, so we will go if he is [doing well].”
Mongolian Saturday will stay in a private training center in Newmarket while racing in the U.K. While his regular jockey Florent Geroux has committed to riding in the King's Stand, it is uncertain whether he will stay for the Diamond Jubilee if the gelding runs back.
“We'll try and do our best in England,” Enebish said. “His regular rider will come. We call him 'Frenchie'. He will come to ride Tuesday, but he has many good horses in America. Maybe he will stay for Saturday. Never have I [raced horses] in England. It is very expensive – we have to pay for stabling there – so we have to win and make money to afford to go out there.”
Giving his horse a chance in the best races has worked out well for the trainer that took out his North American license in 2011. After starting at Arlington in 2013, Enebish was not afraid to ship around the country to try horses in stakes on any surface. The gelding gave a good account of himself, finishing in the money in 20 of his 30 starts before winning at Breeders' Cup last year. His trainer has learned a lot about his horse in that time, and understands him now better than ever.
“My exercise rider says when they go [clockwise], the horse is not as strong, but when we go [counter-clockwise] he is very strong,” Enebish said. I think it is hard to change his mind. He is a very sensitive horse, very smart, he knows the different directions. I've been training him since he was two years old. He worked very slowly [then]. I didn't run him for the first four months [of his 3-year-old season] because when he breezed it wasn't fast, but I think that was my fault – I didn't do well training him. I didn't feed him enough and he wasn't as strong.”
Enebish spoke openly about his start with his superstar horse with a little bit of relief.
“He won his maiden in a $25,000 claiming race, and I was happy no one claimed him,” Enebish says with a laugh. “After that race, two people called me and offered $350,000.”
“A dream is always good,” he continued. “When Mongolian Saturday won his first race by ten lengths, I told all my employees, the groom, the exercise rider, to never call him Mongolian Saturday, only the Champion. In my training book, always write Champion.”
Enebish hopes to train another champion by Any Given Saturday. Mongolian Stable also sent out a winner in Yes Mongolia on Friday at Arlington, a 3-year-old filly by the same sire, out of the Giant's Causeway mare Yesenia. She broke her maiden in her fourth lifetime start, going a mile on the Arlington turf course in a time of 1:40.78.
“Yes Mongolia surprised me,” said Enebish. “I went to Hong Kong, then Mongolia, and after almost a month I came back and I couldn't recognize her. She became so big in just a month. She [continues to get] better and better. When the babies came from Kentucky, I said, 'this one is the best' based off of conformation I saw. I think I can try her on any kind of track, even dirt. She will not be a sprinter, but a long distance horse, which I want because the purse money is bigger. The longer races are worth more, even in Dubai.”
Enebish is not afraid to dream a little with his young filly. While he looks forward to maximizing her potential on track, with her pedigree he knows that winning big races will make her value as a broodmare prospect skyrocket. The Mongolian businessman in the trainer does not like to rule anything out.
“I really hope she becomes a stakes horse, because her [family] is very good… her grand-dam made almost $1,000,000 in America,” Enebish explained. “We breed horses in Kentucky, so maybe we will keep her as a broodmare, but if someone offers good money, who can say? In Mongolia, people say, 'man can sell anything except for his wife and his knife.'”
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