Led by last year’s winner Monterosso, 272 horses from 15 countries have been nominated to the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), the world’s richest Thoroughbred race with a purse of $10 million. The 18th renewal of the 2,000 meter (1 1/4 mile) race will be contested March 30 over the Tapeta all-weather surface at Meydan Racecourse.
In addition to the featured World Cup, the nine-race card includes eight other group races, with purses totaling $27.25 million.
The UAE led all countries with 184 nominations to the World Cup, followed by 27 from the U.S. Included among the U.S. nominees are 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Animal Kingdom , two-time Eclipse Award-winning mare Royal Delta, and the Dale Romans-trained duo of Dullahan and Little Mike. Dullahan and Little Mike both were also nominated to the Dubai Sheema Classic and Dubai Duty Free (both group I) and both are expected to prep for the World Cup by competing on the March 9 card at Meydan.
“In 2002 we had 87 horses nominated for the Dubai World Cup at the free nominations stage (and) this year we have 272,” Martin Tally, international manager for the Dubai Racing Club said in a release. “The nominations shouldn’t be used as an assessment of the quality of the ultimate field, but the large increases over the years do serve to demonstrate the status that the flagship race, and indeed all the races on the Dubai World Cup day, has attained all over the world.”
The Maktoum family’s Godolphin Racing took home its fifth World Cup title last year when Monterosso took command in mid-stretch and powered home to easily win for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, with Godolphin-owned Capponi holding on for second. Capponi is also nominated for this year’s race.
Other countries with multiple World Cup nominees are South Africa with 18, Japan (11), Great Britain (7), Ireland (5), Hong Kong (4), Saudi Arabia (4), Bahrain (2), France (2), Germany (2), Norway (2), and Singapore (2).