Should the connections of top female American sprinter Indian Blessing decide to run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, the historical odds are against her. Bob Baffert scratched his two-time Eclipse Award winner from today’s Santa Monica Handicap and plans on keeping her in training up to the big sprint in Dubai.
The modern history of the Dubai Golden Shaheen dates to 2000. Previously, the race had been run as the Nad al Sheba Sprint but failed to garner the attention until 2000, when Sheikh Mohammed transformed the Dubai World Cup into a gargantuan night of racing.
Since 2000, 13 females have been entered in the race and the best finish by an American was Xtra Heat, third in the 2002 edition, beaten just 3.5 lengths by Caller One. Bear Fan, a Wesley Ward trainee, checked in with the second-best finish by a Yank, finishing 5th in 2005 behind Saratoga County. Considering that Xtra Heat was one of the top sprinters of the decade, this should say something about her title as the highest finisher amongst her gender.
Other fillies and mares to contest the race: Dantelah (2000, 8th), Serenita (2001, 5th), Pipalong (2001, 10th), Broad Appeal (2002, 5th), Misty Eyed (2002, 12th), Cacique Bar (2002, 13th), My Belle Jour (2003, 4th), National Colour (2007, 16th), Sarissa (2008, 11th).
Americans have dominated the race, winning all but one of the runnings (2003 - State City). So if you are looking for an angle, Indian Blessing’s hopes aren’t dashed based on her country or origin. Here are the previous winners since the race was upgraded to the Golden Shaheen: 2000 – Big Jag (Tim Pinfield), 2001, 2002 – Caller One (James Chapman), 2004 – Our New Recruit (John Sadler), 2005 – Saratoga County (George Weaver), 2006 – Proud Tower Too (Sal Gonzalez), 2007 – Kelly’s Landing (Eddie Kenneally), 2008 – Benny The Bull (Rick Dutrow).