03/11/2016 12:26PM

California Chrome, Mshawish, Frosted gear up for World Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
California Chrome finished second in the 2015 Dubai World Cup and will take another crack at the race March 26.

All across the globe, horsemen are ramping up preparations for the Dubai World Cup card on March 26 at Meydan Racecourse.

The heavy hitters in the $10 million World Cup are training along in Dubai and Florida. California Chrome, who finished second in the 2015 World Cup and comfortably won his handicap prep race Feb. 25 at Meydan, worked last Monday and is scheduled to breeze again this Monday, trainer Art Sherman said. Sherman is back in California and will return to Dubai the Monday before the World Cup while his son, Alan, continues to oversee California Chrome’s day-to-day activity at Meydan.

“He had a mile-and-a-quarter race, so we don’t have to do much with him now,” Art Sherman said Friday. “It’s not going to be anything fancy, just maintaining from here. He’s put on all the weight he lost from his last race. Alan said he just looks fabulous in his training. He’s a lot different horse than he was last year, I believe.”

The day after California Chrome worked, Frosted, the winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 on Feb. 4, had his major World Cup work, going five furlongs in 1:00.40 and galloping out in a striking 1:12.80, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. McLaughlin’s brother, Neal, is overseeing Frosted’s training in Dubai, and Frosted is stabled with other Godolphin horses at the Marmoom training center some distance from Meydan.

“Frosted is doing fabulous,” McLaughlin said Friday. “He’ll probably work Wednesday, weather permitting.”

Marking, who is bound for the $2 million Golden Shaheen, is on the same work schedule as Frosted and went a half-mile in 47.40 seconds on Tuesday, McLaughlin said. McLaughlin has a third horse for the World Cup card in Lady Shipman, who will be one of the favorites for the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint, a five-furlong, straight-course turf dash. Lady Shipman worked Thursday at Palm Meadows in Florida and leaves for Dubai on Sunday night.

Three other horses are shipping from Florida: Mshawish for the World Cup, X Y Jet for the Golden Shaheen, and Heart to Heart for the $6 million Dubai Turf, a nine-furlong grass race.

On Friday, Mshawish, the Donn Handicap winner, had his major World Cup drill at Palm Beach Downs, and it was spectacular. Working on his own, Mshawish was timed in 58.87 seconds for five furlongs and got that blazing time while under a tight hold early and no pressure late.

There are two more American horses in the World Cup, the California-based Hoppertunity and Keen Ice, who will try to rebound from a seventh-place finish March 5 in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3. Keen Ice was stuck outside on an inside-biased track in that race and remains capable of a stronger performance, though he could only finish sixth in the Donn Handicap while making his 2016 debut.

“In retrospect, I wish we’d skipped the Donn and gone straight to Dubai with him,” said Jerry Crawford, president of owner Donegal Racing. “I expect a much better performance in the World Cup, and nobody’s ridden him better than Javier Castellano, who will be up.”

X Y Jet could be favored in the Golden Shaheen, while Heart to Heart and California shipper Flamboyant will be longshots to beat defending champion Solow in the Dubai Turf. Solow came out of his March 3 Dubai Turf prep race, a win in a Polytrack race at Chantilly, in great shape, according to trainer Freddie Head.

“Since the race, I’ve been very happy with him, and I think he’s as well as I’ve ever had him,” Head said Friday. “Last fall, he went for four weeks to his owners’ stud, and then he came back in mid-January to my yard. I’m following exactly the same pattern as last year.”

It appears there won’t be any American horses in the $6 million Sheema Classic, which could have Duramente, Highland Reel, and Postponed as the top betting choices.