Kentucky-bred Emblem Road took down top prize in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Saturday, Feb. 26, topping a Kentucky-bred sweep of the top three placings in the world’s richest race at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh.
Ridden by Wigberto Ramos, Emblem Road, who is trained locally in Saudi Arabia, stormed down the center of the track to collar fellow Kentucky-breds Country Grammer and Midnight Bourbon close to home en route to a half-length victory. He stopped the clock in 1:50.52 for the 1,800 meters (1 1/8 miles). Country Grammer finished second and Midnight Bourbon was third. Emblem Road is a 4-year-old son of Quality Road owned by Prince Saud bin Salman Abdulaziz and trained by Mitab Almulawah.
Emblem Road was bred in the Bluegrass by Brushy Hill LLC. He first sold to Kinsman Farm at the 2019 Keeneland September sale for $230,000. He went through the ring again at the following year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales’ Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds for $80,000, where he was bought by Bruno DeBerdt, agent.
“My horse ran a great race, and I broke good. My horse was very strong,” said winning rider Wigberto Ramos. “He wanted to go early, but I took my time with him and took a little hold. The key on this track is that you have to be near the front when you pass the 800m. If you’re near, you are in a good position, and outside is the best part of the track. I think he could go on to the Dubai World Cup. He’s the kind of horse who can do it.”
Hisham Wahed, representing the winning barn, said, “Emblem Road had trained really well. It is a great feeling. All the people here are happy that we keep it in Saudi Arabia.”
Jockey Flavien Prat, who was aboard Country Grammer, said of the narrow defeat, “He ran great. When I pulled away, I thought I was going to win. I thought it was going to be enough, but the winner was just too good and finished harder.”
Emblem Road, produced from the Bernardini mare Venturini, is now a winner in 7-of-9 lifetime starts and has banked $10,204,734. He is undefeated in his two starts in 2022, having captured the King Faisal Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in his previous outing.