March 22, 2006
The richest day of racing in the world takes place this Saturday, with the eleventh running of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Nad al Sheba racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In its short history the World Cup has seen some of the best equine talent of the era, no doubt attracted by the whopping $6 million purse of which $3.6 million goes to the winner. A rich undercard of Group 1 stakes races makes for an almost Breeders' Cup-like atmosphere, with horses shipping from around the world to race under the lights in the desert.
The main event usually draws a talented contingent of horses from the USA, and this year is no exception. Donn Handicap winner Brass Hat, Clark Handicap winner Magna Graduate, and Hawthorne Gold Cup winner Super Frolic highlight an all-star lineup that will compete over 2000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) over the main track. Also in the field are Japan Cup Dirt winner Kane Hekili and representing the locals, Electrocutionist from the powerful Godolphin Racing operation.
The world's top sprinters go in the $2 million Golden Shaheen, a 1200-meter (6 furlong) dash down a straightaway. Mr. Prospector Stakes winner Gaff and Ancient Title winner Captain Squire will take on local hopes Heart Alone and Tropical Star
There are two turf events on the card, both Group 1 for a $5 million purse, making them the 2nd richest races in the world. The Duty Free is run at the odd distance of 1777 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) due to the configuration of Nad al Sheba's infield turf course. The stakes-winning combination of trainer Todd Pletcher, jockey John Velazquez, and owner Eugene Melnyk ship in Shadwell Turf Mile winner Host from Florida to take on San Marcos winner The Tin Man. The Sheema Classic is the marathon event of the evening, at the classic distance of 2400 meters (1 1/2 miles). Despite being open to both sexes, this race may belong to the mares as the queen of Hong Kong racing, Alexander Goldrun, will take on Lord Derby-owned Ouija Board, winner of the Hong Kong Vase last out. Canadian International winner Relaxed Gesture heads the American contingent in this event for trainer Christophe Clement.
There are two Group 2 events on the card, starting off the festivities. The UAE Derby is a $2 million event at 1800 meters (1 1/8 miles) on the main track, shortened a furlong from previous years. Unlike Derbies held elsewhere, this one does allow four-year-olds bred in the Southern Hemisphere to enter against North American three-year-olds. One such entrant is the undefeated Argentinian Gold For Sale, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas. Godolphin's Triple Crown hope Discreet Cat is the expected favorite off his win in the Areej Trophy, and gets a weight break over the South Americans. The Godolphin Mile has a $1 million purse and is run over 1600 meters on the main track (about 1 mile). Julio Canani-trained Island Fashion and Iowa Derby winner Shamoan from the barn of Eoin Harty are the lone Americans in this event.
Wagering on the World Cup card is available across North America at almost all of the usual outlets and the races can be seen on both TVG and HRTV. Not every track or OTB will have every race, but all will have the World Cup which goes to post at 12:20pm ET, just before most of the eastern tracks begin their live cards on Saturday. Check locally to see which races will be made available to you. Then come out to your local track or OTB and watch the best horses in the world compete in the world's richest race, then stay to bet on your favorite track. Ironically, fans at Nad al Sheba are not allowed to wager on the races, but the rest of the world will be!
Following is the field for the Dubai World Cup, in program number order, with jockeys, trainers, and morning line odds. All starters carry 126 pounds. You can view the program pages with saddle cloth numbers for all the races on the card here. Please note that saddle cloth number and post position numbers are not the same. Free Equibase past performances for the World Cup card are here. Free DRF past performances for the card are here.
|1||Electrocutionist||Saeed bin Suroor||Frankie Dettori||6-1|
|2||Shakis||Doug Watson||Willie Supple||20-1|
|3||Kane Hekili||Katsuhio Sumii||Yutaka Take||6-1|
|4||Choctaw Nation||Jeff Mullins||Victor Espinoza||4-1|
|5||Chiquitin||Ian Jory||Mick Kinane||20-1|
|6||Maraahel||Michael Stoute||Richard Hills||15-1|
|7||Brass Hat||William Bradley||Willie Martinez||3-1|
|8||Magna Graduate||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||6-1|
|9||Wilko||Jeremy Noseda||Garrett Gomez||12-1|
|10||Star King Man||Hideyuki Mori||Olivier Peslier||20-1|
|11||Super Frolic||Vladimir Cerin||Corey Nakatani||12-1|