An American in Dubai.
That’s the adventure Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will embark on next month when heads overseas to run Bravazo in the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates.
“I’ve never been there,” Lukas said Thursday.
Bravazo, who last month was fourth in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park, will be the first overseas starter for Lukas. It’s rare new racing territory for the 83-year-old. Lukas has won more Breeders’ Cup races, 20, than any other trainer.
“I don’t want to run in this race, or the Arc de Triomphe, unless I feel like I can be competitive,” Lukas said.
Bravazo is a maturing runner in the best form of his career, Lukas said. The Grade 2 winner was third to City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November, then proceeded to close his 3-year-old season with a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, beaten a neck in the race at Churchill. Bravazo hooked City of Light again in the Pegasus and finished 12 lengths behind that dominant winner on a sloppy track Jan. 26.
Bravazo earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 94 in the Pegasus.
“His effort was good, I thought, considering we were in the one-hole,” Lukas said. “He got pinned down in there, so he took all the worst of it on the trip. I think some horses, when they get down in there and they’re restricted that long and don’t have a clean trip, they get discouraged. He finished up good in the stretch.”
Bravazo, a Calumet Farm homebred by Awesome Again, earned $700,000 in the Pegasus to push his career earnings just over $2 million. A rider has not yet been decided for the Dubai World Cup, Lukas said. Bravazo will prep for the race at his winter base of Oaklawn Park.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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