Condé Nast Portfolio
May 2007 issue
By Daniel Roth
Betting is not allowed at the Nad al-Sheba racetrack in Dubai. Gambling is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, so the thousands of race fans there spend the intervals between post times kicking soccer balls or buying trinkets from vendors who lay out their wares on the Bermuda grass. It’s a cool night in January—it gets too hot here to race during the day—and floodlights illuminate the five-story, glass-and-steel space-station-style grandstands. In the distance are the skyscrapers Dubai is famous for; almost all have cranes on top, signaling that they’re only going to get higher.
Just after 9:30 p.m., the crowd suddenly starts moving, packing in tightly near the parade ring, where the winning horses and jockeys receive their prizes. Kufis brush against baseball caps as locals strain to get a view of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who has stopped by to take in the action.
Sheik Mohammed is the ruler of Dubai, the prime minister of the seven-state United Arab Emirates, and the most powerful man in the world of horse racing. At 57, he moves with an athlete’s quickness. At one point, while chatting with a jockey, he lifts the hem of his blue dishdasha, revealing a heavily muscled calf. On his head is a crisp white headdress. He turns to a slim British man standing next to him: “Who won?”
Simon Crisford manages Godolphin, Sheik Mohammed’s top racing operation. A onetime Racing Post writer, Crisford now spends half the year in Dubai and half in his native Britain.
“A German horse, sir,” says Crisford.
“That’s good!” says Sheik Mohammed, smiling broadly. “Very good.” The German owners not only beat Sheik Mohammed’s entry, which placed second, but walked away with $72,000—much, if not all, of it the ruler’s money. At most tracks, the house skims off a percentage of gamblers’ bets to cover costs and finance the winner’s purse. Here, the $31 million in prize money that Nad al-Sheba will pay out during its main 11-week season comes mostly from “the Boss,” as Sheik Mohammed’s employees refer to him out of earshot. So while the sheik is fiercely competitive, he’s fine with losing if it means the Germans will be back for more races, perhaps bringing friends and adding to Dubai’s ballooning tourist trade.
The sheik set out decades ago to broaden the public perception of Dubai from that of just another oil-soaked Arab nation to a country that happens to make a few bucks from the stuff. By 2005, only 5 percent of the emirate’s $37 billion G.D.P. came from petroleum sales, with most of the rest from shipping and international finance, as well as tourism. Just in case someone somewhere hasn’t noticed the new Dubai, Sheik Mohammed seems to target another international record each day: World’s tallest tower by 2008! Biggest mall by 2009! Largest airport by 2010! The horses fit right into that. The sheik has established the richest race anywhere, the Dubai World Cup, which is run every March and splits $6 million among the winners. He covers travel expenses for everyone who competes—as well as for their horses, trainers, and jockeys—and puts them up for nearly a week at one of Dubai’s luxury hotels.
But horses are more than a tourist draw for the sheik; they are a passion. Since the early 1980s, he and his brothers have spent more than $1.5 billion on horses, stud farms, and stables around the globe, including Sheik Mohammed’s 3,800-acre Darley America, in the heart of bluegrass country. The Maktoum family is the world’s largest collector of Thoroughbreds, maintaining a herd of nearly 3,800 on four continents and employing a staff of more than 1,400 to oversee the operations. Sheik Mohammed even had a 747 custom built to ferry his horses—the only plane of its kind. The brothers have purchased four of the five most expensive yearlings ever sold and spent enough at auctions in the States—last year accounting for 14 percent of yearling sales—to precipitate the greatest price increases the industry has seen. Some insiders describe the situation as an unsustainable bubble: In the past four years, sales of Thoroughbreds at auction in North America have increased 61 percent, to a record $1.2 billion. Yet total purses for the most competitive races in the U.S. have grown only 11 percent over that period. When the auction ring starts to generate more buzz than the track, horse people start to worry. But not Sheik Mohammed: He’s just looking to get the best horses, no matter the cost.
