Almost all of our focus was on CHARLATAN and KNICKS GO leading up to the race, during the race, and all the way up to the final turn where they led one-two — and then the racing gods winked at us. A third mystery horse, under a vigorous ride, was tailing the top pair, getting ever so closer. It was MISHRIFF! and he surged past KNICKS GO, set aim on CHARLATAN, and through the length of the stretch, put away his stubborn foe to score the upset. At 20-1 he defeats America's best dirt horses. CHARLATAN, game as ever, settled for second. GREAT SCOT got up for third, and KNICKS GO ran fourth.
The final time was 1:49.60 for the one mile and one-eighth run over the dirt.
It was an important move by jockey David Egan Jr. to keep MISHRIFF close to the leaders. To and through the final turn, Egan Jr. did not allow his horse to get too far back and have to rely on a flying finish. That's what did them in last year in the Saudi Derby, where MISHRIFF was asked to rally from further back, only to come up short and finish second. This time, with a closer trip, the 4-year-old colt is victorious.
After the race, trainer Bob Baffert commented that CHARLATAN ran too good to lose, and he was very proud of his effort. (This was in a text message from Bob Baffert to HorseRacingNation)
MISHRIFF paid $41.60 win, $12.80 to place, $6.40 to show. He is by MAKE BELIEVE out of CONTRADICT by RAVEN'S PASS. The winning owner was Prince A A Faisal.
MISHRIFF has now won 5 of 9 starts and banked $10-million from this victory. He's a probable for the Dubai World Cup-G1 or the Dubai Turf-G1 on March 27th, 2021.
It was a disappointing effort from KNICKS GO for trainer Brad Cox. He broke alertly but failed to secure the lead where he normally likes to be. CHARLATAN had the quicker foot and KNICKS GO had to rate in second from the rail. KNICKS GO came up empty in the stretch, being passed by GREAT SCOT, who swung out toward the middle of the track just in time to grab third.