Ken and Sarah Ramsey will aim to make international history on March 27 when their Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) winner Furthest Land competes in the $10-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
"We’ve got a shot to be the first American owners to win two World Cups," Ramsey said March 11, in addition to the opportunity to become the first owners anywhere to win a $10-million race. The winner’s share of the unprecedented purse will be $6-million, an amount equal to the previous total purse of the World Cup, which already was the richest race on the globe.
"I’m very honored to get an invitation (for Furthest Land to compete)," said Ramsey, who won the World Cup in 2005 with Roses in May. "There were 288 nominations from 15 countries for the Dubai World Cup, and it says a whole lot about our horse to get selected to run in the world’s first $10-million race."
Furthest Land previously had been invited to run in the $1-million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II). But Ramsey kept hoping for an invitation to the Dubai World Cup, which will be run over 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on the new Tapeta synthetic surface at Meydan Racecourse, and to his delight, it came through earlier this week.
"We’re in and we’re going," said Ramsey, who plans to take his grandsons William and Nolan to Dubai as well as his daughter Jill and her husband. "The horse is doing super. He’s all dappled out and he’s on top of his game."
A 5-year-old gelding by Smart Strike who was claimed by the Ramseys and trainer Mike Maker for $35,000 from his breeder, Catherine Wills, in 2008, Furthest Land worked five furlongs in :59.80 at Gulfstream Park on March 6, fastest of 19 moves at the distance.
"We think he’ll get the 1 1/4 miles and he loves the synthetics," said Mark Partridge, who manages the Ramseys’ Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky. "He’s working bullets and he’s training fantastic. Mike (Maker) says he keeps getting better and better."
Although Furthest Land has not won in two starts this year, he has been somewhat unlucky. Ramsey said the gelding sulked when jockey Garrett Gomez tried to rate him in the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) on January 9 and he finished seventh in that race. In his only other start, Furthest Land was fifth in the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles on February 7 but rallied five-wide and was closing rapidly, finishing just three-quarters of a length behind winner Richard's Kid, who also will run in the Dubai World Cup.
Julien Leparoux, winner of the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 2009 after riding three winners at the Breeders’ Cup including Furthest Land, will be back aboard the gelding in the World Cup, Ramsey said.
The addition of Furthest Land to the prospective Dubai World Cup field means that five American-based horses are set to compete. Besides Richard’s Kid, the others are 2009 champion older male and turf male Gio Ponti , Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) winner Life Is Sweetand multiple grade I winner Take the Points.