Breakfast in Dubai is on tap tomorrow morning at Meydan Race Course as Dubai World Cup Day kicks off a big weekend of thoroughbred racing that includes three key Derby prep races. Check tomorrow’s print edition for an advance on the Derby trail races and the Dubai World Cup.
The Meydan Race Course will host six Group 1 and three Group 2 races on Saturday morning. The $10 million Dubai World Cup is the second richest race of the year, features the best racehorse in the world in Arrogate (pictured above). U.S. invaders Gun Runner, Hoppertunity, Neolithic and Keen Ice; as well as Mubtaahij, last year’s runner-up to California Chrome.
The races will be televised live starting at 10:30 a.m. EDT by NBC Sports Network right through the World Cup, post time scheduled for 12:45 a.m. EDT.
Here's the lineup and a bit of commentary and a synopsis of the U.S. horses running, so grab some your Wheaties and get to work handicapping this tremendous card…
Race 5: (10:00 a.m. EDT) Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint. A 5-furlong turf sprint with a purse of a cool $1 million dollars has attracted a sturdy field of 12 runners, including U.S. charges 7-Long on Value (30-1) and 9-Richard’s Boy (30-1). Both seem to be up against it against this international group of sprinters. Sheik Hamdan sends out the favorite 6-Ertijaal (9-5), winner of seven of his last eight races. 11-Limato (5-2), the post time favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, finished sixth in that race, and makes his 2017 debut in the Al Quoz. Trainer Aidan O’Brien’s 10-Washington DC (8-1) is an interesting mid-range long shot, coming out of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Race 6: (10:35 a.m. EDT) Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen Classic. A 6-furlong sprint on the dirt, with a purse of two big bills, encompasses a big field of 14 horses, including 2013 winner and 11-year-old 12-Reynaldothewizard (8-1). Don’t confuse this race with the Shabeen, an old Buffalo bar and grill on Delaware Avenue, very popular on and around March 17 back in the day.
U.S. hopeful 14-Mind Your Biscuits (5-2) was assigned the favorite’s role breaking from the far outside post with Joel Rosario in the irons. Trainer Chad Summers is bullish on his horse despite the outside post. “I think that on paper the race sets up well for us otherwise and we’re not going to change our running style. We can be tactical enough but he is a little better making one sustained run from farther behind and he should like the longer straight here. He’s shown us every sign that he’s sitting on his lifetime best race and I think his lifetime best wins this by three lengths,” said Summers.
Mind Your Biscuits is co-owned by 2010 University of Buffalo graduate Dan Summers, who is in Dubai with his brother for the Shaheen.
1-Stallwalkin’ Dude (12-1) and 12-St. Joe Bay (4-1), round out the U.S. horses that made the trip over to the United Arab Emirates. If you’re looking for a possible long shot, 12-Deauville (15-1), is a well-traveled 4-year-old for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Race 7: (11:30 a.m. EDT) Grade 1 Dubai Turf. A solid field of 13 horses will be going 1 1/8-miles on the Meydan turf course for $6 million. It looks to be a battle of the royals with Godolphin sending out second choice 1-Ribchester (5-2) with William Buick in the irons. The Aga Khan has the morning line favorite, 2-Zarak (2-1), winner of the local prep with Christophe Soumillon riding.
A couple horses that have run in the Woodbine Mile are entered, including 2015 winner 7-Mondialiste (15-1) and 6-Mutakayyef (4-1), who finished third behind Tepin in last year’s race.
Race 8: (12:05 p.m. EDT) Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic. The smallest field of the evening presents seven entrants that will run 1 1/2-miles on the turf for $6 million. Some very talented horses will be vying for the big check in the Sheema. The morning line favorite for the second straight year is 7-Postponed (3-2), who won last year’s Sheema and finished second in the local prep to 5-Prize Money (8-1). Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner 3-Highland Reel (4-1) checks in as the second choice on the morning line, with Ryan Moore up for O’Brien. The filly 6-Seventh Heaven (6-1) gets a five pound weight break and could surprise at a price.
Saturday is a terrific day of racing, be sure to check out tomorrow's print edition for previews of the Dubai World Cup and the three Derby prep races from Dubai, Kentucky and New Mexico.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association and tweets @EquiSpace.