December 5, 2020

Navarro finds Azteca plenty ‘sharp’ going into Godolphin Mile

Sharp Azteca carries American hopes in the Godolphin Mile (Photo by Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins)

Trainer Jorge Navarro, who suffered an agonizing beat in last year’s Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) with X Y Jet, may gain compensation Saturday with Sharp Azteca in the Godolphin Mile (G2).

“I told my exercise rider to let him have fun,” Navarro said in Wednesday’s track notes. “Whatever he wants to do, let him enjoy himself.

“I think he knows that raceday is coming. Up until yesterday he was the gentleman of the track; today he’s on his toes.

“He did things today that I didn’t like. He tried to wheel, and then he was backing up coming out of the gate. He wanted me to let him go.”

Sharp Azteca has been living up to his moniker in his morning exercise at Meydan. On Tuesday, the morning after an easy breeze, he couldn’t wait for Navarro to show up and get back out on track.

“I overslept and when I got to the barn at 6:15 a.m. they were already walking him. I was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re supposed to wait for me!’ And they said, ‘No, Jorge, we had to take him out, he was on his toes.’”

Navarro wasn’t able to get a precise time for Sharp Azteca’s half-mile move on Monday, but the trainer liked what he saw.

“I got him in 55 seconds, I think. The poles got me, though. This track is just too big!

“I didn’t want to do too much with him. He’s already fit. I just wanted to take the edge off because he’s tearing down the stall. I didn’t care about the workout as much as the gallop out and I got exactly what I asked. I wanted it to be strong and he was dragging the rider (Anthony Cruz) and came back good.

“He’s taking to everything very well. Shipping to California (from his Gulfstream Park West base for the Malibu [G1] at Santa Anita) didn’t seem to bother him, that long trip. So I asked Mr. Gelfenstein (owner) if we could make the trip to Dubai. I told him the trip wouldn’t affect him and so far I’m right. He’s eating up good and everything we ask him he’s doing good.

“This horse has a lot in the tank and I don’t think we’ve seen the best out of him yet.”

Sharp Azteca clashes with local star North America in Godolphin Mile

Sharp Azteca will break from post 6, just to the inside of his main market rival, local kingpin North America.

“The jockey (Edgard Zayas) was the one who texted me and told me we got number 6, and that’s exactly the one he wanted,” Navarro related. “But he’s so ready it doesn’t matter anyway. We’ve done everything right and he’s done everything right; it’s all up to him now.”

Can he succeed where X Y Jet just missed?

“This is a cleaner horse,” Navarro said. “X Y Jet had issues and we had to baby him, but this horse we can really train him how we need to.”