Shadwell’s well-regarded Ajaaweed enters the toughest test of his career, Saturday’s prestigious Brooklyn Invitational, as a prime example of patience paying off in racing. In such, it is quite fitting that his Arabic name roughly translates into generosity or acts of kindness, as it is the thoughtfulness of his connections that has led him back to racing after injury shelved him for 358 days.
Initially in the care of now-retired Kiaran McLaughlin, the sizable bay charge broke his maiden at second asking at age two (replay below) over the same Belmont dirt he will compete upon this weekend. Impressing onlookers and connections, alike, it was evident that he had plenty of stamina within his grinding action.
Said class would lead him to a good fourth-place effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and then a closing runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Remsen. He was injured following a disappointing third in Tampa Bay’s Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, his 3-year-old debut in 2020, which was his fifth and final start for McLaughlin before being turned over to Todd Pletcher.
“Ajaaweed returned to Shadwell in April 2020 with a suspensory injury in his left rear,” said Rick Nichols, vice president and general manager of Shadwell Farm. “It wasn’t too bad and it healed nicely. He returned to training in September 2020 and has been good so far. He has been training well and Todd expects him to run a big race on Saturday.”
Brought back to fitness mindfully, the son of Curlin resurfaced in a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park in January–a race he obviously desperately needed. Racing three-wide toward the rear, he ambled home at the tail of the field and got a good air-opener in the process. Returning in March at Aqueduct in a nine-furlong allowance, he came home third in grinding, deliberate fashion that hinted that additional ground would be to his favour.