It’s off to Dubai for Country Grammer and Midnight Bourbon, back to the US for Mandaloun and Art Collector and a roving question mark for Emblem Road and Mishriff. This is the post-Saudi Cup itinerary for several of the principals of the third edition of the world’s richest horse race, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Emblem Road-Saudi Wrap
Wigberto Ramos celebrates a 99/1 upset aboard Emblem Road in the Saudi Cup. He may follow Americans Country Grammer and Midnight Bourbon to the Dubai World Cup in March. (Image: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Mathea Kelley

Local product and 99/1 moon shot Emblem Road beat Country Grammer by a half-length to claim the $10 million first prize from the $20 million purse. Emblem Road’s upset paid $229.20 in North American betting pools. He has run exclusively in Saudi Arabia and could ship over to Dubai for the March 26 Group 1 Dubai World Cup.

According to the DRF, that’s the next destination for Country Grammer. The 5-year-old Tonalist progeny hadn’t run in 250 days, or since winning the Hollywood Gold Cup last May at Santa Anita Park. Elliott Walden, the president of WinStar Farm, which owns Country Grammer, told the DRF he’s expected to join his stablemate, Life Is Good, in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup.

He’ll do so with $3.5 million added to his career earnings, courtesy of that runner-up finish.

Horseplayers taking a deep flier also added to their career earnings. The $2 exacta with Emblem Road and Country Grammer paid $1,938.60 in North American pari-mutuel pools. The $1 trifecta with Midnight Bourbon paid $8,799.40.

Midnight Bourbon headed to Dubai $2 million richer

Speaking of of Midnight Bourbon, Dubai is his next destination as well. He picked up $2 million for his 13th in-the-money finish in 15 races. That third, coming by 1 1/2 lengths, pushes Midnight Bourbon’s career earnings north of $3.15 million.

Awaiting all of them is Hot Rod Charlie, who has been in the Middle East since January. He prepped for the Dubai World Cup by winning a Feb. 4 tune-up race.

Heading in the other direction is Mandaloun, the North American betting favorite, who finished a disappointing ninth after being in contention entering the stretch. It was his worst finish since the newly minted Kentucky Derby champion finished a poor sixth in the Louisiana Derby nearly a year ago.

Time for Mandaloun to recharge, regroup

“Mandaloun will come home next week and regroup,” Juddmonte Farm General Manager Garrett O’Rourke told the DRF. “No obvious excuse, but not enough confidence to move forward as we know he’s much better than that.”

Also headed home is Art Collector, who finished 12th in the 14-horse field after a pace-pressing trip failed to sustain itself. That marked the second consecutive off-the-board finish after three straight victories. The son of Bernardini finished sixth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

But Art Collector’s trainer, Bill Mott, will send Casa Creed to the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai. That, after Art Collector’s stablemate finished second in the 1351 Sprint on the Saudi Cup undercard.

The other question mark involves Mishriff, who went from first in the 2021 Saudi Cup to 14th and worst in the 2022 edition. There was no word from trainers John and Thady Gosden regarding the 5-year-old’s next destination.