Mimi Kakushi seeks a classic double after romping in the UAE 1000 Guineas (Photo by Dubai Racing Club)
The Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail makes a stop in Dubai on Friday for the $150,000 UAE Oaks (G3), the first scoring race offering 50 points to the winner. Two-time Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer Doug O’Neill has sent Ami Please as part of his Dubai Carnival team, and the California shipper takes on local star Mimi Kakushi in the about 1 3/16-mile test at Meydan.
Post time is 10:10 a.m. (ET) Friday, and you can watch and wager on the Dubai Carnival at TwinSpires.com
Here are four talking points for the UAE Oaks:
1. Ami Please hopes to emulate stablemate Tall Boy’s win in the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3).
Another O’Neill trainee, Tall Boy, just toppled the locals to break his maiden in last Friday’s UAE 2000 Guineas (G3). Ami Please has a different profile from Tall Boy, who was coming off a fourth in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). She has been racing in turf stakes, most recently finishing third in the Dec. 30 Blue Norther S., and now switches to dirt. But Ami Please has the forward running style that often plays well at Meydan, and her sire, Goldencents, won such major races as the 2013 Santa Anita Derby (G1) and back-to-back runnings of the Breeders’ Cup
Dirt Mile (G1) for O’Neill.
2. Highly-regarded Mimi Kakushi ran away with the UAE 1000 Guineas.
Trainer Salem bin Ghadayer has hailed Kentucky-bred Mimi Kakushi as the best filly he’s had. From the first crop of City of Light, hero of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and 2019 Pegasus World Cup
(G1), and out of multiple Grade 2 winner Rite Moment, Mimi Kakushi sold for $250,000 as a two-year-old in training at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic May Sale. She finished fourth in her first two starts, but turned the corner as soon as she added cheekpieces. Mimi Kakushi scored in the conditions race dubbed the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial, and she rolled to an even bigger win in the Guineas itself, more than doubling her margin to 4 1/2 lengths. The stretch-out in distance for the Oaks could be a question mark.
3. Asawer hopes that equipment changes help her turn the tables.
, a $450,000 purchase at the same Midlantic May Sale, is a Maryland-bred daughter of 2016 Kentucky Derby champion Nyquist (who was trained by O’Neill). Hailing from the immediate family of multiple Grade 1 star Cyberknife, Asawer shaped with great promise
for trainer Doug Watson. She was a rallying third on debut, and again closed well for second to Mimi Kakushi in the Trial. But in the Guineas, Asawer never factored in a disappointing fourth. She adds a visor and shadow roll on Friday, and it’s noteworthy that stable jockey Pat Dobbs sticks with Asawer. Dobbs had the option of riding Watson’s other runner, Awasef
, who was best of the rest behind Mimi Kakushi in the Guineas.
4. Last year’s winner, Shahama, went on to compete in the Kentucky Oaks.
Shahama, who swept the 2022 UAE 1000 Guineas and Oaks, used her points to land a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs. Although she was a slow-starting, wide-trip sixth in the Kentucky Oaks, Shahama later finished second in the Mother Goose (G2), and she earned a U.S. graded victory in the Monmouth Oaks (G3). Might Friday’s heroine advance to the first Friday in May? Stay tuned!