Senor Buscador becomes fifth winner of $20 million Saudi Cup

The six-year-old son of Mineshaft rallied on the home stretch to pip Japan’s Ushba Tesoro

Senor Buscador, left, ridden by Junior Alvarado beats Ushba Tesoro under Yuga Kawada to win the $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh on Saturday, February 24. AP
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Senor Buscador produced an electrifying run on the home stretch to scoop the $20 million Group 1 Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh on Saturday.

Trained by Todd Fincher and ridden by Junior Alvarado, the six-year-old son of Mineshaft had only three horses behind him turning for home, but cruised from 500 metres out to clinch the race on the bob of the head from Japan’s 2023 Dubai World Cup hero Ushba Tesoro.

Saudi Crown, who set the pace, was third ahead of National Treasure and Derma Sotogake.

The Breeders' Cup Classic winner White Abarrio tracked the pace in fifth but failed to kick on as they turned for home and faded to finish 10th, while Godolphin’s Lemon Pop finished 12th in the 14-runner field.

Senor Buscador had previously finished behind White Abarrio, National Treasure, Derma Sotogake and Hoist the Gold in his last two starts, and the victory was sweet for the connections.

“He was unbelievable,” the winning jockey Alvarado said soon after the race. “That horse that finished second passed us at the sixteenth pole. I was saying, 'Come on boy. come on boy. Keep going here'. He kept going right down to the wire.”

The winning trainer Fincher said: “I'm just proud for the horse. We’ll have this for the rest of our lives for sure.”

Asked when he knew that Senor Buscador had the race won, he said: “I didn’t. The rider waved his stick like he won but I wasn’t believing it until it was official.”

And on whether he believed his horse could win in the week leading up to the race, he added: “No, because something always happens to him about every race.

“He always runs good, he always runs hard but he always has ten or 11 horses to weave in and out of and pace and all that so we knew he was going to run good, we just had to hope for the right set-up and we got it. This is awesome.”

Asked what was next for Senor Buscador, he said: “He’s in the Dubai race. We’ve accepted that but we’re going to play it by ear and do what the horse tells us.”

Updated: February 24, 2024, 7:36 PM