Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year in North America and officially the world’s highest-rated horse still in training, heads a list of 169 horses nominated for the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) sponsored by Emirates Airline March 29.
The nominees hail from 11 countries: the United Arab Emirates (78); United States (38); Japan (18); United Kingdom (11); Brazil and France (six); Argentina, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia (three); Macau (two); and Bahrain (one).
Others nominated for the world’s richest race at 2,000 meters on dirt are Premium Tap (Saudi Arabia), Asiatic Boy (South Africa), Happy Boy (Brazil), Literato (UAE), Daiwa Scarlet and Vermilion (Japan), Latency (Argentina), and Daaher, Awesome Gem, Student Council, and West Virginia (United States).
Other stakes on the card at Nad Al Sheba racecourse have attracted many of the top horses in the world after the first closing stage for nominations.
The $5-million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I), sponsored by Dubai Duty Free and run at 1,777 meters on turf, is headed by Godolphin’s Ramonti, as well as the triple group I-winning French filly Darjina and New Zealand’s Seachange.
The $5-million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I), sponsored by Nakheel and run at 2, 400 meters on turf, has attracted six of the first seven home in last year’s race: Vengeance Of Rain, Oracle West, Youmzain, Sushisan, Pop Rock, and Quijano, as well as Meisho Samson.
Americans dominate the first group I race on the card, the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News and run at 1,200 meters on dirt. TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Midnight Lute; last year’s winner, Kelly’s Landing; and Idiot Proof all represent the U.S., while Australia is represented by the filly Miss Andretti.
The $1-million Godolphin Mile, a group II race run at 1,600 meters on dirt and sponsored by Etisalat, could have Spring At Last trying to defend his crown from 12 months ago, while the $2-million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at 1,800 meters on dirt and sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, has among its nominees the top British colt Strike The Deal and the unbeaten U.S.-based El Gato Malo.