WASHINGTON – Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival announced a 7-race calendar of events for 2012 to be held in the US starting with two races in Houston on March 3.
At a Press conference at the UAE Embassy in Washington DC on Monday, Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US also announced the holding of the Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Darley Awards on March 4 in Houston.
“Today marks the occasion of another milestone in the important and growing relationship between the United Arab Emirates and United States,” Al Otaiba said and added: “In that regard, it is very fitting that we are here this afternoon to celebrate a new phase of Arabian horse racing in the US: the announcement of the US leg of the 2012 Shaikh Mansour Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival; and to also celebrate a new series of awards under the sponsorship of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak”.
“The upcoming races in the US, sponsored by the UAE, are a milestone in the growth of Arabian horse racing. These races, along with the Darley Awards, will also celebrate the accomplishments of female athletes.”
“I congratulate the UAE delegation, the Arabian Jockey Club USA and The Darley Awards for working together on these important events,” Al Otaiba said.
UAE jockey Shathra Al Hajjaj read out the message by Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director of the General Women’s Union and Chairperson of the UAE Women’s Sports Committee.
“These races are held for the encouragement by Shaikha Fatima of the UAE lady riders in particular and the Gulf lady riders in general to show interest in the sport of our parents and grandparents,” she said.
Lara Sawaya, director, Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival and Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Darley Awards and head, Ladies Racing in IFAHR said: “Today, we are here to announce the start of the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival’s racing for the year 2012 in the US, which kicks off with two races at the Sam Houston Park race course on March 3.”
“The second important announcement is that we have increased the newly-introduced Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Darley Awards to six categories. Initially it was five awards for ladies – Best owner, breeder, trainer, jockey and Lifetime Award – and now we have included a ‘Best Mare’ to that list,” Sawaya said.
“The 2012 Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival Darley Awards and the Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Darley Award will take place on Sunday, March 4 in Houston. We are looking forward to some exciting times with the Festival’s activities here in the US and once again I have to thank the ambassador and his team,” she said.
Kinsman Wright – Darley Awards Chairman said “Purebred Arabian racing can bring everybody together. The Darley Awards is in its 25th year and we welcome the support of the UAE and look forward to many years ahead together.”