By Pat Cummings
For the 2013 Dubai World Cup Program, Saturday, March 30. Presented by AmWest Entertainment.
Race 2 - $1,000,000 Godolphin Mile (UAE-II), sponsored by Etisalat, 1,600 meters (about 1 mile), All-weather (9:10 a.m. EDT)
So what are the biggest questions to reconcile in finding the winner for this race? We see two parts: How does #13 SOFT FALLING RAIN stack up to older rivals and what is the likely pace scenario? In the history of this race, the Godolphin Mile has never had a 3-year-old take a spot in the gate. Soft Falling Rain was champion 2-year-old in South Africa and unbeaten in a career that saw him add two more wins this season in the UAE. Trainer Mike de Kock always thought he would have distance limitations, so he put him away after his UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III) triumph and aimed for this spot. For a horse with questions, he didn't exactly get a plum draw, but major speed presence #12 CAPITAL ATTRACTION is drawn to his inside.
The value is with #6 SURFER. Dropping back from trips at 1,900 and 2,000 meters, the Satish Seemar trainee has sat wide in many races and finally gets both a good draw and the cutback that probably suits him best. In both of those last two starts over longer, Surfer did his best running at 1,600 meters and he actually covered more ground than his margins of defeat to the early favorite for the world's richest horse race. That makes him a massive ante-post overlay on the European markets and an incredibly likely chance in this race.
If #15 MOONWALK IN PARIS drew better, he'd be a likely pick, but we just don't see Ahmad Ajtebi being patient enough to find his way inside, drop out the back and make one run and hope for the splits. That being said, it IS possible that could happen. Moonwalk in Paris's Firebreak Stakes (UAE-III) win was impressive, and he stayed on well despite being run in a spot that was not his best in the Burj Nahaar (UAE-III). He has the look, slightly, of a horse like Calming Influence, who disappointed in his last prep before being the first trained winner by Mahmood Al Zarooni in the Godolphin Mile of 2010.
You just cannot give up on #16 BARBECUE EDDIE, and Pat Dobbs is likely to give this guy the ride of his life. Surely he'll end up wide, but it might allow him to settle off the pace to a greater extent, get a run into the race, and go on with it. He wasn't the most fluid into stride in earlier races this season and settled well out of it, and frankly, it seems the tactic to try here. Overall, he had a bad race last time, but there are plenty of excuses. This is not a tough field, it's just a well-balanced field, and he has a definite chance if he runs back to his Al Maktoum Challenge Round I (UAE-III) win.
Longshot chances for a place include #10 HAATHEQ and #14 SAAMIDD.
1st - #6 SURFER, 2nd - #13 SOFT FALLING RAIN, 3rd - #16 BARBECUE EDDIE
Race 3 - $1,000,000 Dubai Gold Cup (UAE-III), sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, 3200 meters (about 2 miles), Turf (9:45 a.m. EDT)
Our opinion on the form in this race is not a strong one. #1 IMPERIAL MONARCH seems very likely to go on with it from the inside, with #3 CAVALRYMAN and #4 SEISMOS in close attendance. #10 STAR EMPIRE and main prep winner #2 AHZEEMAH are likely to track from mid-pack with #8 TENENBAUM. We just don't have a strong enough opinion to waste your time writing more about it. If you have an angle you find particularly beneficial, go for it.
1st - #3 CAVALRYMAN, 2nd - #1 IMPERIAL MONARCH, 3rd - #10 STAR EMPIRE
Race 4 - $2,000,000 UAE Derby (UAE-II), sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, 1,900 meters (about 1 3/16 miles, All-weather (10:25 a.m. EDT)
Race 4 - $2,000,000 UAE Derby (G2), sponsored by Al Naboodah, 1,900 metres, All-weather
Contrary to the Dubai Gold Cup, we have plenty of strong opinions in the UAE Derby. Break this field into three groups: the seasonally based Dubai runners, the American duo, and new shooters from other global locales. Get a scale and find the balance in these Trakus statistics from the Al Bastakiya.
#7 SECRET NUMBER is unbeaten and should go favored. He won from the cheap seats in the Al Bastakiya, covering the equivalent of approximately 11 lengths more than ZAHEE, SNOWBOARDER, ELLEVAL, and EMOTIF, all of whom were parked inside the entire trip. On the back of that Trakus data, he seems very impressive.
