Superhorse Arrogate is at Meydan Racecourse preparing for the $ 10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) set for March 25.
This is Arrogate’s first outing since his 4-3/4 length win in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) last Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
According to Bloodhorse.com, Arrogate’s trainer Bob Baffert gave the Juddmonte Farm-owned colt a half-mile (800 meters) breeze last March 20.
“He’s handling everything really well,” Baffert was quoted as saying about Arrogate’s journey from California to Dubai and his adjustment to the Meydan track.
Baffert has won the Dubai World Cup twice, in 1998 with Silver Charm and 2001 with Captain Steve, but that was at the old track, Nad Al Sheba, which he described as “totally different [than Meydan] with tighter turns.”
Other contestants are also at Meydan preparing for the world’s second-richest race on Saturday. Baffert had 6YO Hoppertunity, who placed third in last year’s World Cup, gallop a half-mile last Monday. Also worked a half-mile was Winchell Thoroughbreds’ and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner. Trainer Todd Pletcher worked Keen Ice and Neolithic for a 2,200-meter (1-3/8 miles) gallop.
* * *
A full gate of entries were signed up for the Dubai World Cup this year. The contenders (and their sires) are: Apollo Kentucky (Langfuhr), Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song), Awardee (Jungle Pocket), Gold Dream (Gold Allure), Gun Runner (Candy Ride), Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday), Keen Ice (Curlin), Lani (Tapit), Long River (AP Indy), Move Up (Dubawi), Mubtaahij (Dubawi), Neolithic (Harlan’s Holiday), Special Fighter (Teofilo), and Furia Cruzada (Newfoundland).
Because of his superb performance last season and in the Pegasus, clobbering much-vaunted California Chrome, I’m going with Arrogate to win this. Gun Runner’s my forecast choice, followed by Keen Ice and Neolithic for my quartet. The latter two came in third and fourth in the Pegasus earlier this year, while Gun Runner recently won the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park and the $500,000 Clark H. (G1) at Churchill Downs.
* * *
The Dubai World Cup Carnival with its nine races and other exciting events is a celebration of racing and the Arab love of horses, and the Dubai World Cup is considered to be the premier horseracing and sporting event of the United Arab Emirates.
There are other rich Grade 1 races on the card, according to Daily Racing Form. The $6 million Sheema Classic has seven runners, with Postponed, Highland Reel, Jack and Hobbs among them. The $6 million Dubai Turf will see competition from 14 runners, including Real Steel, Ribchester, Zarak, Mondialiste, and others. Among the 14 runners in the $2 million Golden Shaheen are American horses Mind Your Biscuits, St. Joe Bay, Stallwalkin Dude, and Imperial Hint.
Over $30 million in prize money will be awarded for the nine races of the DWC Carnival. As always, it will be a star-studded event attended by the elite of Dubai and UAE society, celebrities, and thousands of racegoers. A concert and a fireworks show will follow the races.
I haven’t been to Meydan, although I visited Nad Al Sheba in the ‘90s. It was modern and state-of-the-art back then, with huge widescreens on the infield and superb hospitality in the boxes. I can only imagine the glitz and glamour of Meydan now.
They take horseracing seriously over there, as part of their cultural heritage, and the magnificence of the runners in their stables and the stock on their ranches are a collection of the best Thoroughbred DNA on the planet.
Don’t miss this year’s Dubai World Cup—it’s worth waking up early to catch the live streaming to see Arrogate and other elite horses gallop their way to gold.
* * *
Dr. Ortuoste is a California-based writer. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @gogirlracing and @jennyortuoste, and Instagram: @jensdecember