03/17/2015 3:46PM

California Chrome leads U.S. group of 16 to Dubai

Shigeki Kikkawa
California Chrome will run in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 28 at Meydan.

They’re back.

After basically saying thanks but no thanks in 2014, when a mere three horses made the trip, U.S.-based horses will travel en masse for the March 28 Dubai World Cup card at Meydan Racecourse.

Prospective fields for the races provided Tuesday by Dubai Racing Club officials include 16 American horses who were to ship overseas Tuesday. The return of dirt racing this year at Meydan, which had employed an all-weather racing surface since its opening in 2010, spurred the increased participation.

The American contingent includes two starters for the $10 million Dubai World Cup, California Chrome and Lea. Donn Handicap winner Constitution had been an intended World Cup runner before injuring a shin, and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern might have traveled as well had he recovered in time from a foot problem.

Still, California Chrome and Lea figure to be the favorites in an expected nine-horse field that also includes two former American runners, Candy Boy and Ron the Greek, the latter based in Saudi Arabia, and the former having been based in the United Arab Emirates since January following his private purchase. The others invited to the World Cup and expected to run are African Story, Epiphaneia, Hokko Tarumae, Prince Bishop, and Side Glance.

Main Sequence, the 2014 champion male turf horse and last year’s winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf, will attempt to become the first American-based horse to win one of the World Cup card turf stakes when he starts in the $6 million Sheema Classic. His trainer, Graham Motion, saddled the only U.S.-based World Cup winner during Meydan’s all-weather era, Animal Kingdom, who won in 2013.

The other American horses on the card are Secret Circle, Salutos Amigos, and Big Macher, all of whom go in the $2 million Golden Shaheen at six furlongs on dirt; Mshawish, who was invited to the $6 million Dubai Turf (formerly called the Duty Free); Bradester and Prayer for Relief, who go in the $1 million Godolphin Mile on dirt; Distinctiv Passion and Green Mask, who run in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on turf; and two horses for the $2 million UAE Derby, Galicado and My Johnny Be Good.

The Motion-trained Quadrivium is traveling partly as a companion for Main Sequence, with hopes of getting an invitation to the Godolphin Mile.

The Sheema Classic also is expected to include Designs on Rome, Dolniya, Flintshire, Harp Star, Just The Judge, One and Only, Sheikhzayedroad, Sky Hunter, and True Story.

Along with Mshawish, the projected Dubai Turf field includes Cladocera, Earnshaw, Euro Charline, Farraaj, Hunter’s Light, Limario, Solow, The Grey Gatsby, Trade Storm, and Umgiyo.

The UAE Derby, also open to horses who are 4-year-olds on Southern Hemisphere time, is a major Kentucky Derby qualifying race, awarding 100 points to its winner. The leading Dubai-based horses expected to start are Mubtaahij and Maftool.

Notably absent from the list of expected starters this year are any horses trained by Aidan O’Brien, who in the past has been a reliable participant in the World Cup races.

Judith Van Doren More than 1 year ago
California Chrome is stronger, bigger, and more at ease this year, and will be the horse to beat in 2016 Dubai World Cup. Racing luck, CC. from a Chromie.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Good Luck in Dubai, Chrome, and to All. If CC wins, will he be ranked #1 in the world?
Dick Brasher More than 1 year ago
CC may win,since Shared belief is not in the race.
mike More than 1 year ago
Yeah, blame that on Chrome also.
Anne Armstrong More than 1 year ago
We ARE going to make it with California Chrome and put California on yhr map!!! He is is a gorgeous.horse and we Chromies are rooting for him! Be still my heart!
Nicholas Miller More than 1 year ago
He will only win if he gets hisnway and BC shared belief isn't on the race. Shared belief best dirt horse on planet, and only lost BC of bad stewding and cheating by Garcia and bayern
CcWinsalot More than 1 year ago
Best of luck to California Chrome in the World Cup. Art Sherman has handled and prepared Chrome with the skill of an artist. I'm pulling for Main Sequence, as well. Go USA.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Stay away from picking the Godolphin or Shadwell horses in the World Cup. They ALWAYS beat nothing in the Maktoum Challenges, and take a lot of money on race night. Yes on Tapeta they had success and have had success beating nobody on dirt in the preps. This World Cup race for me is won by the Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia. He is the best horse that will be at Meydan period. The have many dirt tracks in Japan, and no doubt he has had many works over the dirt and will show his versatility on both Turf and Dirt. Then it is a toss up between California Chrome, Wattani, and Lea. African Story and Prince Bishop can't run with this quality on dirt. Some one please remind me the GR1's those two have won outside Dubai on either Turf , Dirt , or Synthetics? None.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
I could care less about a GR3 dirt race for 10 million. The Sheena again is the class of the night.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
mike More than 1 year ago
Really? Alot wouldn't agree with you.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
I don't care who agrees with me. See this is where freedom of speech and freedom to think comes into play.
Tim Roberts More than 1 year ago
What is it about California Chrome, that brings out the trolls?
mike More than 1 year ago
Cause they have nothing else to do but attempt to tear down a very good horse. Joke is they call themselves racing fans.
Valerie Ramirez More than 1 year ago
I love Chrome and Ron the Greek, I am a bit sentimental towards them. I love all horses, though. Best of luck to all. I hope they all get great trips and there is no question on who the winner is. I am really looking forward to seeing them all run.
mike More than 1 year ago
Agree with you. Some don't love the horse just the greedy side of racing.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I wish we could remember that these horses are going to represent the U.S. That's us! Some of us anyway... Safe trips to all.
mike More than 1 year ago
Yes and if we didn't have some knuckleheads on here slamming Chrome at every turn.