Emblem Road Makes Successful Return in Riyadh

Emblem Road winning the 2022 Saudi Cup | JCSA/Neville Hopwood

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Prince Saud bin Salman Abdulaziz's Emblem Road (Quality Road), who caused one of the biggest upsets of the 2022 racing season anywhere in the world when defeating an international field in the $20-million G1 Saudi Cup, took a major step towards a defense of that title with a convincing four-length success in a $25,289 allowance going the one-turn 1600 meters at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh Friday.

Drawn gate four and asked to carry 62kg (136 pounds), the mount of Alexis Moreno was clearly last into stride and was guided into the clear inside the opening quarter-mile, then proceeded to improve his position into midfield passing the halfway point. Some six or seven wide into the bend, the 5-year-old caught the eye approaching the 600-meter marker as he began to wind up with a menacing run nearing the straight. Racing on his left lead, Emblem Road struck to the lead with about a furlong to travel and was pushed out under mild hands-and-heels encouragement to score by four lengths (see below).

A perennial leading local jockey, Moreno guided Emblem Road to three consecutive scores in 2021 and 2022, including the $213,000 Prince Faisal Cup, a local Saudi Cup prep, this time last year. When Moreno elected to retain the mount on King's Cup hero Making Miracles (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) for the Saudi Cup, that opened the door for Wigberto Ramos to take over aboard Emblem Road and the duo came storming down the center of the track to best Country Grammer (Tonalist) by a half-length, with Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow) third. Making Miracles was fourth.

Emblem Road, $230,000 Keeneland September yearling and $80,000 OBS June breezer, was winning for the eighth time from 11 starts overall. He was last seen in France last July when he finished fifth of sixth as the somewhat surprising favorite in the G3 Grand Prix de Vichy, his only start on the turf to date.

 

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