Captain Steve's owner, Mike Pegram, stood 10 yards away as trainer Bob Baffert issued instructions to Jerry Bailey in the Nad al Sheba walking ring prior to the sixth Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on the evening of March 24. "I let them go to it," he said. "Those guys will be in the Hall of Fame one day (Bailey already is) and I'll be standing outside on the sidewalk. They know what they're doing." Asked the significance of running in his first $6-million race, the world's richest, Pegram reflected for a minute: "I never thought I'd be running for $6 million in my entire career. That's a lot of $10,000 claimers."
Mike Pegram's Captain Steve and Godolphin's Best of the Bests, co-favorites at 7-4 for Saturday's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) with British bookmaker William Hill, will break from the starting gate alongside each other in post-positions 11 and 10 respectively as a dozen international runners face the starter for the $6 million pot, richest in racing with $3.6 million earmarked for the winner. Also competing in the 1 1/4-mile test is Bobby Frankel-trained Aptitude.
The Dubai World Cup is not just the world's richest horse race, it can also be the most expensive racing event on the globe to attend. Though fans can take a low-budget approach, with free admission to certain areas, the more well-heeled patrons might reach deep into their pockets and go first class, paying as much as US$742 for a seat in one of the suites overlooking the finish line.
There are clear favorites in three of the big Dubai World Cup Day races, but in THE BIG race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup, Captain Steve from the U.S. and the home team's Best of the Bests are both 7-4. According to William Hill, one of England's leading bookmakers. the biggest favorite on the day is Sunline, who is the 13-8 choice in the Dubai Duty Free.
Top sprinter Tayseer was euthanized Wednesday after sustaining a leg fracture, the Dubai World Cup's chief veterinarian told the Associated Press.
Bob Baffert-trained Captain Steve, likely favorite for Saturday's $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), zipped six furlongs in 1:10.44 over the Nad al Sheba track Monday night. Working on the outside of local horse Alboostan, Captain Steve was clocked in 23.24 seconds for the final quarter, drawing clear of his workmate in the closing stages.
Aptitude, who is in Dubai preparing for Saturday's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), worked 1,200 meters (six furlongs) Sunday. The son of A.P. Indy covered the distance in 1:10.4 while moving with stablemate Lido Palace.
TVG announced on Friday that it would feature exclusive live U.S. television coverage and in-home wagering on the sixth running of the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) from Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai, U.A.E. on Saturday, March 24, 2001.
The fields for the $15.25million Dubai World Cup meeting at Nad Al Sheba on March 24 are all but finalized with just one or two horses yet to confirm their participation. U.S.-based Ladies Din and Arkadian Hero will contest the grade II Dubai Duty Free, joining Captain Steve and Aptitude, who will run in the featured Wolrd Cup.
Dubai World Cup officials were quick to douse the fire of rumors Thursday that foot-and-mouth disease had broken out in the Emirates, threatening the running of the March 24 event.
Dubai World Cup officials issued the following statement Thursday regarding foot and mouth disease in the country and its affect on runners in the Dubai World Cup Day races:
International representatives in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup meeting at Nad Al Sheba on March 24 are under no risk, with officials for the Ministry of Agriculture in the United Arab Emirates moving quickly to dispel fears of a possible outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the country.
Arlington Park will serve as the simulcast host for the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 24. The world's richest race will be one of four races with total purses of $12 million simulcast from Dubai's Nad Al Sheba Racecourse that day.
Mike Pegram's Captain Steve and Juddmonte Farms' Aptitude, America's two entries in the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on March 24, each worked in Southern California on Friday, one day before they are scheduled to leave on their long journey to the desert nation. Also on Friday, trainer Robert Frankel indicated that Gary Stevens will ride Aptitude for the first time in the World Cup.
Representatives of 17 different countries totaling 80 international runners have confirmed their participation at the 2001 Dubai World Cup meeting at Nad Al Sheba on March 24. The $6-million group I Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates and the opening leg of the 2001 Emirates World Series Racing Championships, is likely to attract 14 runners, including Captain Steve and Aptitude from the U.S.
Champion New Zealand mare Sunline, having her final race before heading to Dubai, coasted to victory March 3 at Warwick Farm in Sydney in the seven furlong Apollo Stakes (Aust-II).
The Godolphin Seven Stars Competition, a free on-line contest tracking the success of horses campaigned by Godolphin Racing, has been enhanced for 2001, with prizes worth over $500,000.
New Zealand mare Sunline will be in Dubai on March 24, but not for the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). Sunline had been considered a possibility for the world's richest race, but following a journey to Dubai, her connections decided she would instead contest the $2 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-II), at about nine furlongs on turf.
Best Of The Bests announced himself the horse to beat in the group I Dubai World Cup with a performance of sheer dominance in the Listed second round of the Maktoum Challenge at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night.
When newly turned 4-year-olds Captain Steve and Albert the Great renewed their battle at Gulfstream on Feb. 3 in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), it was under far different circumstances. Primarily, with Giant's Causeway off to the breeding shed and Tiznow plying his trade back on the West Coast, Steve and Albert were the heavies in the 43rd renewal of the race that traditionally kicks off the year for the handicap division. And strategically, while the Donn would ultimately come down to a stretch battle between the pair, like Picasso painting in straight lines the two runners abandoned their recognized running styles and embarked on journeys that might offer hints into what 2001 might hold in store.
Juddmonte Farms' Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Aptitude will be pointed to a start in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), according to a report in Racing Post.
With a total of 248 entries, the United States leads the nominations for the seven races that comprise the 2001 Dubai World Cup card at Nad al Sheba Racecourse next March 24.
The Dubai World Cup Committee has hiked purses for stakes on the World Cup undercard.
Dubai World Cup Chairman Les Benton announced Sunday that the sixth renewal of the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) will be run on Saturday, March 24, 2001. The World Cup will be the feature race of a seven-race card in which all seven races will be run under group status.
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