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Interpreting Godolphin

The public voices of Godolphin Stable, racing manager Simon Crisford and trainer Saeed bin Suroor, are often quite conservative and to the lay observer, empty. Most journalists who fail to follow the daily dialogue coming from these two soft-spoken men could easily believe they heard nothing informative. For our mutual benefit, I do not consider myself amongst the category of: “most journalists.”

Throughout the course of the week leading up to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), Saeed bin Suroor has been regularly quoted by the Kentucky Derby notes team, a collection of racing journalists and professionals assigned to follow the connections of the race’s probables.  Here are some of the comments made by Suroor throughout the week, all referring to his Derby charges, Regal Ransom and Desert Party:

“They’re in good form.  Happy.  Sound.  Healthy.  No problem at all with them.”
“When they were in Dubai they improved all the time, but since the last race they look much better than ever.”
“We come here with some confidence.  We’re looking to see our horses run a big race.”
“We tried coming from Dubai four times.  Now, I think we have better horses than what we saw in Dubai.”
“We’re trying this year and it looks to me that our horses are doing much, much better than ever.”
“They are going into this race 110 percent fit.  There is no excuse afterwards for fitness.  I hope no excuses happen in the race.”

These are just a selection – but, you get the point. 

For the person who doesn’t normally follow the comments made by the voices of Godolphin, these remarks seem, well, unremarkable.  Such a person would be wrong.  The comments throughout the week have been shockingly confident, almost, supremely confident. 

Take that last quote above once again…“They are going into this race 110 percent fit.  There is no excuse afterwards for fitness.  I hope no excuses happen in the race.”

For the uninitiated – that can be interpreted as…

“My horses are awesome.  I really couldn’t be happier.  Regal Ransom and Desert Party make the other horses we brought here before look like $2,500 claimers at Manor Downs, and considering we were never worse than ninth, that’s saying something.  We came here early for a reason – to make sure the horses acclimated well over this track, and boy, have they ever.  Outside of that, they have surprised me at how much they are loving the atmosphere here.  They are doing so well, I don’t know which one is going to win, but unless they run into some crazy trip, one of them will win, they could easily go first and second, too.  I’ll see you in the winner’s circle.”


  1. My thoughts exactly Pat.

  2. shhh….we’re trying to preserve the 15-1 on Desert Party or possible even inflate it!!!

    Nicely said though!


  3. slewofdamascus

    Did you see his quotes after the draw? He seemed genuinely excited, and quite honestly I have a hard time believing that excitement was over #19 for DP. I think he was excited because of the great draw for RR. If DP wins I’m going to feel pretty stupid, but when I watch the UAE, I see a colt, RR, going in the desireable direction and that includes how he ran through the finish (DP never got by) and his gallop out – it really was a scintillating performance. Because he did that from inside (facing outside pressure), I felt the draw was crucial for him if he were going to move forward again. Guess what happened? Quietly, he received the best draw in the field. Suroor said after the UAE that he always thought this one (RR) might be the “surprise” one day. I like DP, and he’s been galloping well and looking really good, it wouldn’t surpise me if he ran well, but I’m wagering primarily on RR.

  4. slewofdamascus

    The biggest concern I have RR, just to be clear, is his ‘disposition’, shall we say. He got “hot” for ten minutes yesterday while schooling in the paddock because he caught a glimpse of the horses racing; he’s got a questionable mind for the task (derby atmosphere). It’s going to be a shame if he falls to pieces, but I think it’s important to reconcile it before a wager is placed. After RR, I don’t have any strong feelings, outside of some general impressions on the strength of a given runner or region. Thanks for the forum. Onward and upward.

  5. There is a massive crowd at Nad Al Sheba and it is very easy to get riled up, but Regal Ransom was just fine. I don’t think there will be an issue.

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