Those investments have brought the Maktoums just about every prize in Thoroughbred racing, except perhaps the biggest: the Kentucky Derby. No other dirt race attracts crowds as large or delivers such prestige. That’s partly because it’s as hard to buy or raise a winner as it is to pick the right horse to bet on. The field is composed of three-year-old horses, the equine equivalent of teenagers, demonstrating all the physical and mental predictability of your typical high schooler. They must run farther than ever before—1¼ miles—on a track more tightly packed than any they’ve ever experienced. So far, the best a Maktoum entry has finished is sixth. And while the final lineup isn’t set until a few days before the Derby in May, the Maktoums have been prepping about a dozen horses for this year’s starting gate.
Sheik Mohammed has made no secret of his desire to win America’s biggest race. But it’s his battles in the auction ring that really have the horse world’s attention. Over the past few decades, the Maktoums have gone head-to-head for the best horses with a secretive Irish billionaire named John Magnier. Always surrounded by a bevy of advisers, Magnier has long dominated the breeding industry, in which owners pay up to $500,000 to have their mares “covered” by a stallion with the right heritage, looks, and track record. His company, Coolmore, is a brand name in its native Ireland as well as the largest stallion manager in the world. Magnier’s pursuit of horses with the most prized bloodlines for stud income has kept him in heated competition with Sheik Mohammed, who is looking for the best racers. Now the sheik has set his sights on reaching the top of the stallion business in America, and the rivalry between the Irish and the Arabs—as the industry shorthand goes—has grown hostile. Coolmore won’t send its best horses to race in Dubai, and for the past two years, the Maktoums have refused to send their mares to Coolmore stallions or even to buy any horse with Coolmore bloodlines.
“Cold war? This is nuclear,” says Richard Santulli, the C.E.O. of NetJets, who co-owns the Jayeff B Stables in Woodbridge, New Jersey. In 2005, Santulli brought to auction two yearlings sired by a fashionable Coolmore stallion. In the past, either of these young horses would have guaranteed a bidding war between Magnier and the Maktoums. This time, Sheik Mohammed didn’t lift a finger. Magnier ended up buying both horses for a fraction of what Santulli thought they should have brought in. “When you take the Arabs out of the mix, well, you see what happens,” he says.
Of course, every industry has its rivalries.
But this one is different. Sheik Mohammed’s desire to dominate the
horse industry and fashion Dubai into a global destination for racing
is rooted in a time more than 350 years ago, before the Thoroughbred
even existed. The wildflower-lined road to his Godolphin stables in
Dubai offers telling evidence of the depth of the ruler’s passion:
There, a 150-foot-long, 25-foot-high billboard reads, GODOLPHIN:
BRINGING THE RACEHORSE HOME.
“DID YOU ASK YOURSELF WHY I named my stables Darley and Godolphin?” Sheik Mohammed asks. He’s sitting on a blue leather couch in a suite at Nad al-Sheba. On the wall is an oil painting of him with two of his seven sons (he also has nine daughters). Crisford takes a seat nearby. A cell phone rings, and the sheik pulls out a beat-up Nokia. He’s a surprisingly down-to-earth guy. He drives himself around Dubai in a white Mercedes G-Class truck (the license plate displays only the numeral 1) and loves to dance, hunt, and write poetry. No bodyguards or assistants trail him. Still, the ruler is comfortable with ceremony. When a waiter comes by, he first drops to a knee and bows his head before offering Sheik Mohammed vegetable soup.
up, the sheik led a life that blended royal and traditional desert
lifestyles. Long before the country started pumping out oil in 1969,
Dubai was a prosperous port where traders from the Middle East and
India came to buy and sell gold. Like its neighbors, it had ceded
control of foreign policy and defense to the British Empire in exchange
for maritime peace and political support. Sheiks who sided with the
empire were paid handsomely for drilling rights and other privileges.
Sheik Mohammed’s father, Sheik Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum, was one such ruler. He represented the fourth generation of Maktoums to govern the land, and he made sure his sons—Maktoum, Hamdan, Mohammed, and Ahmed—were grounded in their Bedouin heritage. That included a mastery of horses, which were key to both war and transportation in the desert. Bedouin have a long tradition as expert riders and strict breeders, able to recount the pedigree of each of their animals. Sheik Rashid personally taught his sons how to ride, interrupting his schedule to meet them at the royal stables. The boys’ grandfather Sheik Saeed bin Maktoum al-Maktoum spent hours spinning tales of his equine exploits and recounting the many battles won by mounted Islamic armies. At the end of each school day, the brothers would sprint to their father’s stables, grab a horse, and speed along the beach past fishermen scrambling to get out of the way.
