Sixteen horses from around the world, led by last year's winner of the Epsom Derby, are expected to enter the starting gate to contest Saturday's $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan, the world's richest horse race. (Post time: 2:10 p.m. Eastern; TV: FoxSports 1) The Dubai World Cup is part of the on-going Jockey Club Tour on Fox with live coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
Just a year after Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom won the richest race in the world, American-based horses and their connections have apparently decided to sit out the 2014 Dubai Racing Carnival. Not only is the $10 Dubai World Cup without a single American-based horse (Ron the Greek is now based in the Middle East), but the rest of the card at Meydan on Saturday is also thin on horses from this side of the pond. And while World Cup day will still offer an excellent assortment of races for your betting interests (big, tough fields), it's disappointing that many American horses will sit out a significant international racing event.
If you're keeping track (and you only need one hand to do so), here are the American-based horses on Saturday's World Cup card:
Berlino Di Tiger (BRZ): Al Quoz Sprint - 5f (Turf)
Zee Bros: Dubai Golden Shaheen - 6f
Twilight Eclipse: Dubai Sheema Classic - 12f (Turf)
And that's it. I suppose some would include Ron the Greek since he raced his entire career in the U.S. before heading to Saudi Arabia, so that would make it four.
As for the World Cup field for 2014, Epsom Derby winner Ruler of the World (IRE) nabs morning line favorite status at odds of 9/2 but, for me, he's got to be considered a seriously vulnerable favorite. The World Cup will be Ruler of the World's first start of 2014 and his first race since finishing a close third in the G1-Champions Stakes at Ascot last October; it's tough to come off a layoff of that duration and win a race on another continent against a field as deep and tough as this one. Additionally, he's never tried a synthetic surface in his career, something that surely influences the odds I'm willing to take on a horse with 16 betting interests. And, again, he'll be trying synthetics off a long layoff.
If I'm going to take a chance on a horse trying synthetics for the first time, I'm looking squarely in the direction of Hakko Tarumae (JPN), a dirt runner from Japan that seemingly loves races right around the distance of a mile and a quarter. Hokko Tarumae has the benefit of some recent races with a half-length defeat in the G1-February Stakes at Tokyo on February 23rd his most recent effort. Japanese horses have performed well on the international stage in recent years; I wouldn't be shocked if this horse is ready for a big effort on the biggest stage this Saturday. The 12/1 morning line and lack of "big name cache", as opposed to Ruler of the World or Ron the Greek, should also help the price on race day.
Prince Bishop (IRE), winner of the local prep races Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 and 3, has performed well over the Meydan surface in the last six months, even if there are still questions as to how he measures up on class with the rest of the field.
As is usually the case in the Dubai World Cup, there are plenty of betting options on the racing form, it just comes down to what factors you choose to lean on: surface, local success, overall class, pace (if you can figure it out given the wide range of race types the contenders are exiting), or something else completely.
Below are the entries, post positions and morning line odds for the 2014 Dubai World Cup at Meydan:
|1||Prince Bishop (IRE)||K.Fallon||S. bin Suroor||10/1|
|2||Belshazzar (JPN)||C. Lemaire||K. Matsuda||10/1|
|3||Vancouverite (GB)||W. Buick||C. Appleby||15/1|
|4||Akeed Mofeed (GB)||D. Whyte||R. Gibson||10/1|
|5||Sanshaawes (SAF)||C. Soumillon||M. de Kock||12/1|
|6||African Story (GB)||S. De Sousa||S. bin Suroor||20/1|
|7||Hillstar (GB)||R. Moore||S. Stoute||30/1|
|8||Military Attack (IRE)||J. Moreira||J. Moore||8/1|
|9||Side Glance (GB)||J. Spencer||A. Balding||30/1|
|10||Surfer||R. Mullen||S. Seemar||30/1|
|11||Hokko Tarumae (JPN)||H. Miyuki||K. Nishiura||12/1|
|12||Ruler of the World (IRE)||J. O'Brien||A. O'Brien||9/2|
|13||Mukhadram (GB)||P. Hanagan||W. Haggas||20/1|
|14||Red Cadeaux (GB)||G. Mosse||E. Dunlop||15/1|
|15||Cat O'Mountain||M. Barzalona||C. Appleby||20/1|
|16||Ron the Greek||J. Lezcano||N. Bachalard||5/1|