Dubai Preview: Shirl's Bee hard to beat in UAE 2,000 Guineas

February 9th, 2023

Some potential contenders for the main Kentucky Derby (G1) overseas qualifying race contest the UAE 2,000 Guineas (G3) at Meydan on Friday.

It’s one of two graded stakes races on the card in Dubai. Here are some plays for the two races.

Race 5, 11:20 a.m. ET: Blue Point Sprint (G2), turf, 1,000 meters (about 5 furlongs), 3yos plus

Blue Point Sprint Selections

  • #6 Lazuli
  • #8 Man Of Promise
  • #10 Pontos
  • #2 Acklam Express
  • #11 Raasel

Blue Point Sprint Wagers

  • $20 win: #6 Lazuli
  • $2 trifecta: 6, 8 with 6, 8 with 2, 10, 11

The race appears to be dominated by two of Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin runners. In a notable change, Godolphin number one jockey William Buick has jumped off #8 Man Of Promise, second at his last two starts, and on to #6 Lazuli following the latter’s victory over Man Of Promise in the Dubai Dash Jan. 6. Lazuli did win this last year and is probably better suited to five furlongs than his rival so it makes sense.

There are plenty of other good sprinters in the race to consider for exotics, among them #2 Acklam Express, #10 Pontos, and #11 Raasel.

Race 6, 11:55 a.m. ET: UAE 2,000 Guineas (G3), dirt, 1,600 meters (about one mile), 3yos

UAE 2,000 Guineas Selections

  • #6 Shirl’s Bee
  • #9 Tiger Nation
  • #5 Mr Raj
  • #8 Tall Boy

UAE 2,000 Guineas Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #6 Shirl’s Bee
  • $2 trifecta: 6, 9 with 6, 9 with 3, 4, 5, 8

Unbeaten locals #6 Shirl’s Bee and #9 Tiger Nation take on the U.S. invader #8 Tall Boy in an intriguing UAE 2,000 Guineas, also an important lead-up to the UAE Derby (G2), a Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier.

Tall Boy, from the Doug O’Neill barn, was last seen on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth to Practical Move in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). He was nearly 10 lengths from the winner and it remains to be seen how that form measures up here.

Shirl’s Bee was expected to run well on debut Dec. 23 and lived up to the hype, though Lahresh gave him a run for the money. Lahresh does not re-oppose him, but he won his subsequent start by more than four lengths, suggesting the form is good.

Tiger Nation is the highest-rated horse in the field, but the form hasn’t worked out as well behind him. Still, he’s done nothing but win and can’t be left out.

#3 Magic Petition and #5 Mr Raj look like others worth including in exotics, but I’m going to support Shirl’s Bee to retain his unbeaten record.