03/23/2016 9:00AM

Dubai World Cup: California Chrome will have to do it from post 11

Email
Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
California Chrome (above) breaks from post 11 of 12 on Saturday in the Dubai World Cup. Keen Ice breaks from post 1, Mshawish post 2, Frosted post 9, and Hoppertunity post 10.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – California Chrome will break from post 11 in a field of 12 Saturday night when he attempts to become the third Kentucky Derby winner to capture the Dubai World Cup, following Silver Charm and Animal Kingdom.

Trainer Art Sherman had only two options left, posts 11 and 12, when California Chrome’s name was finally pulled during Wednesday’s post-position draw for the $10 million World Cup at Meydan. Posts for the first four stakes on the World Cup card were drawn Monday, and four other Group 1 stakes had post positions randomly assigned before the World Cup draw. But for the World Cup post draw, the names of each horse was drawn and a representative from selected a post. California Chrome’s name was the second-last pulled, leaving Sherman little choice.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, but he’s got tactical speed,” Sherman said. “I’m not worried about it.”

From the rail out, the World Cup field consists of Keen Ice, Mshawish, Gun Pit, Mubtaahij, Special Fighter, Candy Boy, Vadamos, Hokko Tarumae, Frosted, Hoppertunity, California Chrome, and Teletext.

Gun Pit’s name was the first drawn, and his Hong Kong-based connections selected post 3. Next up was Mshawish, and with Todd Pletcher having said after watching Mshawish train this morning that he wanted an inside draw, post 2 was selected. The Japanese horse Hokko Tarumae, a major pace factor, came next, and his connections chose a middle draw, 8. Frosted’s name came fifth, and – somewhat surprisingly – trainer Kiaran McLaughlin went for an outside draw, choosing the post 9.

“We want to be out in the clear, didn’t want to be down inside too much, so we’re happy where we are,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a long run down from the start to the first turn. He’s going to be forwardly placed. Ideally it’d be speed inside of us. California Chrome outside, we just have to see what happens.”

With the sixth pick, Special Fighter’s camp chose post 6 for the surprise gate-to-wire winner of Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on March 5, when some thought there was an inside-speed bias. Trainer Mike de Kock took post 4 for 2015 UAE Derby winner Mubtaahij, and Jerry Crawford, president of Donegal racing, went the same route, choosing post 1 for Keen Ice, when posts 11 and 12 still were available. Keen Ice races with blinkers on, the hope being the equipment change will get him into the race sooner than was the case when he finished seventh in the Maktoum Challenge earlier this month.

Sherman suggested Tuesday he didn’t want California Chrome getting trapped down inside, but said after the draw he’d have taken post 1 over 11 or 12 had it been available. Now, jockey Victor Espinoza will have to survey the tactics inside him, seeing how determined Hokko Tarumae and Special Fighter are to make the lead, judging how hard to send, when to drop in for position.

“The outside is good if you’ve got the horse,” Sherman said.

In the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint, Lady Shipman drew post 13, the widest post, but outside draws are actually better in five-furlong straight-course Meydan turf sprints than inside. Ertijaal, Lady Shipman’s main pace rival, drew post 6. Sole Power, the race’s 2015 winner, breaks from 7, and Hong Kong star Peniaphobia has post 5.

In the Golden Shaheen, the six-furlong dirt sprint, sure favorite X Y Jet drew post 3, and with a sharp break he’ll soon be in front of his nine rivals, among them the McLaughlin-trained Confrontation in post 8.

The American shipper Flamboyant, a longshot, drew post 6 in the $6 million Dubai Turf, which drew a field of 15 and is likely to have Tryster (post 2) and Intilaaq (post 8) as the favorites. The nine-horse, $6 million Sheema Classic has three horses that appear to stand out, with Postponed drawn in 7, Highland Reel in 8, and Duramente in post 4.