Secret Number’s Al Bastakiya was the slowest out of four runnings at Meydan, by almost 1.5 seconds, on a day when the Tapeta was not playing slow in any way. Of 48 races at 1,900 meters in the history of Meydan, the final time was 45th out of 48. The final 300 meters of the race came home 44th slowest. When you expect horses to run very slow early, you’d think they would quicken late, but there was none of that in this race. Secret Number is unbeaten and better drawn, going for top connections. Can he win? Surely. But in the final balance, we believe slower horses are more telling than bad trips, and side against him entirely.
Inversely, #4 LINES OF BATTLE is a strong on-top selection. In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita, this Ballydoyle-based horse was drawn in gate 14 and covered 76 feet more than winner and stablemate George Vancouver. He actually averaged a faster speed than the winner, despite finishing six lengths adrift – that is
how wide he actually traveled. This is telling. Converting the extra ground to lengths suggest Lines of Battle covered more ground than his margin of defeat. Basically, he expended enough energy to run a winning race with a much too wide trip. He has a win on all-weather too, impressively at Dundalk.
When we saw he was drawn in gate 4 it was all over for us. He’s the horse to beat. It is worth noting that second home in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Noble Tune, had one of the most impressive runs of the season back in the U.S., rattling home from last to win in his first start of the year. Trainer Aidan O’Brien won this race last year with Daddy Long Legs and was second beaten a nose the year before with Master of Hounds. We’d say he’s ticked all the boxes.
#1 LAW ENFORCEMENT goes on the all-weather for the first time and has been superb in his grass runs, going to Italy and defeating Sorella Bella, a filly who had some key form lines for the fillies that ran in 3YO races in the UAE this season. He should go close to the pace but comes with plenty of question marks. On class, he’s in the mix.
The U.S. horses will get attention in that market, but seem a cut below. #5 DICE FLAVOR may have had a slight stutter to the beginning of his trip in the U.S., but was a very impressive winner of the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) on Tapeta, and without the use of Lasix (the same conditions he faces in this race). While the times were very fast early in that race, and he might have been drawn into it as a result, the way in which he won, bulling through horses, was eye catching. If he’s overcome reported "colicky" symptoms, he’s in with a longshot chance. #12 HE’S HAD ENOUGH seems less likely to improve here. He's still just a maiden winner, but over a synthetic surface. His best career run was a second with a perfect trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he ran without Lasix, but there’s almost no circumstance where he gets the perfect trip here.
1st - #4 LINES OF BATTLE, 2nd - #1 LAW ENFORCEMENT, 3rd - #5 DICE FLAVOR
Race 5 - $1,000,000 Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-I), sponsored by Emirates NBD, 1,000 meters (about 5 furlongs), Turf (11:05 a.m. EDT)
The top two finishers in the Meydan Sprint are here, with trainer Mike de Kock indicating that his runner #7 SHEA SHEA is the likeliest winner for his yard out of 13 to face the starter on Saturday, and that's with good reason. Shea Shea set the course record and looked no worse for it, romping home to win in his second start of the season at Meydan. He is is a deserving favorite.
#15 SOLE POWER ran second in the Meydan Sprint for the second straight year and just missed winning this race a year ago when caught by Ortensia in the final strides. Trainer Ed Lynam noted before this year's seasonal debut that Sole Power was not as tuned for that run, and would be a significant improver, and de Kock told us this week he is convinced Sole Power is a significant danger to Shea Shea. Here is where we find Sole Power intriguing.
Speed is plentiful in these races, but American #6 VARSITY is absolutely going to burn on the front end as he knows no other way, and #3 GANAS has to be an attendant to the speed. They will light the fuse and allow a chasing Shea Shea to find his way from mid-pack, and Sole Power to get a swifter run into the race. Look at the sectional times from the Meydan Sprint, and you'll see the rationale for de Kock's concerns.
Shea Shea: 13.58, 10.56, 10.45, 10.76, 11.67 (last 100 in 5.97); Sole Power: 14.02, 10.47, 10.51, 10.73, 11.67 (last 100 in 5.88)
Through the benefit of these sectional times, it is easier to deconstruct the pace of the straight 1,000 meters. Sole Power was basically as fast as the course record-setter, and came home slightly faster, bar the opening 200 meters. Some suggest he is a 1200-meter horse, but they would seem to forget he saw the 1,000 in this race, and before, in absolutely fine form. If Shea Shea is to chase a slightly faster early gallop, it could draw Sole Power in a better spot.
