Dubai: Emirati handler Mahmoud Al Zarouni is hoping that his Breeders’ Cup contender Artigiano will be “a more focused horse” when he runs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Saturday
Al Zarouni, who has forged a growing list of big-race victories, is hopeful of another good effort from the Distorted Humour colt following encouraging performances in the Vintage Stakes and Royal Lodge in England.
The two-year-old exercised on the dirt track at Santa Anita on Tuesday and although he appeared to be a little unsettled by his new surroundings Al Zarouni remained buoyant.
“Artigiano went around the main track one and a half times after warming up on the inner track,” he said on the Godolphin website.
“Tomorrow, he will do the same and then one easy canter before race day on Saturday.
“Just watching him, you can tell he is a bit green still; looking at everything. It is all new for him and it takes time, especially for this horse. Some horses learn first time but you need to repeat things with Artigiano,” the handler added.
“He will be better after today and I expect a more relaxed horse tomorrow. He has never seen anything like this — Newmarket is quieter.
“It is good for him to learn and I expect a more focused horse on Saturday.”
Al Zarouni said the Godolphin-owned Artigiano had a break before the Royal Lodge Stakes and had improved for that run.
“I was very happy with his performance in the Royal Lodge and I think that a level track like Santa Anita will suit him better,” said Al Zarouni.
“The ground will be fine for him and everything looks to be in his favour at the moment.”
Artigiano, who breaks from stall two with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, faces 13 opponents including some strong contenders from Great Britain.
“It seems there will be strong European challenge in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but Artigiano has been consistent all year and has run well against the best two-year-olds,” said Al Zarouni.
“We always knew that he was crying out for a mile because he is a nice, big horse and I am hopeful of another good performance.”