Tuesday, July 5, 2011

They Race Arabians??? Really?

TM Fred Texas and Dixies Valentine Battle It Out
That was my reaction October 10, 2010.  My friend and I were in Lexington for the World Equestrian Games, and were having dinner at the restaurant next to our hotel. We'd spent a lovely day at the opening day of Keeneland, with one of my clients and his charming wife showing us around the track.  We'd then spent the remainder of the day at the WEG.  For two horse enthusiasts, it was pretty much an ideal day.

We were sitting at the bar (I guess you could say our cups were literally running over!) and noticed a diminutive man just around the corner of the bar to our left.  We struck up a conversation, and as it often does in Kentucky, the talk turned to horses.  We told him how we'd spent our day, and he said if we were heading back to Keeneland the next day, we should look him up, as he'd be riding the "Zenyatta of Arabian Racing," a horse called Sand Witchh, in the Grade I, President of the United Arab Emirates Cup. 

We couldn't help ourselves -- we goggled.  Really, we thought he was yanking our chain. Sure enough, we Googled away, and Jockey Billy Hollick, the guy we were chatting with, was scheduled to ride Sand Witchh the next day.  Even wackier?? Calvin Borel, rider of Derby winners Street Sense, Mine That Bird, and Super Saver,  was also scheduled to ride in the race.

Sadly, a horse named Grilla beat Sand Witchh that day, but fast forward almost a year and Arabian racing is back in the Bluegrass state, now at the fabled Churchill Downs.

This was the action on June 18th, 2011, when Arabian racing came to Churchill Downs for the $50,000 President of United Arab Emirates Cup.

Check it out. Be prepared to FF to 26.46 minutes to actually see the race.



  1. Who knew? I had no idea.... I always love meeting jockeys. Feels like meeting a celebrity to me!

  2. I don't follow racing, but it's always struck me as kind of funny how little known the Arabian racing industry is (maybe they don't want to take anything away from the Thoroughbreds ;o)
    I will say one thing having watched our girls at play, those Arabs can - most definitely - RUN.