They were master horsemen, but few outside Dubai, as Sheik Mohammed soon learned, were aware of that. In the summer of 1966, Sheik Mohammed’s father sent him to the U.K. to learn En-glish at a language school in Cambridge and to live with a local family. Cambridge is about a half-hour from Newmarket, the birthplace of horse racing in the U.K., and Sheik Mohammed’s host mother would talk constantly about the great British tradition in the sport. The young sheik protested.
“She thought these horses, this magnificent Thoroughbred, belonged to them,” Sheik Mohammed says. His voice is gravelly and strong and his English heavily accented. “So I argued, ‘No, they descended from my horse.’ She couldn’t understand.”
As Sheik Mohammed saw it, the British were just a blip in the history of the racehorse. Every Thoroughbred must be able to trace its lineage back to one of three sires: the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, or the Godolphin Barb. Those horses arrived in England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries as either colonial gifts or war booty from the Middle East and Turkey. Most histories of the Thoroughbred start there. But trace the heritage of those founding sires back even further, insists Sheik Mohammed, and you get to his land. “They are all from Arabia,” he says. “All from the Arabian Peninsula.”
Sheik Mohammed decided to reclaim what he believed was his heritage. After graduating from language school as well as a military training academy in En-gland, he returned to Dubai, where in 1971 his father appointed him minister of defense for the newly formed United Arab Emirates. He was 22. (His eldest brother, Maktoum, secured the prime minister spot and succeeded his father as ruler of Dubai in 1990. When Sheik Maktoum died in 2006, Sheik Mohammed assumed both titles.) Oil money flowed into the ruling family’s coffers, and Sheik Mohammed started steering some of it toward horses. By the late 1970s, he and his brothers were buying, racing, and winning in England and Ireland.
At his brother Maktoum’s urging, Sheik Mohammed decided in the summer of 1979 to join the buyers from around the world who converged annually on Lexington, Kentucky, for the big sale of yearlings at the Keeneland auction house. These horses were being eyed for the racetrack but had yet to be named or even saddled. The sale was the social event of the year for the small city, and when Sheik Mohammed showed up for the first time, he came unprepared. Jumping into a cab after arriving at the airport, he drove around looking for a hotel. All of them were full, so the cabbie recommended a nearby motel. Sheik Mohammed shrugged; it sounded close enough. In his room, as the cars zipped past his window, the sheik picked up the phone and dialed zero. “Can you please send up three coffees?” he asked. “Come and get them yourself!” replied the manager. (“I wrote a poem about that,” notes Sheik Mohammed.)
A couple of years later, the sheik was better prepared, with a room at the Hyatt Regency and a request from his brother Maktoum to bid on a promising yearling, the offspring of a famous Canadian racer named Northern Dancer that had sired many European racetrack winners. Sheik Mohammed spent the morning evaluating the horse, running through the things his father and grandfather had taught him: He stared into the yearling’s eyes; an angry gaze meant the horse might be uncontrollable. He looked at the nostrils; the bigger, the better for taking in air during a run.
He watched the horse walk; a gait like a leopard’s signaled a champion runner. This yearling didn’t have it, but Sheik Mohammed followed through on his brother’s wishes and bid anyway. His main competition was a representative of the Coolmore group. The two traded bids up to $3.4 million. When his rival offered $3.5 million—more than double what any yearling had ever gone for—Sheik Mohammed pulled out. The horse turned out to be a dud, racing only five times and never going to stud. Sheik Mohammed, however, didn’t leave the auction empty-handed; he picked up a horse for his brother for $3.3 million that Sheik Maktoum named Shareef Dancer. The yearling went on to be syndicated—the equivalent of an initial public offering for a horse—for a then- unprecedented $40 million.
“The one that I discarded?” says Sheik Mohammed, pretending to struggle to remember the horse’s name. “Was it Ballydoyle or something?” he asks Crisford. Then the sheik bursts out laughing and gives Crisford a high five. Ballydoyle is both the name of the horse and the racing arm of Coolmore.
UNLIKE IN OTHER sports, where hated rivals battle on the playing field, the great Arab-Irish wars are waged almost entirely in the auction ring. It’s here that John Magnier builds his business. From the start, Coolmore was based on the idea that there was money to be made in buying the top yearlings with the best pedigrees, racing them a few times to build credentials, then retiring them to stud.