#16 MR BIG is a model of consistency, 19-for-19 in the first three, and the form leads you to believe he has been off since December, when winning a restricted race in Penang, Malaysia in course record fashion. While true, and a pace presence, he has actually had several barrier trials (similar to training races) at 1,000 meters on the Polytrack in Singapore. On March 12, his last trial was 1.3 seconds faster than the next fastest horse to trial that day from a total of 28 to visit the starter. Michael Freedman has him in good form and he is a placing chance.
#11 INVINCIBLE ASH just hasn't seemed her old self at Meydan this year, but it is worth noting the mare did have some progressive trackwork in an 800-meter breeze March 27, which leads us to think she might just be in the mix again, albeit a huge longshot. #1 EAGLE REGIMENT has had issues with a hoof this week and was declared as 50-50 to make the race, with the glass seeming more half-empty.
1st - #15 SOLE POWER, 2nd - #7 SHEA SHEA, 3rd - #16 MR BIG
Race 6 - $2,000,000 Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), sponsored by Gulf News, 1,200 meters, All-weather (11:45 a.m. EDT)
Barring a stumble at the start, there should be no question the Americans will go forward, including #3 TRINNIBERG and #12 PRIVATE ZONE. Private Zone really reminds us of Kinsale King, who won the inaugural running of this race at Meydan in 2010. He hasn't won since he has been in the United States, but he is as game as you can find and absolutely goes from the front. Tactical speed is the key and again, everyone will be watching Trinniberg and Private Zone do their thing--and guess what? We actually believe that they could get away with slower than expected splits as the rest of the jocks know, positively, they have no chance if they speed up with them. So you just watch as Trinniberg and Private Zone get into a rhythm, perhaps slower than expected, and turn for home with a slightly increasing lead. Who comes to get them?
#10 MENTAL was impressive in the Al Shindagha Sprint (UAE-III), winning over course and distance. His form in Australia is absolutely, positively top notch, but not unexpectedly did he perform well first-up. As we've unveiled this Carnival, trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has been so dramatically better when horses are fresh. In the 2012-2013 UAE season, Al Zarooni has ten wins, with nine of them coming first off the layoff (9-for-41). In subsequent starts, his runners are a combined 1-for-29. That one was Anatolian, a turf handicapper who won on the tote as an even money shot. Statistics can lie, but Mental did get a very good trip and progressed well in what was a speedy Al Shindagha. He can win, but we'll side against, especially at a short price.
#1 FREDERICK ENGELS is the horse to grab a slice at a price. Trainer John Moore indicated that he should be more forwardly placed in this race and will hopefully get a good position to pounce should the leaders tire.
We all have horses that we just dislike and are willing to eat crow should they run better than you thought. For us, it's #2 GORDON LORD BYRON. Very well fancied in the European markets, we just don't think he is anywhere near the top sprinter on all-weather. If he is in the top three, he shocks us. #13 KRYPTON FACTOR had a solid gate work early in the week but just does not seem the same horse when he won this race a year ago, coming into the 2012 Dubai Golden Shaheen with stellar performances from the Carnival.
For the complete record, we have been very close with the connections of Private Zone, encouraging them to run in this race, and the back story with the ownership and his dodgy early days campaigning in Panama are just amazing. There should not be a dry eye in the house if they win. But when it comes down to it, we like his readiness more here than Trinniberg's. All Private Zone's speed work was done in the U.S., the same exact preparation Kinsale King had when winning. Sometimes it is as much an accomplishment to get the horse to the race, and that is surely a win no one can take away.
1st - #12 PRIVATE ZONE, 2nd - #3 TRINNIBERG, 3rd - #1 FREDERICK ENGELS
Race 7 - $5,000,000 Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I), sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles), Turf (12:40 p.m. EDT)
Let's make it clear - we believe 11 of 14 horses have legitimate chances of winning this race, and the other three aren't far behind.
