11/20/2001 1:00AM

300 U.S. nominees to Dubai races


American-trained horses account for 300 of the 720 initial nominations for the seven races on the $15.25 million Dubai World Cup card, which will be run at Nad Al Sheba on the night of March 23, 2002. Of the 89 nominees to the $6 million Dubai World Cup itself, 43 are trained in the United States. Heading that list are Lido Palace, Balto Star, Euchre, Freedom Crest, Gander, Generous Rosi, Graeme Hall, Outofthebox, and Wooden Phone.

Godolphin has named a powerhouse quartet of Sakhee, E Dubai, Street Cry, and Noverre. All four will have a home-court advantage, as they will be trained in Dubai throughout the winter.

So too will Nayef, who is trained in England by Marcus Tregoning for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. The Champion Stakes winner, Nayef is the most prominent European-based horse on the list, but he will be sent to Dubai to prepare for either the World Cup or the $2 million, 1 1/2-mile Dubai Sheema Classic on turf.

Squirtle Squirt, Xtra Heat, and Caller One, the first three finishers in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, have been nominated to the six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen. Caller One will be defending his title if he goes in that $2 million dash.

Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal heads the nominees to the $2 million Dubai Duty Free at 1 1/8 miles on turf, while Aidan O'Brien, who has 13 nominees altogether, has named his undefeated European 2-year-old champion and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, Johannesburg, to the $2 million UAE Derby, which has been upped in distance from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/4 miles.

Bob Baffert has nominated Officer to the UAE Derby, which has also attracted the attention of Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old champs Roxinho from Brazil and Ha Ha from Australia.