When Magnier came up with this plan, in the mid-1970s, he was a nobody, a small family stud operator in Ireland who had dropped out of school as a teenager to take over the farm after his father died. He went into business with his future father-in-law, who was a world-famous horse trainer, and with Robert Sangster, an English gambling heir. Naming their enterprise Coolmore, the three men began flying to auctions in Kentucky and buying the best young horses descended from Northern Dancer.
What Magnier did next forever changed the industry. At the time, conventional wisdom held that a stallion could breed with 40 to 45 mares a year; anything more than that would pollute an already tiny gene pool with too many foals from too few fathers. Magnier believed otherwise; his family had always mated steeplechase stallions with hundreds of mares, without problem. At Coolmore, he turned racing stallions into machines, mating them in some cases with 200 mares a year and shuttling them between the group’s operations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to take advantage of the fact that a mare’s short breeding window—which always begins in the spring—occurs six months later below the equator. The business got a lift from the Irish tax code, which exempts stallion earnings.
When Sheik Mohammed decided that he, too, favored the Northern Dancer line, the fight between the Irish and the Arabs was on. By the late 1980s, the Maktoums had clearly gained the upper hand at the sales and on the track. Sangster largely gave up funding purchases, telling a friend, “They have a country behind them, and I have a small business.”
In the covering sheds, however, Magnier still controlled the best of the Northern Dancer bloodline, and until 2005, even counted the Maktoums as clients. Nearly 10 percent of Godolphin’s racers and 19 percent of Sheik Mohammed’s stallions were sired by Coolmore horses.
Eventually, Magnier used the profits from his stud operations to invest in businesses ranging from sausage casings to nursing homes, and for several years, he held a significant stake in Manchester United. He co-owns the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados, home to the $4,000-a-round Green Monkey golf course and site of Tiger Woods’ 2004 wedding. Britain’s Sunday Times two years ago estimated Magnier’s net worth at $1 billion, designating him the eighth-richest person in Ireland. Despite repeated requests, Magnier would not consent to an interview. “We just run a farm,” says a spokesperson.
In 2005, the rivalry between the two camps came to a head. Rick Nichols, who manages Sheik Hamdan’s operations in the U.S., says the Maktoums decided that it was time to stop doing business with Coolmore for the good of the industry. “Coolmore is not doing anything to help the breed by breeding their stallions to 200 mares,” he says. “Somebody’s got to stand up to Coolmore, and the Maktoums are the only ones strong enough to do it.”
Sheik Mohammed, whose day job often requires him to serve as a diplomat between the East and West, is less forthcoming: “I have great respect for them as horse people,” he says of the Coolmore group. “They have great stallions and great mares. So they will be all right.”
KEENELAND, NOW THE world’s largest horse auction house, is still the scene of the most intense battles between the Maktoums and Coolmore. Both have huge farms—the centers of their U.S. operations—within 15 miles of each other, outside downtown Lexington. Prime bluegrass country stretches for some 140 square miles around the city, with properties owned by a mix of locals and industry titans turned horse hobbyists. Coolmore’s Ashford Stud sits along Highway 60, the Wall Street of the breeding business. Massive pillars topped with eagles hold the steel entrance gate. Beyond lie multi-spired barns with intricate stonework that look more like French country churches than stables. Deep bluegrass covers the paddocks where Magnier’s horses graze over 2,000 acres—at least during the times of the year when they’re in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Maktoum farms lie just to the east. Each brother bought his own property, starting with Sheik Maktoum’s purchase of Gainsborough in 1984. Together, the three properties—Gainsborough, Sheik Mohammed’s Darley, and Sheik Hamdan’s Shadwell—sprawl across more than 7,000 acres, making the brothers the largest family owners in the area.
Gainsborough, annexed to Darley after Sheik Maktoum’s death, serves as headquarters for family members when they come to town. Down a long driveway sits a 22-bedroom mansion (under construction to add another 10 rooms), attended to at peak times by a staff of about 30. At Darley, roomy stallion boxes with spongy flooring hold the hopes of Sheik Mohammed’s breeding empire. His top new stallion, Bernardini, commands a stud fee of $100,000, and each of the mares mating with him requires a personal sign-off from the Boss.