At no point last year did we ever respect #4 LITTLE MIKE's ability to see out trips and handle making all the running, and he always did it. So let's just say, unequivocally, he is a very good horse, can win this race, and in so doing, become the first American to ever win on grass at a Dubai World Cup meeting. He's remarkably consistent. The cut back, return to grass, presence of Gary Stevens, and lack of any other confirmed need-the-lead type are all signs in his favor. He's a monster chance to see out the running. Based on the Trakus sectional times in the U.S., if Little Mike can get consistent mid-23 internal fractions, he will be a massive chance. His biggest loss was on boggy going, toss that race. In his Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) and Canadian Turf (gr. IIIT) defeats, he was pressed into suicidal mid-race 22-second sectionals and he didn't stay. All systems go for this guy.
If you want to make a case for any horse in this rich race, you can. One can argue that #10 THE APACHE settled better than almost any runner from the Mike de Kock yard in 2013. A first up winner (one of only 2 from 25 to try), he just missed in the Jebel Hatta (UAE-I) when #5 SAJJHAA caught him. The son of Mogok will settle mid-pack and hope to run on, perhaps not as soon as he did. Christophe Soumillon likely learned from that last race, and he's too good to let it happen again. Whether it is enough to win here remains to be seen, but The Apache gets our tip.
Are we abandoning #6 IGUGU? Maybe yes, maybe no. She's very good, and we don't believe she's shown her best in running. After lightning record fractions first up, she floundered a bit second up and has had significant issues with her cycle, going in and out of season. She can absolutely, positively improve to win this race, and actually reminds us quite a lot of Jay Peg, who won the 2008 Dubai Duty Free after a less than outstanding Carnival with high expectations. It takes so much to get horses right off the quarantine, and like people, they all handle it differently.
The aforementioned Sajjhaa reminds us of Sun Classique, who won the Cape Verdi and Balanchine and then went on to beat males in the 2008 Dubai Sheema Classic with an enterprising ride by Kevin Shea. Did she run a Duty Free winning race last time in the Jebel Hatta? Like Igugu, we would not be surprised by any result.
The European ante-post markets are much too keen on #14 TRADE STORM, who has rattled down the course from last in both of his starts with an explosive turn of foot. The early pace in the Zabeel Mile (UAE-II) was a crawl, slowest ever over the trip at Meydan by almost two seconds, and Trade Storm was the only horse who lifted late, coming home with a final 400 in just more than 22 seconds. He's such an exposed horse, we just have to question the competition and wonder if he caught softer fields and easier spots, and has impressed punters with the way he won as opposed to the competition he defeated. He is a wild underlay at anything less than 10-1.
#7 OCEAN PARK should not be ignored. His weight loss on travel concerned trainer Gary Hennessy a bit, but it was probably expected. He had a grueling but highly successful 2012. While disappointingly fourth in his first-up run in New Zealand, he was every bit as good as he needed to be second up and now goes third off the freshening. A Cox Plate (Aus-I) winner, Ocean Park is one of the most accomplished runners in the race, and seems to have made a strong steady progression, which should help him in the long stretch. There has also been form-franking all through his form lines. You can't pick them all.
1st - #10 THE APACHE, 2nd - #4 LITTLE MIKE, 3rd - #5 SAJJHAA
Race 8 - $5,000,000 Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I)), presented by Longines, 2410 meters (about 1 1/2 miles), Turf (1:20 p.m. EDT)
#8 GENTILDONNA has been a beast. The winner of the 2012 Japan Cup (Jpn-I) against Orfevre, her will to win as seen in that race is dynamic. While she doesn't win by much, she wins, and bulls her way through to get the prize. We were very impressed with her appearance on her first day out of quarantine when she buzzed around the all-weather at Meydan and did not turn a hair. She races with a degree of tactical prominence, but it is possible she is more midfield with the solid pace presence in this race, coming from the likes of #2 ROYAL DIAMOND and #3 GIROLAMO.
#6 ST NICHOLAS ABBEY did not get the best of trips in here last year and was coming late, but is the bloom still on the rose? To get second, we don't think he needs to do much more than run the same race as last year, and if the top pick falters ever so slightly, he could win.
#11 AWAIT THE DAWN holds the course record over ten furlongs from his earlier Carnival win this season and jockey Pat Cosgrave kept him going toward the front in a race with no true pace. He's been progressive this season, and his second in that last race should not be held against him. He just doesn't seem near good enough to beat the Japan Cup winner.
#5 PRINCE BISHOP has been hardly disgraced on the all-weather, where we think he is best, but does go back to grass, where this son of Dubawi was a winner of four races from nine starts. He stayed on well on the all-weather, and thought him a placing chance there, but the favorite is a tough horse to go against.
