Arrogate, officially recognized as the world's best racehorse of 2016, has been nominated for the March 25 Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1), along with 167 other global racing stars.
The Bob Baffert-trained 4-year-old was the runaway winner of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park after closing 2016 by beating 2016 Dubai World Cup winner California Chrome in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).
After the Pegasus, Arrogate's connections said they would consider a Dubai World Cup start. Days before the Pegasus, Arrogate was crowned Longines World's Best Racehorse at a London ceremony.
Also nominated to the $10 million Dubai World Cup at the free nominations stage, is the Art Sherman-trained Dortmund, winner of the 2015 Santa Anita Derby (G1) when trained by previous handler, Baffert.
Hoppertunity, the third-place runner in the 2016 Dubai World Cup, and winner of last year's Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park also has been nominated by Baffert. If either of his nominations start in the race, Baffert will be bidding for a third Dubai World Cup having tasted victory in 1998 with Silver Charm and 2001 with Captain Steve.
Songbird, the two-time champion filly trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, also carries a nomination to the Dubai World Cup. A seven-time Grade 1 winner, she was beaten a nose by champion Beholder in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) in November. Songbird's connections have not specifically mentioned targeting the Dubai World Cup.
The 2016 Dubai World Cup runner-up, Mubtaahij, now back in the care of South African trainer, Mike de Kock, again has been nominated for the big race. The highly consistent 2015 UAE Derby (G2) winner returned to the United States for a repeat campaign during the summer, claiming second by a head in the grade 1 Woodward Stakes to Shaman Ghost.
Attempting to achieve a feat that Mubtaahij could not in 2016, could be the Mikio Matsunaga-trained Lani, last year's UAE Derby winner, who, if successful in the Dubai World Cup, will become the first horse to win the UAE Derby and Dubai World Cup in consecutive years.
Four previous de Kock-trained UAE Derby winners have returned the following year for the Dubai World Cup but none have been successful; Victory Moon (3rd in 2004), Asiatic Boy (2nd in 2008), Musir (7th in 2011) and Mubtaahij (2nd in 2016).
Nominated to the Dubai Turf (G1T) sponsored by DP World field is the Mark Casse-trained race mare, Tepin. The US-based six-time group/grade 1 winner traveled to Royal Ascot in the summer to land the group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. After a minor bout with colic set her back in her training for her 2017 debut, the Dubai Turf is considered a longshot but her connections have not yet ruled it out.
Postponed, the Roger Varian-trained winner of the 2016 Dubai Sheema Classic has been nominated for a defense of his title.
Aidan O'Brien's all-conquering Ballydoyle has nominated a strong team including group 1-winning filly, Seventh Heaven for the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1). The globetrotting Highland Reel, winner of the Longines Breeders Cup Turf (G1T), holds a nomination for both the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic and the Dubai World Cup.
The 1200m dirt sprint, the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News (G1), has seen the Chad Summers-trained Mind Your Biscuits, winner of the grade 1 Malibu Stakes and Baffert's Drefong, the 2016 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) winner and reigning Eclipse Award champion male sprinter nominated.
Dubai Racing Club received 1,549 nominations for 779 horses from 22 countries for the 2017 Dubai World Cup day. The 2016 renewal of the event received 1,572 nominations from 709 horses from 20 countries at the same stage.
The first supplementary stage for all races on Dubai World Cup day will close on Feb. 8, when connections can nominate their horse for 0.1% of the prize money of their chosen race. The second supplement is on March 6, and horses can be supplemented for 1% of the prize money.
Declarations and the final, third supplementary stage for Dubai World Cup day 2017 take place March 20, five days before the event is staged at Meydan Racecourse. At this point horses can be supplemented into the race for 10% of the prize money.
"With 22 countries represented among the 2017 Dubai World Cup nominations we once again look forward to hosting a truly global day of racing March 25," said Malih Al Basti, chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee. "The Dubai World Cup is not only the world's richest day of racing but also a day when racing communities from all corners of the globe come together before the eyes of the world on Meydan Racecourse's purpose-built stage in the spirit of competition.
"We are gratified that our support for international racing in the form of subsidies and prize money continues to attract such a strong response from the world's biggest names.
"Yet we are just as pleased to welcome to the Dubai World Cup the relative newcomers to the world stage from countries such as South Korea. Our wish, and that of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, when he founded the Dubai World Cup in 1996 was to create a truly global event and it is rewarding to see that vision fulfilled year after year."
2017 Dubai World Cup nominations by the numbers:
Total Horses: 779
Total Nominations: 1549
$10m Dubai World Cup, Group 1 2000m (dirt): 168
$6m Dubai Sheema Classic, Group 1, 2410m (turf): 181
$6m Dubai Turf, Group 1 1800m (turf): 248
$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen Group 1 1200m (dirt): 167
$1m Al Quoz Sprint, Group 1, 1200m (turf): 192
$2m UAE Derby, Group 2, 1900m (dirt): 155
$1m Dubai Gold Cup, Group 2, 3200m (turf): 115
$1m Godolphin Mile, Group 2, 1600m (dirt): 264
$1m Dubai Kahayla Classic, Group 1 (purebred Arabians) 2000m (dirt): 59