Driving through the tranquil beauty of Kentucky horse country, one could be in any era. Then, near Keene-land, two massive and modern shapes appear on the landscape: twin Boeing 747s bearing the flag of the U.A.E. Resting on the tarmac of Lexington’s airport, they dominate the horizon and signal that the Maktoums have come to bid.
“Very wealthy people fly here in their Gulfstream G6s, and they think they’re pretty impressive,” says Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “Then they arrive, and there are two 747s at the end of the runway. It’s very intimidating.” And they haven’t even seen the inside of Sheik Mohammed’s jet, with lavish flower arrangements, a spiral staircase, and in the nose a master bedroom with windows on either side of a sumptuous bed, for watching the plane split the clouds.
Yet at Keeneland, Sheik Mohammed acts like just another buyer. On this September day, he’s wearing cargo khakis and a long-sleeve white shirt with hand-warmer pockets and crossed American and U.A.E. flags embroidered over his breast pocket. He looks like a lawyer taking a day off, sporting a pair of rimless glasses, his hair close-cropped. He is accompanied by the junior of his two wives, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, the daughter of the late king of Jordan and half-sister to the country’s current ruler, Abdullah II. She wears a white blouse, open at the neck, and boot-cut jeans. Sheik Hamdan is here as well; more reserved, he remains in a suite away from the fray. Sheik Mohammed and Princess Haya walk hand in hand, gliding through the crowd of jeans-and-sneakers-clad buyers and trainers, many wearing caps pledging allegiance to specific stallions: Vindication, Giant’s Causeway, Fusaichi Pegasus.
While more yearlings are pumped out each year—in 2006, about 10,000 were sold in North America—the demand for those with a prized pedigree has never been higher. The most select are grouped together to be auctioned on the first few days of each sale. That makes for plentiful opportunities for billionaire sightings, as Keeneland regulars like Public Storage founder B. Wayne Hughes, Kendall- Jackson vineyard creator Jess Jackson, and Ryanair co-founder Tony Ryan vie for the top of the crop, which will go for an average of $564,000 a horse. Despite all the loaded wallets, many yearlings don’t sell for enough to cover their stud and stable fees. “You need to take four horses to the sales and hope that one carries the other three,” says David Switzer, head of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. “But our industry is about capturing lightning in a jar. As long as people think they have an opportunity of catching that lightning, they’ll continue to invest.”
LIGHTNING STRIKES the second day of the sale. A brown colt with a white streak between his eyes is set to be sold. Keeneland’s auction area is shaped like a lollipop, with handlers walking the young, nervous horses through a chute onto a large circular stage. There they poop, buck, whinny, and are ogled by the crowd.
Out by the chute stands John Magnier, dressed in a white panama hat with a black band and a pair of loose black Armani jeans topped with a pink oxford shirt. After the auctioneer runs through the yearling’s highlights, Magnier stares out over the top of his glasses and raises the book in his hand—a catalog of all the horses being sold that day—to signal that he wants in. From that point on, he just nods: $1.2 million. Nod. $1.8 million. Nod. Driving up the price is John Ferguson, Sheik Mohammed’s bloodstock adviser. He’s standing alongside the sheik and Princess Haya, just a few yards in front of the Coolmore group. No one from either camp makes eye contact.
As the price goes up, Magnier starts whispering to the five men surrounding him, all longtime Coolmore allies. At $6.7 million, Magnier turns to one of his group and says, “Well?” Then he nods to the bid spotter. Ferguson keeps matching. At $8.7 million, a member of the Magnier group, a short man in a blue baseball cap, rolls his eyes. The area beside the chute fills with onlookers. “It’s up to you, John,” says a spotter. Magnier takes it to $9 million. Ferguson nods to signal that he’s still in. The price is up to $9.2 million. Then, suddenly, Magnier and his group simply walk away.
In less than five minutes, the yearling has become the fifth most expensive ever sold. On the other side of the chute from Magnier and the sheik is Gary Knapp, a former professor and now a small-time breeder. He owned and raised the colt on his Monticule farm and thought maybe, possibly, it could get $1 million, even $2 million. He looks at his wife and says, “Oh my gosh!”
The next day, Magnier has recovered enough to let out a little joke in his thick Irish accent: “It’s always tough. Maybe we’ll have to buy camels.”
