BC Internationals: Mile contender Karar
Like Home of the Brave, Karar is an also-ran from the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) who’s much happier to get the opportunity he really wanted all along in the Mile (G1).
Trained by Francis-Henri Graffard, the Al Shaqab runner enters in similarly fine form this time around. Karar’s international profile for last year outlined his troubled third in the Prix du Pin (G3) and his bang-up second in the Prix de la Foret (G1) on the way to Santa Anita.
Although the Turf Sprint figured to be too quick for him, Karar fluffed whatever chance he might have had by totally missing the break. He found himself dead last behind them all, then rushed up and burned more energy by making up a lot of ground into the teeth of Obviously’s warp pace. Karar was spent by that effort and gave way in last.
Eighth in his May 1 reappearance in the Prix du Muguet (G2), Karar was a better third in the Prix du Palais-Royal (G3). He looked to be retreating before finding another little burst to snare a placing to Godolphin’s promising Inns of Court, who later missed by a whisker in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1).
Karar received class relief in a minor four-runner event at Clairefontaine (click link for replay). The bare result indicates he was edged as the odds-on favorite. But that obscures the fact that he tacked all the way across to the stands’ side and just missed to a rival who stayed on the far side.
Returning for another crack at the Prix du Pin, Karar made his own luck with a strong front-running effort to earn his first stakes victory.
Karar kept to the same itinerary by making another appearance in the Prix de la Foret, and recorded his second hard-earned placing. Again up on the pace, he fought on determinedly but couldn’t contain the closing kick of smart British shipper Aclaim. So Beloved, a stablemate of Suedois’ from the David O’Meara yard, flashed home to deny Karar second on the line.
As a genuine sort with tactical ability, Karar warrants his place in the Mile, but he would need to reach a new level to pose a major threat. He doesn’t have the panache of Al Shaqab’s primary hope, Zelzal, who bears the potent Mile angle of being French more compellingly than does Karar. Although Karar finished ahead of him in the Foret, Zelzal is obviously better than his sixth on unsuitably soft ground. Frankie Dettori picks up the mount on Karar, but that’s likely because Zelzal’s jockey, Gregory Benoist, is Al Shaqab’s principal rider in France.
File photo of Karar (training for last year's Breeders' Cup) by Lauren J Pomeroy/Horsephotos.com