03/22/2017 7:54AM

Dubai World Cup: Post 9 for Arrogate just fine with Baffert

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Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Arrogate, training Sunday in Dubai, breaks four post positions outside of his main U.S. rival in the Dubai World Cup, Gun Runner.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Arrogate will break from post 9 on Saturday night at Meydan Racecourse when he tries to add the $10 million Dubai World Cup to consecutive wins in the Travers Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and, most recently, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup.

“I didn’t want the 1 or the 14,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “Nine is fine.”

The Japanese horse Apollo Kentucky drew the rail, while Mubtaahij, who was second in the 2016 World Cup, must cope with post 14. Gun Runner, who would look a major threat in this race without Arrogate, drew well in post 5.

“It’s perfect," said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "If you’d have asked me where I wanted to be, I’d have said 5 or 6."

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The post position draw for the five Group 1 races on the Dubai World Cup program was conducted midday Thursday at Meydan. The card’s other three Thoroughbred races – the Gold Cup, the Godolphin Mile, and the UAE Derby – were drawn Monday. The Thursday draw for all races but the World Cup was entirely blind, but connections of the 14 World Cup starters were called to a stage when their horse’s name was randomly drawn and asked to select a statue of a falcon, which had the draw number affixed to the bottom.

The World Cup is contested at about 1 1/4 miles around two turns on Meydan’s main track. The run to the first of those two turns is relatively short. California Chrome won the race last year from post 11.

Hoppertunity, the 2016 third-place finisher, breaks from post 12. He also is trained by Baffert.

“I think it’s good for him," Baffert said. "He likes to be in the clear a little bit. Down on the inside, you can get stuck down there."

As for Arrogate, he was able to work out a trip from post 1 in the Pegasus, and has the tactical speed and athleticism to adapt to circumstances.

“The main thing is for him to get away from there, and then Mike Smith will have to decide,” Baffert said. “I always just leave it up to Mike.”

Arrogate, Hoppertunity, and Gun Runner all did light jogging Wednesday around the small training oval at the international quarantine facility. The three horses worked on Monday and walked Tuesday, and are scheduled to return to the main track to gallop Thursday and Friday.

Trainer Todd Pletcher’s pair of runners drew outside, Neolithic in post 11 and Keen Ice in post 10.

“Keen Ice does his best running late and not from the gate, so I don’t think it makes a difference,” said Jerry Crawford, managing partner of Donegal Racing, which owns Keen Ice.

The rest of the field consists of Long River (post 2), Gold Dream (post 3), Lani (post 4), Move Up (post 6), Awardee (post 7), Furia Cruzada (post 8), and Special Fighter (post 13).

In the $2 million Golden Shaheen, likely favorite Mind Your Biscuits landed the outside post in a 14-horse field.

“It’s obviously not ideal,” said trainer Chad Summers. “Posts 8 and 9 both are going to go to the lead, and we should work out a good trip breaking from out there. All the speed’s inside of us, and that’s what we wanted. If we sacrifice two or three paths, maybe it gives us a good trip, but we know how good the rail has been here this meet.”

St. Joe Bay, the speedy California-based sprinter, drew post 11. Stallwalkin' Dude is saddled with post 1.

Likely favorite and last year’s winner Postponed has post 1 in the $6 million Sheema Classic, which has just seven entrants but still is an excellent race that includes Highland Reel, Jack Hobbs, and Seventh Heaven.

The leading betting choices in the $6 million Dubai Turf drew inside, with Ribchester in post 1 and Zarak in post 2. Mutakayyef has post 6, Decorated Knight post 4, and 2016 Arlington Million winner Mondialiste post 7.

Ertijaal will break from post 6 and could be favored in the Al Quoz Sprint, a 1200-meter straight-course turf race. Limato has post 11, while Hong Kong shipper Amazing Kids must cope with post 1. The Americans in the race are drawn 7 (Long on Value) and 9 (Richard’s Boy).

The Kahayla Classic for purebred Arabians historically has kicked off the World Cup card, but this year the program begins at 7:45 a.m. Eastern with the Godolphin Mile. Post time for the World Cup, the last of the card’s nine races, is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.

The local weather forecast calls for a chance of rain Friday and early Saturday, but not during the World Cup card.