Emblem Road rallies to take the Saudi Cup for the Home Team in dramatic upset

February 26, 2022

With a sweeping rally coming down the stretch Emblem Road gallantly passed leader Country Grammer with Midnight Bourbon on the chase. Going off at 99-1, this win for owner Prince Saud bin Salman Abdulaziz was the biggest upset in the history of the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup. 

In a strong field of 14 including Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Marche Lorraine (JPN) and multiple-graded stakes winner Mandaloun, the pack broke from the gate with Emblem Road the slowest away, Dettori on Real World (IRE) not having a good start, Misriff (IRE) on the far outside, #12, Secret Ambition, setting the pace, Art Collector moving forward as well. Country Grammer positioned well on the inside in fourth.

Coming around the turn it was still Secret Ambition in the lead with Art Collector tucked behind his shoulder, Country Grammer coming up on the outside of the leader taking Midnight Bourbon with him as Emblem Road drew closer. It would be a battle to the finish line with a dramatic flair. 

Ridden by Ramos Wigberto and trained by Mitab Almulawah, Emblem Road completed the 1-1/8 miles in 1:50.53 and paid $229.20, 66.60 and 29.80. Country Grammer paid $8.80 and 6.20. While Midnight Bourbon paid $5.40 for show. Emblem Road collected part of the $20 million purse for the victory.

Making Miracles (GB) was fourth. Marche Lorraine and Mandaloun had faded in the pack.

Emblem Road bests Country Grammar to the wire in the $20 million Saudi Cup. (Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Douglas de Felice)

Emblem Road is coming off a win on January 15 in the King Faisal Cup. The dark bay colt is a Keeneland September 2019 grad sold for $230,000 and then purchased at the Ocala April 2020 Two-year-olds-in-training sale for $80,000. 

The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred is the son of Quality Road out of Bernardini mare Venturini. 

Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, summed up the occasion: “To have a locally trained horse perform that way is very emotional. I’m very happy for the connections, and I’m happy for Saudi Arabia. I think Mishriff, a Saudi-owned horse [the 2021 Saudi Cup winner], did amazing things to spread the love of horses. And now to have a locally-trained horse win it [the Saudi Cup] is extremely special, and I’m really excited about what this means for the future of horse racing in Saudi Arabia.”

This report has been updated. 

Past The Wire Staff

@jonathanstettin on hot streak! Picks Race8 at both @GulfstreamPark & @santaanitapark ow.ly//cyil307C3Tp #horseracing #PastTheWire

AMWager @AmWager View testimonials