Defunded Owner Hopes to Reward Horse's Fans

Defunded | Benoit

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In Saturday's $20-million Saudi Cup, two-time Grade I winner Defunded (Dialed In) will be running for more than his owner, Dr. Muhaideb Al Muhaideb's HDB Racing. Should the horse win the Saudi Cup, the owner will give away 2 million Saudi Riyals to fans who follow him on the X site @muhadb1. Two million Riyals is worth US$533,000. The money will be divided among four winners.

If Defunded doesn't win but a Saudi-based horse does, Dr. Muhaideb will give away two Lexus SUV to his followers. If a horse without a Saudi connection wins, the prize will be one Lexus.

Muhaideb has 59,500 followers on X.

“Dr. Muhaideb is overwhelmed with excitement to be competing in the richest race in the world with his first horse as an owner,” said Muhaideb's stable manager Khalid Mishref. “He feels extremely honored to be representing Saudi Arabia on this world stage. Because of this he feels compelled to share this experience with the Saudi people and all racing fans around the world. From this, the idea of having a group of prizes to be drawn from engaging on social media was born. Horse racing is deeply ingrained in the culture of the Saudi people and we feel the future of horse racing is bound to benefit from the rapid development of Saudi racing with the help of the Saudi government, Prince Bandar and his esteemed team at the Jockey Club.”

In late December it was announced that Defunded, who is a gelding, had been privately acquired from owners Michael Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman by HDB Racing. Defunded left the U.S. on Dec. 17.

“Last year, Dr. Muhaideb Al Muhaideb entrusted me with the task of possibly securing a horse to compete in the 2024 Saudi Cup,” Mishref said. “With the assistance of Frankie O'Connor of Kildare Stud we managed to purchase Defunded for this mission.”

Defunded has not started since finishing second in the GI Awesome Again S. on Sept. 30 at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. He won the Awesome Again in 2022 and picked up another Grade I win in the GI Hollywood Gold Cup in May. He has career earnings of $1,666,600.

Luis Saez will have the mount for the race.

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