03/27/2014 11:37AM

Dubai World Cup: Ron the Greek has work cut out for him

Barbara D. Livingston
On Wednesday, Ron the Greek drew the outside post for Saturday's $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Good luck seems to have deserted Ron the Greek in advance of world-class races in recent months.

Back in November, Ron the Greek missed the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita after a quarter crack surfaced days before the race. He was considered a contender for the richest race in the United States.

Purchased privately in December and sent to Saudi Arabia, Ron the Greek has been pointed to Saturday’s $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates. But when post positions were drawn Wednesday for the world’s richest race, Ron the Greek had the outside post in a tough 16-runner field.

The wide berth hampers Ron the Greek’s chances in a race that has drawn entrants who made their last starts in Dubai, England, Hong Kong, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. One thing missing is an American runner.

For the first time in the 19-year history of the Dubai World Cup, there are no American-based horses in a race won in the past by the American horses Cigar, Silver Charm, Captain Steve, Pleasantly Perfect, Invasor, Curlin, Well Armed, Roses in May, and, in 2013, Animal Kingdom.

Ron the Greek is the closest to an American horse in this year’s race and will need a career-best performance to win the eighth stakes of his career, which includes 30 starts and earnings of $2,713,089. The Dubai World Cup is run over 1 1/4 miles on a Tapeta Footings synthetic track.

The race is part of a nine-race program that features eight seven-figure races for Thoroughbreds. Post time for the first Thoroughbred race, the Godolphin Mile, is 9:10 a.m. Eastern. Post time for the Dubai World Cup is 2:05 p.m.

[Dubai World Cup: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

Ron the Greek’s post makes jockey Jose Lezcano’s job difficult, but at least Lezcano knows the horse. Lezcano was aboard for Ron the Greek’s emphatic win in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup last October, the horse’s final start for trainer Bill Mott.

After the private sale to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, Ron the Greek was sent to Nicholas Bachalard, who is based in Saudi Arabia. Bachalard is a former assistant to Christophe Clement in the United States.

Ron the Greek won a prep race for the Dubai World Cup, an allowance race over about 1 1/8 miles on dirt in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 15. The Dubai World Cup will be the 7-year-old’s second start on a synthetic track. He was fourth in an optional claimer at Keeneland in April 2011.

For the World Cup, Bachalard was philosophical about the post position.

“Not much we can do about it,” Bachalard said after the draw. “Lezcano has his work cut out for him. It’s a long way around. We’ll look at it, talk about it, and figure out a strategy.”

Ron the Greek races from off the pace. The strategy worked in the 2012 Santa Anita Handicap, which he won by 3 1/2 lengths. In the Jockey Club Gold Cup last October, Ron the Greek closed from fourth of eight to win by 6 3/4 lengths as a 21-1 outsider.

For Saturday’s race, Ron the Greek must beat such major stakes winners as Ruler of The World, who won the 2013 English Derby; Belshazzar, who won the Japan Cup Dirt last December; Military Attack, a Group 1 winner in Hong Kong in 2013 when racing under the name Rave; and the durable 8-year-old gelding Red Cadeaux, second to Animal Kingdom in the 2013 Dubai World Cup.

Ruler of The World, an Irish-bred colt by Galileo, is expected to be favored. He was a 3-1 choice with British bookmakers Thursday.

Earlier this week, Sheikh Joann Al Thani of Qatar purchased a 50 percent interest in Ruler of The World through his Al Shaqab Racing. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Ruler of The World, 4, has not raced since finishing third, beaten three-quarters of a length by Farhh, in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot last October. Ruler of The World is winless in four starts since the English Derby last June.

The Dubai World Cup will be his first start on a synthetic track.

[DRF Live: Get live reports and handicapping insights from DRF writers and handicappers this Saturday]

The best chance of the local runners is Prince Bishop, a 7-year-old gelding who won two stakes earlier this year at Meydan – Rounds 2 and 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on Feb. 6 and March 8. This will be Prince Bishop’s third career start in the Dubai World Cup. He was 10th in 2011 and seventh in 2012.

