Hot Rod Charlie Wins In Dubai

Hot Rod Charlie in full flight at Meydan |

The G1 Dubai World Cup was nominated late last season as the next major goal for the Grade I-winning and dual Classic-placed Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), and the 4-year-old will head to that $12-million contest on Mar. 26 a key contender after a five-length victory in Friday's G2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 at Meydan.

Hot Rod Charlie was caught on the wire last out in the GII San Antonio S. going 1700 metres at Santa Anita, but he had no such trouble in the Al Maktoum Challenge over a furlong further.

Away well, Hot Rod Charlie's was one of four heads bobbing for the lead as the field passed the finish line for the first time, and his rail trip gave him the advantage as they rounded the first turn. Al Nefud (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), the winner of his last two starts over the course, was not keen to allow the American raider an easy lead, and he came wide to put his head in front as they straightened for the run down the backstretch. It was Hot Rod Charlie's red noseband that was once again in front, however, as they cornered for the second time, and though Al Nefud gave it a valiant try, Hot Rod Charlie shook him off with a few reminders from William Buick's stick and eventually drew clear to win by a comfortable 5 1/4 lengths. Al Nefud stuck on for second, while the 2019 GI Preakness S. second Everfast (Take Charge Indy), who won his local debut on Dec. 2, was third.

California-based trainer Doug O'Neill has sent a string over for the carnival, and he got off to a winning start earlier on the card with Get Back Goldie (Goldencents) winning the second race. O'Neill, who made the trip over for the card, said before the race he thought Hot Rod Charlie was at about 70%.

“I think I had probably overtrained him going into his last race, and for this race, purposely with the travel, we undertrained him a bit,” he said. “He ran super and now we have a big gap before the next one so we're super excited and flying high.

“The plan is that we'll keep him here and we'll have nice spacing until the World Cup, so now we just have to keep him injury-free. We're super excited.”

A $17,000 short yearling purchase in 2019 who was pinhooked for $110,000 when bought by Doug O'Neill's brother Dennis eight months later, Hot Rod Charlie broke his maiden at fourth asking at two and blew up the tote board when a 100-1 second to Essential Quality (Tapit) in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in 2020. Beaten a neck when third behind eventual GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) in the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. back at Santa Anita to kick off his 3-year-old campaign, Hot Rod Charlie won the GII Louisiana Derby en route to Churchill Downs. He finished third behind Medina Spirit and Mandaloun (Into Mischief) in the Kentucky Derby, and was second to Essential Quality in the GI Belmont S. after setting a hot pace that he only surrendered late on. Hot Rod Charlie's run of hard luck continued in the GI Haskell S. when he hit the wire first, but was disqualified and placed last for crossing over too closely in front of Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow) in the lane, causing that rival to stumble badly and lose his rider. Hot Rod Charlie at last got his Grade I next out in the GI Pennsylvania Derby, but not before his connections had to sweat out an inquiry after he floated Midnight Bourbon wide coming off the turn. Hot Rod Charlie was fourth behind Knicks Go (Paynter) in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic.

Pedigree Notes

Hot Rod Charlie is the fifth foal out of Indian Miss (Indian Charlie), and is a half-brother to champion sprinter and four-time Grade I winner and young sire Mitole (Eskendereya). Indian Miss, who was bought by Larry Best's OXO Equine for $1.9-million at Keeneland November in 2020, has an as-yet unraced 3-year-old filly by Into Mischief named Indigo Miss, a yearling colt also by Into Mischief and she has already foaled a colt by Instagrand this season. Indian Miss is out of the listed-winning Glacken's Gal (Smoke Glacken) and is a half-sister to the GII Davona Dale S. winner Live Lively (Medaglia d'Oro).

Friday, Meydan, Dubai
AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE R2 PRESENTED BY THE LONGINES RECORD-G2, $350,000, Meydan, 2-4, 3yo/up, 9 1/2f, 1:57.41, fs.
1–HOT ROD CHARLIE, 125, c, 4, by Oxbow
                1st Dam: Indian Miss, by Indian Charlie
                2nd Dam: Glacken's Gal, by Smoke Glacken
                3rd Dam: Lady Diplomat, by Silver Deputy
($17,000 Ylg '19 FTKFEB; $110,000 Ylg '19 FTKOCT). O-Boat
Racing, LLC, Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck), Roadrunner
Racing & William Strauss; B-Edward A. Cox (KY); T-Doug F.
O'Neill; J-William Buick. $210,000. Lifetime Record: GISW-US,
14-4-3-3, $2,721,633. *1/2 to Mitole (Eskendereya),
Ch. Sprinter & MGISW-US, $3,104,910. Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Al Nefud (GB), 125, g, 4, Dubawi (Ire)–Albasharah, by Arch.
(UAE425,000 HRA '21 RACINGINDUBAI). O-Al Rashid Stables
LLC; B-Godolphin (GB); T-Bhupat Seemar. $70,000.
3–Everfast, 126, g, 6, Take Charge Indy–Awesome Surprise, by
Awesome Again. ($47,000 Ylg '17 KEEJAN). O-Kildare Stud –
Frankie O'Connor; B-Extern Developments (KY); T-Doug
Watson. $35,000.
Margins: 5 1/4, 7HF, 3/4.
Also Ran: For The Top (Arg), Thegreatcollection, Go On, New Trails, Eastern World (Ire), Roman Rosso (Arg), Fire Group, Quip, Kafoo. Click for the Emirates Racing chart. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO.

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