The competition faced by #9 VERY NICE NAME has been soft, for the most part, in Qatar, but is ticking over in such good form that a placing at a monster price is not out of the question.
1st - #8 GENTILDONNA, 2nd - #6 ST NICHOLAS ABBEY, 3rd - #11 AWAIT THE DAWN
Race 9 - $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), sponsored by Emirates Airline, 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), All-weather (2:05 p.m. EDT)
Here is our idea of the horses we think have at least a slight chance of winning: #11 AFRICAN STORY, #12 ANIMAL KINGDOM, #3 DULLAHAN, #4 HUNTER'S LIGHT, #13 KASSIANO, #8 ROYAL DELTA, and #1 TREASURE BEACH. By no means do they have an equal chance of winning, but we will be heartily surprised if the winner comes from anyone beyond these seven. All three Americans have massive chances to win the race. Affinity for the local surface at Meydan has been a key in two of the three runnings of the race. Remember, Victoire Pisa hadn't been over it and was off a break into this spot, but in the end, he was probably a horse of fate (winning soon after the Japanese tsunami in one of the most emotional World Cups in history).
This is the world's richest horse race and we do not intend to mince words; again, the horses listed above represent our opinion of the only horses who hold legitimate chances. The least likely of them is African Story, who just doesn't seem possible to see out the 2,000-meter trip. Overall, he might run more forward given the stretch-out and slower pace than in the 1,600 meter races he been winning, so we toss him. While he loves Meydan, seeing him defeat some of these other contenders, being asked to do something he's never done before, seems a vicious proposition.
Treasure Beach is a fascinating play, especially in the exotic wagers, internationally. According to Trakus, he ran the fastest final 200 meters and second-fastest final 400 meters in the Maktoum Challenge Round III (UAE-I) on Super Saturday, his first start off the layoff. We reiterate the meaningful data on trainer Mike de Kock: his horses have won 2 of 25 first up this season and 5 of 23 second up, all with meaningful improvement. Christophe Soumillon gets on Treasure Beach as Jamie Spencer has to ride #6 SIDE GLANCE, and the change can't hurt him in any way. Spencer likely recognized that first-up wasn't the time, and that this was his World Cup mount, so he let himself get a bit of a shuffle turning for home and he still ran on well. Expect Soumillon to have him closer. De Kock told us this week he is absolutely more right than he has been at any point in time this season, and while he'd like to have a little more time, there isn't any. While a placing chance is more likely, he does hold longshot chances in a race that has produced three big-priced winners at Meydan. Ignore at your own peril.
Kassiano has been a Carnival revelation and covered plenty of extra ground in his races and still just keeps fighting at the end. This is a class test, but so was last time and he still acquitted himself in good form then. He reminds us so much of Allybar and a younger Monterosso, progressive Godolphin all-weather lovers who just kept finding more. He'll carry the colors of Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed, but do not look at that as a negative. He settles mid-pack or farther back and will try to make one run. This son of Soldier Hollow scored the largest margin of victory ever on Meydan all-weather when he won a handicap against a very weak field Feb. 28, then bounced back ten days later to run second in a group I. Still an outsider, Kassiano runs on from the tail if the pace is hot and fits the bill of past impressive runners in this race. A threat.
Two-time Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic winner Royal Delta has looked a picture of perfection each morning, but she did last year too, when we tipped her in this race. She bounced back in remarkable fettle, and her seasonable debut at Gulfstream Park was as easy as it looks on paper. To us, she is the controlling speed in the race, and how much she settles could dictate the end game. Jose Lezcano, essentially, had his britches ridden off by the rest of the world's jockeys in this race last year, and it wouldn't happen again as the switch to Smith was made. She seems just fine over the surface, but got shuffled about and around in last year's race. Trainer Bill Mott is crystal clear—"If she didn't handle the surface, we wouldn't be back"—but she had a brutal trip and is deserving of another chance. If anyone goes wire-to-wire, it's this one.
Does #7 PLANTEUR go with the top mare? He won all on the front end at Lingfield last time against an absolutely dreadful bunch, and trainer Marco Botti indicated they expect to make the running; if so, it could be a very hot tempo and possibly set the table some others. Sure, Planteur was third in this race last year, but he is just so tough to back after being life and death against a suspect bunch last time. When both Planteur and Royal Delta drew together for this race, the thought we had is that they could potentially hook up and go ever so slightly faster. What we know for sure about Royal Delta is that the only way she gets shuffled back is a bad start (or later in the race if she goes too fast). If she runs her race, the mare is the best controlling speed.
