There is more than one mare entered in the President of the UAE Cup Grade 1 Arabian Stake race next Saturday, May 19th at Pimlico, but Dixies Valentine, the entry of Guy Neivens from nearby Rigbie Farm, is certainly getting her share of the big race’s spotlight. The Nivour de Cardonne daughter out of the Wiking mare, Dixie Darlene, hasn’t had a race since last November’s Buzz Brauninger Distaff Handicap, but she won that one handily over another mare entered this Saturday, Sanddpiper.
It was Dixies Valentine that gave T M Fred Texas the real run for his money at Churchill Downs last June in the President of the UAE Cup, running a beautiful race with the well-known Calvin Borel in the irons. Rigbie Farm owner Sharon Clark is justifiably proud of the 7-year-old, Darley Award winning chestnut mare.
“Dixies Valentine was off for a year before the 2011 President of the UAE Cup while we accomplished three embryo transfers,” says Clark. “Back in training only a short time, she ran a spectacular race at Churchill Downs. We’re very excited to see her run Saturday at Pimlico.”
Clark’s Rigbie Farm in Darlington, Maryland has been an important training and breeding facility for four decades. A primary CEM import quarantine facility on the east coast and an export facility that works closely with the USDA to ship horses all over the world, Clark’s was the first farm in Maryland to serve as an agent and ship horses to China in early March of 2012. In 1992 Rigbie Farm became part of the American Arabian racing industry’s hierarchy by racing and standing Calin De Louve, one of the first French-bred Arabian racing sires in America for breeder Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed and owner, Guy Neivens. It was the beginning of a long association and a major introduction for the French/American Arabian race horse breeding cross, a success story that is still making headlines at tracks globally in 2012. Rigbie Farm has also represented horses and owners that have won 18 Darley Awards since 1993.
Today, with the President of the UAE Cup Grade 1 Arabian Stake race coming up in a few days at Pimlico, Clark is charged with the electricity, excitement and implications of the race. “It’s a huge race; very special for those who own and breed Arabian race horses,” says Clark. “What we are seeing overseas with Arabians racing for large stakes at Longchamps, Ascot and in the Middle East, and in America at Keenelend, Churchill Downs and Pimlico has the power to set the stage for a future Arabian horse race at the Breeder’s Cup. At the Keeneland race in particular the Thoroughbred breeders and owners were sincerely interested in Arabian racing. It’s great publicity for those who own Arabians and for those from The Middle East who are anxious to show off the Arabian horse as the foundation breed for the Thoroughbred and as a symbol of Middle Eastern heritage and culture.”
What better cultural representative to win the first Arabian race ever held at the prestigious Pimlico race track on Preakness Day than a world class mare with great credentials, from a globally respected Eastern breeding farm? The romantic money, and possibly the smart money, is on the Arabian “sweetheart” Dixies Valentine.