03/26/2004 1:00AM

Dubai World Cup card analysis and graded entries


There are two things to remember about the dirt course at Nad Al Sheba, where the Emirates Racing Association's $15 million Dubai World Cup card will be run on Saturday night (Saturday morning in the U.S.).

One is that it was made to resemble that of Churchill Downs so that Godolphin horses might become acquainted with the surface for the Kentucky Derby. Second, and more importantly, its stretch is 2 1/2 furlongs long. This gives stayers and closers a better chance than they might have on American tracks with short stretches.

Remember, too, that the 6-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen is run on a straight course. If one side of the draw is packed with speed, the winner is likely to come from that side. Jockeys inexperienced with straight courses must also beware of moving too soon, as Tyler Baze did last year, probably costing Avanzado the victory.

Godolphin Mile

During looks like an international good thing here. Trained by Bob Baffert, who has won the Dubai World Cup with Silver Charm and Captain Steve, he is a miler born and bred and looks good enough to hold off defending champ Firebreak, who just held off 2002 winner Grey Memo last year. During is surely superior to Grey Memo, thus his selection is made in the utmost confidence, especially as Firebreak has not run since December. The frequently disappointing Inamorato should plod on for third, but the others all look outclassed.

NAS 2 - GODOLPHIN MILE (Group 2) - Probable Post 8:40 a.m. EST
1 mile. 4-year-olds & up. Purse $1,000,000

41DuringJ D Bailey126Class of field for 2x Dubai World Cup-winning trainer 2-1
78FirebreakL Dettori126Godolphin will have defending champ ready3-1
86InamoratoK McEvoy126Always finds one or two better4-1
22ConflictB Doyle126Sharp local veteran won this in 200010-1
55EstimraarG Hind1263rd last year, looked dull in prep off one-year absence12-1
17Cherry PickingsT E Durcan126Has improved under leading UAE trainer Al Kurdi 12-1
63ExcessivepleasureJ K Court126Not off last two 12-1
94Tropical StarR Mullen126Likes the course 10-1
39D'AnjouM J Kinane126Last was dull; makes dirt debut 20-1

UAE Derby

Decidedly not a Kentucky Derby prep this year, it may be the card's best betting race. Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds have been entered in abundance, the best of them perhaps Little Jim, an Argentine Group 1 winner on dirt who won the UAE 2000 Guineas and who was a bit unlucky when third last time behind Chilean-bred Petit Paris in the Al Bastikiya. The selection, however, is Ascertain, a three-time winner in England on the Lingfield dirt track. His 108 compares favorably with a number of promising European classic candidates. He will be saddled one last time by Nick Littmoden before moving on to Niall O'Callaghan, who sees him as an Illinois Derby and Pennsylvania Derby type. Jack Sullivan, second in the UAE 2000 Guineas, should not be overlooked.

NAS 3 - UAE DERBY (Group 2) - Probable Post 9:20 a.m. EST
1 1/8 miles. 3-year-olds. Purse $2,000,000

52AscertainE Ahern121British dirt specialist on his way to U.S. 10-1
19Little JimT E Durcan130Better than latest when he had trouble3-1
74Jack SullivanM J Kinane121Ahead of Rosencrans, Lingfield listed winner on Sat.5-1
37Petit ParisJ D Bailey130Wins this with repeat of last3-1
61Great ExhibitionL Dettori1211 1/4l behind Master David;Godolphin's mdn Derby hope6-1
23Lundy's LiabilityW Marwing130One-paced colt may prefer turf 6-1
86MenhoubahA Solis118Nice filly must be better than UAE Oaks 3rd14-1
98TamarilloG Hind118UAE Oaks winner facing much tougher 14-1
45Festive StyleR L Moore126UAE Oaks runner-up appears up against it 16-1

Dubai Sheema Classic

This is a tight fit between a pair of French mile and a half types in Polish Summer and Fair Mix. Polish Summer rates a slight edge, and his appearance marks the debut of the trainer-jockey team of Andre Fabre and Gary Stevens. Polish Summer possesses a turn of foot, but Stevens must beware of his tendency to lug in late. He beat Bright Sky in his prep and wins this with a repeat of his very good second in the Hong Kong Vase, in which he had Warrsan back in third with Fair Mix fifth. Fair Mix won a course and distance prep for this and should hold on for second from Warrsan. Hard Buck would have to run his best race to crack the first three.

NAS 4 - DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC (Group 1) - Probable Post 10:10 a.m. EST
1 1/2 miles (Turf). 4-year-olds & up. Purse $2,000,000

96Polish SummerG L Stevens123Edge over Fair Mix; debut for new Fabre/Stevens team 4-1
312Fair MixO Peslier123Course & distance winner would be no surprise3-1
139WarrsanM J Kinane123Springtime horse should be right there6-1
610Hard BuckJ R Velazquez123Prepped nicely at Gulfstream; facing much tougher8-1
11 2RazkallaT E Durcan123Last says he won't be too far away 14-1
74Lunar SovereignL Dettori123Decent seasonal debut behind Fair Mix 8-1
413GoryllaA Mota123Brazilian import won Argentina's best race 25-1
58Grand EkinoksA Solis123Turk was 5th in last year's tougher edition 15-1
811MartalineJ D Bailey123Fabre's second string prefers longer 15-1
23DelsarteK McEvoy123Improving; makes Godolphin debut off 7-mth absence 15-1
10 1RawyaanR Hills 123One of the outsiders25-1
15Compton BolterE Ahern123A listed race type at best 25-1
127Scott's ViewS Chin123Handicapper was well behind Fair Mix in latest30-1

Dubai Golden Shaheen

American invaders have won three of the last four runnings of this race. It should be more of the same this time with favored Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat taking the prize. He will benefit from an 11-pound weight shift to his advantage over Alke, who beat him last time in the Deputy Minister Handicap, as well as from the services of Jerry Bailey, who is experienced over straight courses. Pure American speed should carry the day but longshot players might look to Meiner Select, a consistent Japanese sprinter. Hong Kong invader Multidandy is a threat to crack the first three.

