Remember when $6 million bought you a couple of bionic legs, bionic arms, and a bionic eye? Well, times have changed; that's the size of a race purse these days. A horse race, and these horses, to my knowledge, have no bionic parts whatsoever.
Of course I'm referring to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's little party that he throws at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, the Dubai World Cup. Admittedly, I'm not one to get too excited about the races in Dubai. Maybe it's because I'm not exactly sure where Dubai is located other than "somewhere in the Middle East where there's a good possibility there is a lot of sand". And I believe that it's Time Zone is 3 days ahead.
Admittedly, there is an excellent contingent of horses prepared to race on Saturday in Dubai: Discreet Cat, Invasor, Thor's Echo, Lava Man. But if there was one horse on the race card that could bounce me out of bed early on Saturday and head off to Lone Star Park for some free coffee and some races in some foreign land other than Canada, Nightmare Affair would be that horse.
I love that horse.
He does what a race horse is supposed to do: Races.
...Nightmare Affair has been an iron horse, with 45 races under his girth.
From those starts, he has compiled a remarkably consistent record of 11 wins and 21 seconds and thirds (including a third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint [Gr.1]) for earnings of US$1,113,464—and all without having to rely on medications like Lasix and Bute. [Dubai Racing Club Blog]
Nightmare Affair will be running in the 1200 meter (6 furlongs) Dubai Golden Shaheen (Gr. 1) with a purse of $2,000,000 which is 7,343,999 UAE Dirhams if you're converting currency at home. Horses cannot run on Lasix, Bute, nor Guiness Stout, which may prove to be advantageous for the 6-year-old gray. Also of note, 1200 meters at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse is a straightaway ... sort of like a long stretch; Nightmare Affair is a great closer.
Of course, 40 of Nightmare Affair's 45 races were in Florida. Travels to exotic locations such as Saratoga and Santa Anita resulted in 6th and 5th place finishes respectively. But let's not forget his third place finish in the 2006 TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint. Nor his third place finish in the De Francis Dash at Laurel.
And then there is the most important fact of all: I'm a sentimental dope. I have watched, wagered, and won on this horse since he broke his maiden. Every time I saw that he was racing, I would make a mental note to myself and say, "I need to make a few bucks (37 UAE Dirhams). I think I'll go to the track." He consistently landed in my exactas and trifectas. Even during the Breeders' Cup, I thought that he was clearly in over his head, but I could not resist placing at least a Show wager on him. And he generously returned the favor for my loyalty.
I love that horse.
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Photo copyright Michele MacDonald, Dubai Racing Club Blog
Note: All of the photos on the Dubai Racing Club Blog are wonderful. I cannot recall when I have seen such beautiful photos of horses. Be sure to visit the site and enjoy the talents of photographers Michele MacDonald and Andrew Watkins.