“The Dubai World Cup was created in 1996 as a stage upon which the best race horses in the world could come together to compete on a level playing field,” Malih Al Basti, Meydan vice chairman and chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee, said in a statement. “It is gratifying that alongside the evolution of the Dubai World Cup as a global spectacle is the deepening appeal of our races to all jurisdictions and we annually attract nominations from the highest-rated horses in the world. As we get closer to the March 26 race day, so the fields will come more firmly into focus and we anticipate an exciting 21st running of the Dubai World Cup.”
The American challengers will be Led by 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, as a strong contingent of U.S.based horses head the nominees to this year’s $10-million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates (UAE-I) March 26 at Meydan Racecourse.
In addition to Chrome, the popular winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (both grade I) who finished second to Prince Bishop in last year’s renewal of the world’s richest race, other top U.S. nominees include Keen Ice, who upset Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) last year, 2015 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Dortmund, and TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) winner Frosted.
California Chrome is stabled in the quarantine facility in Dubai, and his connections plan for him to prep for the World Cup in a 2,000-meter (1 1/4 miles) handicap Feb. 25.
Godolphin’s Frosted has also arrived in Dubai as he will attempt to provide trainer Kiaran McLaughlin with his second World Cup victory, having campaigned the Sheikh Hamdan-owned Invasor to the title in 2007.
Trainer Bob Baffert, coming off a Horse of the Year campaign with American Pharoah and an Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer, will be seeking his third World Cup with Dortmund, having tasted victory in 1998 with Silver Charm and 2001 with Captain Steve.
Set to oppose for South Africa is the Mike de Kock-trained Mubtaahij, the 2015 UAE Derby (UAE-II) winner who will be out to create history by becoming the first UAE Derby winner to return the following year and win the Dubai World Cup. Three previous de Kock-trained UAE Derby winners have returned the following year for the Dubai World Cup but none have been successful: Victory Moon (third in 2004), Asiatic Boy (second in 2008) and Musir (seventh in 2011).
The 2015 QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) winner Fascinating Rock, trained by Irishman Dermot Weld, is also among those nominated to the Dubai World Cup and, along with Dortmund, has the distinction of being the highest rated among the nominations for the race.
Argentina’s champion horse Hi Happy holds three nominations for this year’s World Cup card, including the Dubai World Cup, the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) and the UAE Derby, which is a group I this year.
Solow, the highest-rated horse in training, is among the nominees to the $6-million Dubai Turf (UAE-I) sponsored by DP World. Conditioned in France by Freddy Head, Solow launched a sequence of five group I victories in 2015 with his winning run in the Dubai Turf (UAE-I) on Dubai World Cup day and he will be back to defend his title this year.
He will be challenged by multiple grade I-winning Japanese contender Maurice, winner of the Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) for trainer Noriyuki Hori last month and recently crowned Japanese Horse of the Year. Hori has also nominated the Japanese Two Thousand Guineas (Jpn-I) and Derby (Jpn-I) winner Duramente to three races: World Cup, Turf, and Sheema Classic. The Grey Gatsby, the 2014 Champion Stakes winner trained by Kevin Ryan, will renew his rivalry with Solow having finished runner-up in the Dubai Turf in 2015.
Also nominated to the Dubai Sheema Classic field is the Roger Varian-trained King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) winner Postponed as well as Prix Saint Alary (Fr-I) victor Queen’s Jewel for Freddy Head.
Edward Lynam has nominated sprint star Sole Power to his sixth Dubai World Cup Day where he is likely to defend his Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-I) crown against Hong Kong speedball Peniaphobia who was just a half-length second in the 2015 renewal of the five furlong race.
Nominated to the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) sponsored by Gulf News is 2014 winner and local hero Reynaldothewizard, who made a winning start to his 2016 Dubai World Cup Carnival campaign this month in the listed Dubawi Stakes.