The Dubai Racing Club has released a list of likely contenders for the World Cup card on March 31st, and North American based horses account for just a small fraction of the probable entries. Currently, only six horses from this continent are expected to compete at Meydan at the end of the month, including Game On Dude and Royal Delta in the $10 million G1-Dubai World Cup. 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom was expected to compete in the world's richest race but was sidelined with an injury earlier this month.
You can find the complete list of probable entries at the Dubai Racing Club website.
This year's World Cup card will include the following races and conditions:
|G1-Dubai World Cup||10.00||Tapeta||$10,000,000|
|G1-Dubai Sheema Classic||12.05||Turf||$5,000,000|
|G1-Dubai Duty Free||9.00||Turf||$5,000,000|
|G1-Dubai Golden Shaheen||6.00||Tapeta||$2,000,000|
|G1-Al Quoz Sprint||5.00||Turf||$1,000,000|
|G3-Dubai Gold Cup||16.00||Turf||$1,000,000|
|G1-Dubai Kahayla Classic||10.00||Tapeta||$250,000|
Below are the North American based horses among the probable entries, along with some thoughts on the composition of this year's fields.
Game On Dude (Dubai World Cup)
Royal Delta (Dubai World Cup)
Giant Ryan (Dubai Golden Shaheen)
The Factor (Dubai Golden Shaheen)
Regally Ready (Al Quoz Sprint)
Lucky Chappy (IRE) (UAE Derby)
Over the past few years, North American based trainers have taken shots at the two featured turf races on the Dubai World Cup card - the Sheema Clasic and the Duty Free. This year, there is nary a North American contender to be found in each of those races, and Regally Ready's likely start in the turf sprint is the only North American horse targeting a turf race at Meydan.
One the one hand, the lack of North American runners in the World Cup turf races shouldn't be a surprise; few American and Canadian based turf horses are able to comp at a high level in races outside of North America. Additonally, the current crop of turf runners on the continent is pretty thin on big-time talent, a situation that appears to have worsened the last couple of years. The retirement of Gio Ponti created a a dearth of top quality North American turf horses, in my opinion. As we saw last season, Cape Blanco (IRE) and Sarafina (FR) were able to come over and dominate a large portion of our top graded stakes races on grass. On the other hand, I expected at least a couple of trainers/owners to take a shot a either the Sheema or the Duty Free (especially the Duty Free) given the huge $5 million purses attached to each.