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The Dubai World Cup trophies with the World Cup one the tall cup in front row center.
The world's richest race meeting highlighted by the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1), will be conducted at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday. On Wednesday afternoon the post positions were drawn for the main event, which features some of the best older horses in the world going 2000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), two turns of the 1 1/8 mile dirt track. Post positions for the big race and the undercard races are available below. An online racecard is available from Dubai Racing Club where you can click on each horse's name to get a form summary.
Free past performances here. A Form Guide which has past performances for the entire card is also available from Emirates Racing Authority.
As expected, Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner West Coast is the 11-10 favorite in the field of 10 (SkyBet at time of writing), off his 3rd in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and then a second place finish to Gun Runner in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). In to challenge him include 15-2 second choice and top local horse North America, winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (G1), the main local prep, and 7-1 third choice Talismanic, winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) but second in the Hong Kong Vase (G1).
Bob Baffert, after drawing 9 for West Coast and 5 for 16-1 outsider Mubtaahij said, "I'm fine with both. I don't like the one-hole and have never liked the one. I've heard you have to be on the rail here as it's a speed biased rail, but I think in a race of this magnitude, when you get all of these good horses together, all that changes. We have a fast horse. From the outside, if they break a little slow you're not going to get in trouble. From the inside if you break slow, you're going to be in trouble. I just didn't want them to draw next to each other." Satish Seemar, who drew post 2 for North America said, "That's exactly what we wanted – one, two or three. I'm very positive. We've got everything right in his preparation so far, and now we have the perfect draw. He's still to peak, and he'll do that on Saturday." Lisa-Jane Graffard, racing manager for Godolphin France, said of Talismanic's post 7, "The horse trained well on the dirt at Del Mar. He's very adaptable with a great mind and Andre (Fabre, trainer) always wanted to bring a good horse here for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and we're delighted to bring a horse of that calibre to this race. Tactics are up to the trainer and jockey and we'll wait to hear on the night."
The stage set for the Dubai World Cup post position draw.
The undercard features the two of the richest turf races in the world, the 2410 meter (about 1 1/2 mile) Sheema Classic (G1) and the 1800 meter (about 1 1/8 mile) Dubai Turf (G1), worth $6 million each. In the Sheema Classic, carded immediately before the main event, Cloth of Stars (post 6) is the 5-2 choice over 9-2 Rey de Oro (3) and 9-2 Poet's Word (5), while 7-2 Benbatl (5), defending champion 9-2 Vivlos (7), and 6-1 Neorealism (2) are favored in the Turf. Top dirt sprinters go 1200 meters (6 furlongs) in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), including Roy H, X Y Jet, and Mind Your Biscuits. The $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) features turf sprinters going 1200 meters (6 furlongs) on the straightaway, including Blue Point, Jungle Cat, and Librisa Breeze.
Along with the four Group 1 events, there are 2 Group 2 events and a Group 3 race carded. The $2 million UAE Derby (G2) features northern hemisphere 3-year-olds and southern hemisphere 4-year-olds going 1900 meters (1 3/16 miles) on the main Tapeta, worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series (although 4-year-olds do not qualify), with Gold Town and Mendelssohn expected to be favored. This spectacular night of racing kicks off with the $1 million Godolphin Mile (G2) at 1600 meters (1 mile) on dirt followed by the $1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1) for purebred Arabians, and the $1 million Dubai Gold Cup (G2) at 3200 meters (2 miles) on turf.
|Post Time||Race Name|
|7:45 a.m. ET||Godolphin Mile|
|8:15 a.m. ET||Dubai Kahayla Classic (Arabians)|
|8:50 a.m. ET||Dubai Gold Cup (T)|
|9:30 a.m. ET||UAE Derby|
|10:05 a.m. ET||Al Quoz Sprint (T)|
|10:40 a.m. ET||Dubai Golden Shaheen|
|11:35 p.m. ET||Dubai Turf (T)|
|12:10 p.m. ET||Dubai Sheema Classic (T)|
|12:50 p.m. ET||Dubai World Cup|
Since betting is illegal in the UAE, the international wagering hub is located in South Africa and their rules apply. Win, exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double (Sheema Classic and World Cup), and rolling Pick 3 wagering are the same as the American versions, however, there is no show pool but bets to place pay to third place, like a show bet normally would. Since Dubai won't do odds, the morning line odds shown below are from SkyBet at time of writing.
The races will be shown live on TVG in the U.S. and HPI-TV in Canada, as well as at racetracks and simulcast sites. In addition, for the first time NBC Sports Network will show the World Cup starting at 12:30am ET. The locally produced show on Dubai Racing Channel can be viewed live here starting at 7:00am ET. Free Equibase past performances are also availsble.
Below are the entries and post positions for the Dubai World Cup. All entrants carry 57 kg (126 lb) except mares Forever Unbridled and Furia Cruzada who carry 55 kg (121 lb).
|1||Awardee||Y. Take||M. Matsunaga||33-1|
|2||North America||R. Mullen||S. Seemar||15-2|
|3||Gunnevera||J. Rosario||A. Sano||9-1|
|4||Furia Cruzada||A. Fresu||E. Charpy||80-1|
|5||Mubtaahij||V. Espinoza||B. Baffert||16-1|
|6||Forever Unbridled||M. Smith||D. Stewart||9-1|
|7||Talismanic||M. Barzalona||A. Fabre||7-1|
|8||Pavel||M. Gutierrez||D. O'Neill||14-1|
|9||West Coast||J. Castellano||B. Baffert||11-10|
|10||Thunder Snow||C. Soumillon||S. bin Suroor||10-1|
Entries and post positions for the entire card with free form guide
Left: The Dubai World Cup connections post for a group shot after the post position draw.
Right: Bob Baffert draws post 9 for West Coast. He said, "I don't think there's a really bad post when you're going 1 1/4 miles. The horse is the more important than the post so I'm fine with it. I'm looking forward to it."
Left: Dallas Stewart drew post 6 for Forever Unbridled, one of two mares in the race, off her Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) win. He said, "What we're real happy about is how she's doing here. Her energy is great. Her appetite is good. The post position should be fine. She's comfortable, so I'm comfortable. It's going to be a great race. She's going to need to bring her best race to win this."
Right: Saeed bin Suroor drew the outside post 10 for Thunder Snow. He said, "He's doing good this year, last time was disappointing but he came back really well. We're really happy with him."
The draw board for the 2018 Dubai World Cup. Shinji Maeda, brother of owner Koji Maeda, drew the rail for Awardee. "In reality, we wanted an outside gate but funnily enough number one is our lucky number. Kizuna and One And Only both won the Japanese Derby from the first bracket, so the inside is lucky for us. The field is small so from any position he would need luck."
A tradition at Meydan is to paint the winning owner's colors on a horse statue. Here is 2017 winner Arrogate's statue. It is worth noting that this year's favorite West Coast is also trained by Bob Baffert and drew the same post as Arrogate, the 9. However Arrogate's rider Mike Smith will be aboard Forever Unbridled on Saturday.
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