03/27/2013 8:21AM

Dubai World Cup: Royal Delta gets luck of the post draw


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Royal Delta had the luck of the draw Wednesday, her connections landing the third pick of the post-position draw for the Dubai World Cup. Fellow American invader Animal Kingdom was less fortunate, with his connections getting the second-to-last pick among 13 entrants for Saturday’s $10 million World Cup.

Animal Kingdom breaks from post 12, a tough spot, while Royal Delta is ideally drawn in post 8. Dullahan, the third American in the race, will start from post 3, one stall inside Hunter’s Light, the 7-2 favorite on the North American morning line for the World Cup.

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Royal Delta, seeking to become the first female World Cup winner, is the 4-1 second choice on the line. Her draw in the 2012 World Cup was favorable, too, but Royal Delta got into trouble anyway after leaving from post 7. Planted behind horses from the midpoint on the first turn onward,

Royal Delta was squeezed and steadied on the far turn, losing any realistic chance at a win.

“I just hope she breaks well and gets a clean trip,” said Bill Mott, who trains Royal Delta.

Mott won the inaugural World Cup in 1996 with Cigar. Asked from what post Cigar broke, Mott guessed 10, but that was incorrect: Cigar also started from post position 8.

Omens were less favorable for Animal Kingdom. The draw was conducted using a two-stage process: A horse’s name was randomly selected, after which connections of the horse chose one of the remaining post positions. When Animal Kingdom’s turn came, only posts 12 and 13 remained.

On the surface, World Cup history doesn’t indicate such a wide draw is terrible: Curlin won the World Cup from post 12, and four other winners came from post 11. But all those World Cups save the last three came on the Nad al Sheba dirt track. The winners of the three World Cups over the Tapeta surface at Meydan broke from posts 5, 6, 8. More damning than that is the fact horses breaking from posts 11 and wider have gone only 1 for 69 in two-turn Tapeta races at Meydan this winter.

“I don’t know that it’s such a bad draw,” said Graham Motion, trainer of Animal Kingdom. “I was kind of glad posts 1, 2, and 3 already had been taken.”

Motion said he had spoken Wednesday morning with Ramon Dominguez, who rode Gio Ponti to fourth- and fifth-place finishes here in 2010 and 2011.

“Ramon said you really don’t want to be stuck inside,” he said.

Treasure Beach is the horse that breaks from the rail. Red Cadeaux, a longshot like Treasure Beach, has post 2, with Dullhan coming next. Dullahan’s trainer, Dale Romans, said just before the draw he hoped for something between 4 and 8.

Despite rumors of impending defections for days, the World Cup field has held firm at 13. Godolphin entered three runners, with Monterosso, the defending World Cup champion, landing post 10. Despite his elite credentials, Monterosso is just 20-1 on the morning line after a 10th-place finish here March 9 in his World Cup prep.

Post positions for the World Cup card’s other seven Thoroughbred stakes were drawn Monday. Post time for the first Thoroughbred race Saturday night is 9:10 a.m. Eastern, with the World Cup scheduled for 2:05 p.m. The local forecast continues to call for a high temperature of around 91 degrees Saturday.

Fields for the Dubai World Cup card