NAS 5 - DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN (Group 1) - Probable Post 10:50 a.m. EST
6 furlongs. 3-year-olds & up. Purse $2,000,000

23Cajun BeatJ D Bailey126BC Sprint winner profits from 11-lb weight shift w/Alke 3-2
112AlkeJ R Velazquez126Can surprise again if he pounces late5-1
711Meiner SelectY Take126Consistent Japanese gets acid test; goes for Take6-1
81MultidandyF Coetzee126Beaten in last by world's best turf sprinter; prefers dirt8-1
910Our New RecruitA Solis126Could be running late; jock won this with Big Jag 14-1
115Tour of the CatJ K Court126Back on dirt but in tough 20-1
107State CityL Dettori126Godolphin's defending champ has been absent 8-1
49ConroyG L Stevens126Won same prep last year before flopping in this 20-1
36ConcealR Hills126Should beat bottom three confirmed turfers 30-1
68Feet So FastT E Durcan 126Has shown decided preference fo r turf20-1
124TsiganeD R Flores126Dirt debut; Canani hoping for gypsy miracle20-1
52DantanaK McEvoy126Aussie has not handled switch to dirt30-1

Dubai Duty Free

A good betting race even with the absence of Godolphin's Vespone, who goes instead in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on April 25. Bright Sky has been pointed to this race since November. The 2002 French Oaks winner beat subsequent Prix Jacques le Marois and Breeders' Cup Mile winner Six Perfections in the one-mile Prix d'Astarte in her last win in August. She was misplaced in the Breeders' Cup Turf and inconvenienced by soft ground when third in the Prix de l'Opera and second three weeks ago to Sheema Classic selection Polish Summer in the Prix Exbury. She will have the ground and distance to which she is best suited and should take the measure of the excellent South African trainer Michael de Kock's hot Surveyor and the improving ex-de Kock Crimson Palace, a filly now with Godolphin who is the choice of Frankie Dettori over 2000 Guineas winner Refuse to Bend. Dermot Weld, always dangerous with invaders, could surprise with the improving Evolving Tactics.

NAS 6 - DUBAI DUTY FREE - Probable Post 11:30 a.m. EST
about 1 1/8 miles (Turf). 4-year-olds & up. Purse $2,000,000

1011Bright SkyD Boeuf121Loves firm ground; properly placed for grand finale5-2
95SurveyorK Shea126Trainer/rider won w/Ipi Tombe last year; dangerous 5-1
112Crimson PalaceL Dettori121Lightly raced Godolphin mare whipped males here4-1
21Evolving TacticsP J Smullen126Improving sort will be running late12-1
77Right ApproachW Marwing126De Kock's 2nd string holds decision over Surveyor10-1
110CheckitT E Durcan126Has been hinting at better >15-1
88SarafanG L Stevens126Needed last but facing much tougher here 12-1
54PaoliniE Pedroza1262nd last year off shorter layoff; may need one 8-1
63Refuse To BendK McEvoy1262000 Guineas winner makes debut for Godolphin 12-1
46NayyirM J Kinane126Inconsistent type doesn't run well fresh 20-1
39MartilloW Mongil126Muscle-bound colt has failed twice in this company 30-1

Foreign trainers are justly criticized for bringing horses to the Kentucky Derby off just one prep race while facing Americans who have had between three and five preps. That is one of the main reasons the selection here is Victory Moon. Trained by de Kock, Victory Moon has been in Dubai all winter and has run three times, winning Rounds 2 and 3 of the Maktoum Challenge. He has won five of his seven starts at Nad Al Sheba and holds a conditioning edge over Pleasantly Perfect, Fleetstreet Dancer, and Medaglia d'Oro - each with just one prep. Beware using Medaglia d'Oro in the exotics as he will have difficulty staying Nad Al Sheba's stamina-testing 10 furlongs, especially as he has drawn wide in eleven. Admire Don, 2-for-2 at the distance, is a serious Japanese challenger who could sneak in for third behind Pleasantly Perfect, the one Yank who will stay. Another Japanese invader, Silent Deal, could be the longshot special.

Seventh RaceProbable Post 12:20 p.m. est

1 1/4 miles. 4-year-olds & up. Purse $6,000,000

129Victory MoonW Marwing126De Kock's course specialist can upset Yanks4-1
87Pleasantly PerfectA Solis126Best 10f horse in the USA5-2
13Admire DonK Ando126Has 2 Japanese G1 wins at the distance by combined 10l8-1
711Medaglia d'OroJ D Bailey126Won't stay 1 1/4m at this level; drew wide2-1
410Fleetstreet DancerJ K Court126Beat Admire Don in the slop in Tokyo 10-1
31Domestic DisputeG L Stevens126Will be closer with further improvement off last 12-1
58Grand HombreL Dettori126Godolphin runner not in same league as Yanks 25-1
106Silent DealY Take126Lightly raced Japanese colt may be better than this25-1
24DinyeperH L Karatas126Turk has taken to Nad Al Sheba but is facing tougher 50-1
1112State ShintoT E Durcan126Has seen better days66-1
62King's BoyM J Kinane126Arabian-trained stayer looks outclassed 66-1
95Regent BluffY Yoshida126Japanese veteran has never won at this distance66-1