By the end of the fourth day, Sheik Mohammed has shelled out $60 million on 34 horses. He and his brother will account for just under 20 percent of Keeneland’s haul. Not one of their purchases was sired by a Coolmore stallion. Magnier has been shut out of the top- dollar horses, and only two of his stallions had enough of their progeny sell to rank among the top 10 stallions at the sale. (Though there are many reasons why stallions fall in and out of favor, the year before the boycott Magnier had four horses on the list.) Still, for just about everyone else, the year proves to be recordbreaking, and there’s general joy that the rivalry continues. Even Santulli, the NetJets C.E.O. who missed out on big sales the previous year because of the boycott, managed to instigate a bidding war between the giants for a colt born from a non-Coolmore, non-Darley stallion. Sheik Mohammed picked it up for $11.7 million.
“One reason the bubble hasn’t burst is that they’re afraid that the other is going to get something that’s slipped through the cracks,” says Gary Stevens, a Hall of Fame jockey, talking about the Maktoums and Magnier, both of whom he has ridden for. “It’s sort of ‘I don’t know what’s under the hood, but I want to make sure I get that Ferrari.’ ”
Sheik Mohammed acknowledges that the prices are high and that some people think he pays ludicrous amounts for horses. He doesn’t mind. He has the funds. “This is a hobby,” he says. “Sometimes it breaks even, sometimes it makes money.” The way he sees it, the big money paid for top horses trickles down. “I tell you, a friend of mine, he bought a horse, and the owner—the seller of that horse—bought a foal or two. So this is helping everyone.” That includes Darley. The more goodwill there is, the likelier a breeder is to make sure he’s sending a few mares to Sheik Mohammed’s stallions—and possibly away from Coolmore.
“Sheik Mohammed is a fabulous supporter of the Thoroughbred,” says Knapp. And Darley? “They’re developing a really, really nice group of stallions.”
A few weeks after the auction, Coolmore announces its 2007 stud fees for U.S. stallions. In a booming market, nine of its 17 stallions drop in price. Only one of Darley America’s 12 stallions does the same.
AS SOON AS SHEIK Mohammed returns to Dubai, he’s already plotting which horses will follow him. Some of his purchases will get shipped to a small operation in Florida, others—including his new $9.2 million colt—to England. The best of the best will make their way to the Arabian Peninsula.
It’s a breezy afternoon in January at Godolphin’s 100-acre campus. Ghaf trees shade the Bermuda grass, and flamingos flap in and out of the pond at the center of the training track. When Sheik Mohammed launched the operation in 1994, sand surrounded a single stable holding a variety of horses. The sheik would drive up in the late afternoon to gather his people, and they’d ride on horseback into the desert. At sunset the group would return, sit in a large white tent, and drink tea. Today, if Sheik Mohammed tried to take his staff of more than 100 riding, they’d hit a 10-lane highway in less than a minute.
Since Godolphin’s founding, Sheik Mohammed has intended for it to be a calling card of his country. Though he might breed and buy horses throughout the world, Sheik Mohammed wants to win races with horses that are trained and stabled in Dubai.
Racing manager Crisford walks into a barn, and a gray colt peeks his head out from a stall. “This is Day Pass,” Crisford says. Sheik Mohammed bought the horse last spring for $725,000 at an auction of two-year-olds. Now he’s one of the select group being targeted for the Kentucky Derby.
For Sheik Mohammed, a Derby win with a three-year-old from Dubai—the homeland of the Thoroughbred—will be that much sweeter. His competitors say that pulling off such a win is a long shot: The horses have to endure a 15-hour flight and a two-day quarantine. Their rivals, meanwhile, have been staying loose.
“You know, they’re saying it’s impossible to do,” Crisford acknowledges. “Well, the more they say that, the more possible Sheik Mohammed will make it.”
One thing the sheik isn’t doing is predicting when one of his horses will win the Derby. In early March, Day Pass finishes fourth in a race at Nad al-Sheba. Now the three-year-old’s chance of taking the private 747 over to Kentucky looks remote. Still, Sheik Mohammed believes victory will come. “I’m a horseman, so I know what horses can and cannot do,” he says. “Hunting taught me patience. And to enjoy it while you are waiting.”