03/23/2005 12:00AM

Roses in May draws post 12

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The already outstanding chances for an American-based winner in Saturday's $6 million at Nad Al Sheba racecourse were greatly enhanced Wednesday, when the four hopefuls - Choctaw Nation, Congrats, Lundy's Liability, and Roses in May - drew post positions that should help their running styles.

Roses in May, expected to be a strong favorite, drew post 12 in the 13-horse field, the widest draw for an American challenger. He is expected to be part of the pace.

The stalkers Lundy's Liability and Congrats drew posts 5 and 7, while the closer Choctaw Nation will start from post 9.

The world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup is run over 1 1/4 miles on dirt. The race starts in a chute to the right of the grandstand and continues for two furlongs before reaching a slight left-hand turn. There is a five-furlong run down a side of the course, before a three-furlong stretch run.

Because of the desert heat, racing at Nad Al Sheba is conducted at night. Post time for the race is 9:20 p.m. (12:20 Eastern). The forecast for Saturday is for a high of around 80 degrees and a low in the high 60's. The United Arab Emirates borders Saudi Arabia on the Persian Gulf.

The field may lose an outsider in Grande Hombre. Wednesday, officials with the Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing said that Grand Hombre, the winner of the 2003 Pennsylvania Derby, suffered a bruised right front foot while training earlier this week.

Grand Hombre did not gallop as scheduled on Wednesday morning as part of Godolphin's annual display of top horses in-training.

"It's touch and go," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford. "This setback has come at a bad time."

The absence of Grande Hombre would leave Godolphin without a starter in a race they have won a record three times in nine runnings.

Sheikh Mohammed, who operates Godolphin with his family, is represented in his own colors by Ruler's Court, the winner of the 2003 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita. Ruler's Court breaks from post 6. Troubled by injury last year, Ruler's Court has had one subsequent start, finishing sixth in a prep race on March 5.

Wednesday's post position draw was conducted at a beachfront hotel approximately 10 miles from Nad Al Sheba racecourse.

The draw was conducted in two phases. A stewardess from Emirates, the country's national airline, opened an envelope revealing the name of one of the 13 entrants. At that point, the horses' representative walked on a stage, where rows of small ornate doors were positioned on tables. The representative opened the door, which revealed a number that signified a post position.

Adele Dilschneider, who co-owns Congrats with Claiborne Farm, selected third, the first American-based runner to pick a post position.

By drawing post 7, Congrats will break from the same post that race winner Pleasantly Perfect had in 2004. Richard Mandella trained Pleasantly Perfect and will saddle Congrats.

Congrats, the runner-up in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 5, will be near the front, Mandella said. "He'll be right there. The important thing is to be home first," he said.

Lundy's Liability, who beat Congrats in the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 6, had the seventh selection, while Roses in May picked ninth.

Kenneth Ramsey, who owns Roses in May, said before the draw that he wanted posts two through four and did not want the rail or the outside. By the time Roses in May's name was picked from the envelopes, posts 3 and 4 were gone. Ramsey picked 12, avoiding the rail, which was still available.

"Oh! Twelve!" Ramsey said, as he opened the small door, quickly spinning away in disappointment.

Later, trainer Dale Romans said an outer post should benefit Roses in May.

"We have plenty of run into the turn," he said. "We don't have to worry about getting covered up. I'd rather be outside."

Choctaw Nation's name was chosen last of the American selectors. With two posts available, owner Bob Bone picked 9, leaving Grande Hombre to pick last and draw the rail.

Drawing post nine for Choctaw Nation met trainer Jeff Mullins's approval, but Mullins said he is more interested in seeing how the late-running gelding will act on Nad Al Sheba's three-furlong stretch.

Said Mullins, "As long as he gets in the clear, I think he has a chance."

Dubai World Cup

No.PPHorseJockey
71Grand HombreF. Dettori
62ElmustanserR. Hills
133Yard-ArmW. Marwing
84Jack SullivanD. Holland
105Lundy's LiabilityP. Valenzuela
126Ruler's CourtK. McEvoy
47CongratsT. Baze
98King's BoyA. Gryder
39Choctaw NationV. Espinoza
110Adjudi MitsuoH. Uchida
211ChiquitinM. Kinane
1112Roses in MayJ. Velazquez
513DyneverJ. Santos