Last year, the Dubai World Cup had a field of 12. Red Cadeaux closed from the back of the field under jockey Gerard Mosse to finish two lengths behind Animal Kingdom. Trainer Ed Dunlop said at Wednesday’s draw that Mosse will be urged to take a patient approach Saturday.

“We were drawn on the inside here last year, and we’ll probably do the same thing again and take our time,” he said. “There’s a lot more runners this time. We’ll take second place again for sure, I’ll tell you that.”

Elijah Allison More than 1 year ago
Ron is still our American no matter where he is , even if he is Greek and living in Saudi
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Ron will always be as American as apple pie to me. Good luck tomorrow RTG.
Rosie More than 1 year ago
when they replace the synth with dirt all of us here in the USA will start to pay attntion to these races again
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
Ok.... so one country doesnt pay attention. Who cares? The rest of the world shows up and isnt armed with excuse after excuse. They also dont hold "world championships" in conditions only favoring one nation.
Richard Santiago More than 1 year ago
Wise dan would trounce the Sheema classic. Game on dude was ridden hell of wrong on his Dubai World Cup, it was ridiculous, all packed up outside the rest of the field, what the f*** was that? Mike Smith should've push him to set a horrifying American-style pace on that day to steal the cup with laughter. The way he does it for the Santa Anita. That was the way to go.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
FOOL!!! Mike Smith did not ride Game on Dude in Dubai World Cup, it was Chantel Sutherland. You dont care about the facts you just wanted a reason to blast Mike Smith. Some people on here are so funny, act like racing fans but always seem to get the facts wrong. Just want to make negative comments about, jockeys,trainers and horses. Foolish
Richard Santiago More than 1 year ago
My mistake. Whoever rode him, did it wrong.
Jim Quaker More than 1 year ago
She didn't ride him wrong , GOD was is the 16 post and Chantal said when there load the dude he was on the wrong lead and he was sitting on the gate and she try to tell them to that so they would back him out, but they didn't care and open the gate anyway ! So it's the rider it's Meydan Racecourse !!!!
Nancy MacLennan More than 1 year ago
Wise dan would trounce at a mile and a half? A distance he's never tried against better competition than he's ever seen. Yeah he's a great horse but that's a ridiculous comment .
jackdsplns More than 1 year ago
This is the creme de la creme, the Tiffany's , the Rolls Royce of horse racing. Most every country that conducts horse racing are sending horses here . America is sending Twilight Eclipse to get trounced. Where is Wise Dan? Game On Dude? They aint going because their owners know they will be embarrassed by these horses. Bottom line, the American breed has declined so badly they cannot compete with the worlds best.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
Animal Kingdom.
Rubberhead More than 1 year ago
Well Armed, Curlin, Invasor, Roses in May
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
All on dirt.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Ignorant comment.
Labattdrinker More than 1 year ago
sending most horse on a trip to the opposite side of the world could and highly does, derail the years campaign. also, the suface is not for everybody!
Anthony Bartolo More than 1 year ago
With that logic maybe you can explain Animal Kindoms preformance last year. Get a clue. We do not like running on rubber tracks. When they bring dirt back, the American horses will again return and beat up on everyone.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I agree to a point. This is the highest class level the racing world has to offer but if was run over a DIRT track think the American horses would compete. They definitely deserve to race with these but these horses are monsters several contenders in each. CLASS CLASS
Tyler Mathis More than 1 year ago
The only thing consistent about RTG is his inconsistency.
. More than 1 year ago
The Dubai World Cup will be his first start on a synthetic track. HE HAS NO SHOT!
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Did he skip the prep races they held there?A lot of the Dubai based horses ran in them.
Biggar W More than 1 year ago
You must be a speed reader. The above article says that this is RTG's second start on symth.
. More than 1 year ago
People forget Animal Kingdom worked out at his home Tapeta track at Fair Hill, Delaware We can win on the Dubai surface if we train on the tapeta here.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Not to be too picky, but Fair Hill is in Maryland, not Delaware (albeit very close to the Del. state line.)
Beenthere Donethat More than 1 year ago
If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, did it fall? No Offense Steve, it is a nicely written article.
Leopowellracing More than 1 year ago
Good luck to Ron the Greek and Nicholas Bachalard.