Godolphin is one of the world’s premier racing establishments. The powerhouse stable is owned and operated by the Maktoum family, who are the rulers of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Created in 1992, the stable is named in honor of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the three founding sires of the modern Thoroughbred; their breeding operation, Darley, is named for another.
The stable is large enough to have three trainers (Saeed bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby, and James Cummings) and three jockeys (William Buick, James Doyle, and Mickael Barzalona) on permanent retainer.
Coming into the third decade of the 21st century, Godolphin had already ensconced itself as a major player in the international racing scene. Their power has spread to fourteen different countries: the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Singapore, and Turkey.
Their horses have amassed an amazing 288 Grade/Group I races worldwide. Among those, highlights include seven Breeders’ Cup races and ten editions of the Group I Dubai World Cup.
And yet, it seems like the massive stable’s best days may still be ahead of them. Godolphin continues to coast from win to win, snowballing in prestige as they go and with one month to go until one of the biggest events of the horse racing calendar, the Breeders’ Cup news are hyping them up.
Godolphin was named leading owner at what is likely the most prestigious meet in the world, Royal Ascot. They collected three victories, which included among them Kemari’s win in the Group II Queen’s Vase and Creative Force’s win over stablemate Naval Crown in the Group III Jersey Stakes.
In the United States, Godolphin was named the Eclipse Champion Outstanding Owner for 2021. They topped all US-based owners in number of Grade/Group I wins with 25. Two of those Grade I wins were with Essential Quality, a Brad Cox trainee who was victorious in the Belmont Stakes as well as the Grade I Travers Stakes.
They also captured Breeders’ Cup races with Yibir (Turf), Space Blues (Mile), and Modern Games (Juvenile Turf), the latter being one of the more controversial races of modern times. Modern Games’s stablemate, Albahr, was scratched at the gate, and it was erroneously announced at first that Modern Games was scratched as well. It was only after the “scratch” was announced to the Breeders public that the on-site veterinarians clarified that there was no reason to scratch Modern Games, and he was permitted to run, but for “purse money only,” meaning that bettors would not be able to collect on him. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for Modern Games and Godolphin, he won handily.
The Hits Keep On Comin’
Godolphin’s international stampede continued into 2022. As of September 23rd, their 2022 statistics show 476 wins, 122 stakes wins, and 19 Grade/Group I wins.
In Europe, Godolphin was the leading owner at Royal Ascot for the second year in a row. Their wins at the historic meet included Group I victories in the St. James’ Palace Stakes with Coroebus and the Platinum Jubilee Stakes with Naval Crown. The latter race was especially exciting, with the runner-up being fellow Godolphin trainee Creative Force, meaning that the outcome was the exact reverse of last year’s Jersey Stakes.
In the United States, Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby attended the prestigious Saratoga meet for the first time. There, he took the middle leg of both of the New York Racing Association’s Turf Triple Series. First, his Nations Pride won the Grade I Saratoga Derby, and the following day, he added the Grade III Saratoga Oaks with his filly, With the Moonlight.
A few weeks later, Godolphin returned to North America to launch an assault on the Win And You’re In races, in which the winner receives a berth into one of the Breeders’ Cup races as well as having their expenses paid for. Modern Games won decisively in the Grade I Woodbine Mile, a qualifying race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and Mysterious Knight’s win in the (Canadian) Grade I Pattison Summer Stakes will earn him a slot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
The races outside of the Win And You’re In series proved lucrative as well. Nations Pride once again took center stage, this time in the final leg of the Turf Triple, the Grade III Jockey Club Derby. While not a Win And You’re In the automatic qualifier, this makes Nations Pride a strong contender for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.