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Dubai World Cup Day Wrap-Up

Curlin was hardly only horse running in Dubai (although it certainly seemed like it by the time he took to the track); now you, lucky reader, can play the exciting new game called ‘Did Superfecta Mention the Winner?’

Godolphin Mile
Rick Dutrow’s Very Good Day began early; Diamond Stripes was certainly a worthy victor, but Elusive Warning had a terrible trip. I don’t think he would have beaten Diamond Stripes, but it was likely not what his connections were hoping for. Still a nice paycheck, though.
Winner mentioned? Yes.

UAE Derby
I was right that Honour Devil and Royal Vintage would be sequential; what is perhaps most interesting is that while many of Mike de Kock’s horses are off to Hong Kong and then the UK, Honour Devil will be heading to the US and aimed at the Breeders’ Cup — some sources say for the Classic, others for the Dirt Mile. Royal Vintage is to come along as well so that they can continue their back-and-forth victories. Cocoa Beach proved capable against the boys as well, a very creditable third.
Winner mentioned? Yes, should have bet a tri box.

Dubai Golden Shaheen
Dutrow and Edgar Prado strike again; assistant trainer Michelle Nevin must have been thrilled to be in Dubai with Benny the Bull (even if it meant missing out on the big event back in Florida). Idiot Proof ran a good race as well, but it seemed that Diabolical just didn’t show up. Cobalt Blue might shine in G2 company in the states, but was apparently very much outclassed.
Winner mentioned? Yes, albeit along with no-threat Calrissian.

Dubai Duty Free
Poor Jay Peg is saddled with one of the worst names I’ve ever heard for a horse, but despite his jockey nearly losing his saddle and a tough challenge from Darjina (who was apparently ‘at 85%‘ for this race), he goes down in history as a winner on Dubai World Cup day. Archipenko seemed boxed in and was probably the best horse in the race, but couldn’t quite prove it; I’ll be looking out for his next start. Vodka and Finsceal Beo didn’t quite have it on the day, and the distance might have been a little much for Seachange. I was still very pleased to see all of them in one race. American challenger Notional had nothing.
Winner mentioned? Ha! No, just had Darjina.

Dubai Sheema Classic
This was my second-favorite race on the card, obviously finishing a bit behind the feature race. The Australian-bred, South African-based mare Sun Classique schooled a talented field. She has an interesting pedigree; Sunday Silence nearby on the top half and her only significant inbreeding (still a ways back) is to blue hen mare Milan Mill. She will also have a busy schedule ahead of her — off to Sha Tin for the Queen Eizabeth II Cup, then off to the UK for Royal Ascot or Goodwood if she has time. Highly-regarded Viva Pataca simply couldn’t catch her; ditto for Doctor Dino. As predicted, Better Talk Now didn’t have a great day, but I was hoping for more from Youmzain. I’m always in the market for a top turf mare to support; I think I’ve found one.
Winner mentioned? Not remotely, but hey, I got Better Talk Now having an off day.

Dubai World Cup
Finally, the big one. I’ve already commented on Curlin’s outstanding performance, but what about his rivals? It would seem that ‘inexperience’ was at the heart of Jalil’s uninspiring effort:

Frankie Dettori, who rode Jalil, remarked: “The horse is too young – this race has come a year too early for him. We will have to wait for next year.”

So, mark your calendars – Jalil (like Curlin, born in 2004), should be all ready next year – or maybe he’ll hold out to compete at Meydan in 2010. That said, he does seem to be improving, but this level of competition was clearly too much for him. Asiatic Boy was second as predicted, and I was pleased to see Well Armed in the mix, but it was clear they were running for (a distant) second. A.P. Arrow surprised me by staying in for fifth, as did Great Hunter just behind him – given his recent form, I would not have placed him ahead of horses like Premium Tap, Kocab or Vermilion — but none of them ran much of a race. The fact that Curlin hardly seemed to be working should be a worry to the rest of the racing world.
Winner mentioned? Um, yeah, got this one.

All told, it was a great day of racing — top-class horses from all around the world got to shine in a way that one wishes they did at the Breeders’ Cup, which seems every year to be further eclipsed by the event in Dubai. If anyone wanted to spring for airline tickets and a hotel, I’d be happy to confirm that suspicion next year!

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