Sakhee Heads Dubai World Cup Invitees

Sheikh Hamdan's homebred Sakhee, who won last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) and ran a close second in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), heads a field of 11 runners invited to contest the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) at 1 1/4 miles on dirt March 23. Six of the runners are based in the United Arab Emirates or nearby Saudi Arabia. Only one of the contestants, Western Pride, calls the U.S. home. A grade II winner in January, Western Pride ran second in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 2.

Following are the 11 contestants (and country where trained):
Agnes Digital (Japan)
Crimson Quest (Saudi Arabia)
Keltos (France)
Nayef (England)
Royal Tryst (UAE)
Sakhee (UAE)
Sei Mi (Saudi Arabia)
State Shinto (UAE)
Street Cry (UAE)
To the Victory (Japan)
Western Pride (U.S.)

The United Arab Emirates will host six other rich stakes. French-trained Jim and Tonic was invited back to defend his title in the $2 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at about 1 1/8 miles on grass. Val Royal, winner of the 2001 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), and graded stakes winner Del Mar Show will represent the U.S.

Another defending winner, Caller One from the U.S., will try to make it two in row in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at six furlongs on dirt. The race also has attracted from the U.S. champion filly Xtra Heat, plus last year's runner-up, Men's Exclusive, along with Bonapaw and Echo Eddie.

The $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at 1 1/4 miles on dirt, once the reported next stop on the way to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for Repent, instead will have U.S.-trained Total Impact giving it a try. The $1 million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) on dirt boasts three U.S.-based runners: Blade Prospector, Grey Memo, and Peeping Tom.

Dubai also will host the $2 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) at 1 1/2 miles on grass, and the $250,000 Dubai Kahayla Classic at 1 1/4 miles on dirt for purebred Arabians.