#5 CAPPONI comes off the shelf, and everything we've heard for weeks is that he just isn't the same horse. Could he be keen fresh and prompt the gallop, perhaps to ensure Hunter's Light gets a good run? It's possible, and a scary proposition for anyone with natural speed, but we cannot take him or last year's winner, #10 MONTEROSSO, seriously given their troubled preps, time off, and lack of the same fervor they showed last season. If either Monterosso or Capponi land in the top three, we would be absolutely stone shocked.
Animal Kingdom is a gorgeous equine specimen, but winless since last February; lightly raced, clearly a sensitive animal. But he is a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner, and the first to win beyond his 3-year-old season in a massively long time, and in his past, he was a two-time all-weather winner, including a handy race in the Spiral (gr. III) over Polytrack in his last start before Derby glory. He got an admittedly poor ride by Joel Rosario last time when he ran into the pace too soon and was asked for too much. In our opinion, if Rosario doesn't make that move, he might have finished even farther behind than his 1 1/4-length defeat. In this race, the son of Leroidesanimaux must sit a patient stalking trip, and go on from there. While he has looked good in the morning, we are ever so slightly concerned that he may have just done too much work since he got here, as he was difficult to contain fresh off the plane and in his early days. He settled into a nice gallop by Tuesday, but you just do not know. Again, you can only pick one winner, and while he has every right to win this race, we will side against him. As this analyst is based on American shores, we'll happily lose our tip if a Kentucky Derby winner pulls this one off like Silver Charm did.
Hunter's Light has been THE all-weather horse of the meet, cruising to win the second and third rounds of the Maktoum Challenge with style...and perfect trips. If he finds ANY trouble, it could spell the end of his chances, but he is one of the likeliest winners of the top prize. His Anatolian Trophy at Veliefendi was explosive, trouncing last year's Dubai World Cup fifth Zazou (who goes in the Godolphin Mile). While he ticks some boxes as a more-than-understandable contender, it cannot be stressed enough that some of his competition has not been the greatest. Sure, we tipped Surfer in the Godolphin Mile, but that horse was a maiden to start the season, and Prince Bishop would be lucky with a placing chance in the Sheema Classic. Others who ran in the Maktoum Challenge, like Little Mike, Treasure Beach, Haatheq and Jamr, were either overmatched or prepping for the next step. Is this a case of missing the wedding and catching the funeral? It could be, but we still expect a big run.
Dullahan requires some creativity. Grab your pens and follow me.
Draw a line through the Burj Nahaar - prep race, leg-stretcher, bad ride, not cranked-up; Draw a line through the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) - wrong surface, too long, steady pace, wide trip; Draw a line through the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) - see previous; Draw a line through the Haskell (gr. I) - speed-favoring surface, never a chance; Draw a line through the Belmont (gr. I) - bad ride, sandy track, wide, climbing, got the shuffle.
This is a much more interesting contender now. At the end of the day, he could legitimately finish just about anywhere in this race, but here is our overriding thought: American champion trainer Dale Romans is in the form of his life, and knows much too well that you prepare a horse differently for $10 million than you do for $200,000, over a trip much too short, with a bad ride from an unfamiliar jock, a rough draw, a one-turn race, and three weeks out from the biggest prize in the sport. His appearance and behavior on course this week has Romans tickled, and Gary Stevens, probably the smartest rider in the room, knows what he has to do to win this race.
Dullahan will settle off the pace, get into a rhythm, be steered out of trouble, probably plotting a slightly wider course, and push him from 600 meters out, to make one steady progression. If he hits a wall, it could be tough, but those are the chances you take. He is the horse for us, and frankly, he'll be the best price of the U.S. runners.
In case everyone forgot, Dale Romans trained the winner of this race in 2005, Roses in May. Underestimate the horse with some rough running lines at your own peril, but this guy couldn't be better.
An American trifecta is well within the range of possibilities, and multi-race players should protect with all three U.S. horses, but we look to spice up the trifecta with an improving longshot.
1st - #3 DULLAHAN, 2nd - #4 HUNTER'S LIGHT, 3rd - # 1 TREASURE BEACH
Good luck and enjoy the 2013 Dubai World Cup!