May 14, 2021

Reigning titleholder Real Steel scratched from Dubai Turf

Real Steel earned his Group 1 laurel in the 2016 Dubai Turf (Photo by Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood)

Real Steel, the 2016 Dubai Turf (G1) hero, will miss his title defense in Saturday’s $6 million prize, the Emirates Racing Authority announced Tuesday. The Japanese shipper was found to have bled from both nostrils.

The Sunday Racing colorbearer hadn’t won since his World Cup night score a year ago. Unplaced in three of his four ensuing starts, he was most recently eighth in the February 26 Nakayama Kinen (G2).

Real Steel’s absence leaves a field of 13, including one remaining Japanese representative, classic-winning filly Vivlos.

And once again, no defending Dubai Turf champion has been able to repeat.

Wednesday update: trainer Yoshito Yahagi commented on the turn of events in the track notes.

“There was only blood found in his nasal passages, not his lungs, so it doesn’t seem that serious,” Yahagi said, “but we have to think about what is best for the horse. I am very disappointed, but we will make fall plans for him and hopefully be back next year for the 2018 Dubai Turf.”

Real Steel had never had a bleeding episode before, neither in his exercise nor when racing.