Stars and Stripes fly at Kempton

Just got back from a sort of surrealistic night at Kempton racecourse, where Mafaaz won a perfectly scripted inaugural Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes. Plastic American flags were being passed out at the entrances, Woodford Reserve was kind enough to provide free (!) mint juleps, a taped trumpeted call to post was played before every race and a stand usually called Le Creperie was tarted up as The American Diner – although it was still serving crepes.

Most of the people I talked to weren’t all that interested in the Kentucky Derby, but they said they might pay some attention now that John Gosden says he plans to take Mafaaz stateside.  Mafaaz is owned by Sheikh Hamdan, Sheikh Mo’s brother. Interesting to see that the horse gets a guaranteed post position after only the second start of his life, while Sheikh Mo is busy buying top Derby candidates and shipping them all over the world to try to accomplish the same thing. Sort of takes family rivalry to a whole new level.

We’ll see if Mafaaz actually ends up in the Run for the Roses. Gosden said tonight that he plans to ship to the States soon to run the Bluegrass as a prep for the Derby. A suivre…and pass me another free mint julep please…

0 Replies to “Stars and Stripes fly at Kempton”

  1. Free mint juleps…wow! Will have to judge him like a Cali horse running on the faux dirt in the BG…love the irony of the brotherly competition.

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