Aurora, CO – References to “superstar” and “legend in the making” could be heard around Churchill Downs after Quick Sand AA (Burning Sand x Triumphs Silkie), bred and owned by Joe & Betty Gillis of Columbus, Mississippi, extended his undefeated 2018 season with a dominant 9-length win in the 2018 President of the UAE Cup Stake (G1) on Saturday evening, September 29th under the bright lights of the historic twin spires.
The handsome 5-year-old grey stallion, now boasting a lifetime earnings of $260,231, chased the pace early behind Madjikman and Easter Man, allowing Thess is Awesome and Uptown Sandy Girl (the lone filly of the field) to set the pace in front. It all changed as they rounded the second turn when Thess is Awesome dropped back and Quick Sand challenged Uptown Sandy Girl and began pulling away at the top of the stretch. By the final furlong, the race belonged to Quick Sand AA as he took the $100,000 President of the UAE Cup in extraordinary, breathtaking fashion with a final time of 1:54.65 going 1 1/16 miles.
The win was his fifth consecutive of 2018 – four being Grade 1 stakes, including the Hundred Years Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Stakes at Sam Houston Race Track (March), the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Award Stake at Santa Anita Park (April), the Delaware Park Arabian Classic Handicap (August), and now the President of the U.A.E. Cup at Churchill Downs. This impressive season sets him up for major consideration as Darley Horse of the Year, and will likely also earn him an invitation to the world’s richest Arabian horse race, the €1.2 million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi this November.
As if the story could get any better, Burn Em Joey, a full sibling to Quick Sand AA also bred and owned by the Gillis’, won the Delaware Park Arabian Juvenile Championship Stakes (G3) decisively by five lengths earlier that evening, demonstrating the innate natural talent that is part of this potent bloodline combination that continues to deliver extraordinary results for the Gillis’, whose breeding talent has earned them Darley awards in both Owner and Breeder categories the last two consecutive years, with high probability of another pair for 2018 due to their resounding success this season.
“Our experience at Churchill Downs was emotionally charged with gratification for 26 years of breeding and always trying to get that special horse,” said Joe Gillis. “Having made it to second place on several occasions makes you want to win even more. Quick Sand AA, out of our fine foundation mare, Triumphs Silky, by Seyvilla Triumph and Burning Sand, has developed into that special horse. He has gotten better each year, living in the shadows of stable mate Easter Man. This year he has surpassed Easter Man and is continually getting better.”
Joe gave much credit to Quick Sand’s trainer, 2017 Darley Trainer of the Year, Jerenesto Torrez.
“Quick Sand has always been fast, but Jerenesto has patiently taught him to run long,” Gillis remarked.
“The horse ran a beautiful race, no doubt,” said Torrez. “It was the best race of his career thus far, and he just keeps getting better with every race. This is a horse that can go from either off the lead or on the lead, and still run a very strong race. He came out of [the race] sound, happy and healthy. Quick Sand is certainly one of my favorite horses of my career.”
Quick Sand AA was led to victory by Sasha Risenhoover, a decorated jockey who rides both Thoroughbreds and Arabians, and has ridden the earners of over $5 million in purses and won over 350 races of her eight-year jockey career. Risenhoover was also the jockey for Quick Sand AA’s win in the $100,000 Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Awards Stake (G1) at Santa Anita Park in April 2018.
This was the 6th time since 2011 a race for purebred Arabian horses was staged at the world-famous Churchill Downs.
“Churchill Downs is honored to have served as the host track for the USA stop on this prestigious event tour, the President of the UAE Cup, during six of the past eight years,” said Kristin Warfield, Vice President of Partnerships at Churchill Downs. “It has become a treasured new tradition, and our fans and staff truly appreciate the beauty of these horses. We hope to remain a part of the Arabian racing community for many years to come.”
The President of the UAE Cup Series is the longest running Arabian race series in the world. It began in 1992, and was the first series to visit France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, Egypt, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Turkey, UAE, Russia and the United States. This race at Churchill Downs marks the 13th time it has been run in America, with plans to return in 2019.
“The President of the UAE Cup is proud to be associated with Arabian racing in America,” said Faisal Al Rahmani, President of the UAE Cup Series. “We value our long-term relationship with Churchill Downs, the Arabian Jockey Club and the Arabian Horse Registry. Racing at Churchill Downs is always a privilege and a pleasure for the President’s Cup. The vast support the President’s Cup receives from owners, trainers and jockeys justifies the investment in our program. The increase in breeding numbers testifies to the great efforts of the Arabian racing community in the USA and the President’s Cups steady significant commitment to the industry as a whole.”
Neil Abrahams, member of the Organizing Committee for the President’s Cup Series, continued with a similar sentiment.
“We are very grateful to Churchill Downs for their continued support of the President’s Cup,” said Abrahams. “We are thankful for the efforts of [Churchill Downs Vice President of Partnerships] Kristin Warfield and her team, as well as [Churchill Downs Director of Racing / Racing Secretary] Ben Huffman, for their continued support and counsel.”
Arabian Jockey Club President, Susan Meyer, echoed Abrahams thoughts.
“We want to thank our generous sponsor, the UAE President’s Cup, for selecting this amazing venue to hold this very prestigious Grade 1 stakes race,” said Meyer. “We also thank Churchill Downs for making all of us in the Arabian community feel so welcome. Downs After Dark is so much fun, the feeling is electric, and the fantastic race only added to the excitement of the night. A big thank you to the owners and trainers who brought the top horses in the USA to compete under the Twin Spires! You did us all proud.”
To view the race as well as live coverage from the entire day, visit www.Facebook.com/TheAJClub. Then mark your calendars to watch the finest Arabian racehorses in the world on November 9th for the €1.2 million Jewel Crown, as the Arabian Jockey Club brings you the race live, in addition to behind-the-scenes coverage of the race, the track, the contenders, and the events surrounding the Arabian race of the year.