03/23/2010 11:00PM

Twice Over in 11th of 14 World Cup posts


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The third-place finish by Twice Over in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita last November altered the 2010 goals for the horse.

After he finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Zenyatta in America's richest race, Juddmonte Farms and trainer Henry Cecil sought an even more lucrative goal, Saturday's $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse. Similar to the Breeders' Cup Classic last year, the Dubai World Cup is run on a synthetic track, a Tapeta surface, which could give Twice Over an edge, according to Juddmonte's racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe.

He said this may be Twice Over's only start away from turf this year.

"This is the plan," Grimthorpe said. "The Breeders' Cup is at Churchill Downs this year, and I don't think we'd put him on dirt."


Wednesday evening, Twice Over drew post 11 in a field of 14. While Twice Over is positioned toward the outside of the field, there is a run of approximately a quarter-mile to the first turn at Meydan, giving jockey Tom Queally ample time to move Twice Over closer to the inside.

The Dubai World Cup is run over about 1 1/4 miles and features three American-trained runners - Gio Ponti, the champion turf male and older male of 2009; Furthest Land, who won the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita last November; and Richard's Kid, who won the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita last month.

The Dubai World Cup is the eighth and final race on a program that features $26.25 million in prize money. Post time for the World Cup is 1:45 p.m., Eastern, or 9:45 p.m. in Dubai.

Others considered leading contenders are Red Desire, a 4-year-old filly from Japan; Gitano Hernando, who won the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita last October; and Vision d'Etat, the winner of three Group 1 races in the last year.

British bookmakers have listed Vision d'Etat as the 4-1 favorite, followed by Twice Over at 11-2. American bettors are likely to make Gio Ponti and Richard's Kid the leading choices in the parimutuel pool.

Of the 14 entrants, Twice Over and Mastery are returning from the longest layoffs, having not raced since the Breeders' Cup. Mastery was third in the BC Marathon on Nov. 6, a day before Twice Over's third in the Classic.

After a vacation in late fall, Twice Over resumed training in Newmarket, England, early this year.

"He had a very straightforward preparation," Grimthorpe said. "I think Henry is pleased with him. He thinks he's improved at age 5."

The winner of the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, England, last October, Twice Over will be making his seventh consecutive appearance in a race at a distance of 1 1/4 miles, seeking the $6 million first prize in the World Cup.

"If you've got an [11-2] shot and you're running for $6 million, most people would take that," Grimthorpe said. "He's a genuine mile-and-a-quarter horse."

The post position draw is likely to change race strategy. When the longshot Amor de Pobre drew the outside, Stephane Chevalier, assistant to trainer Jerry Barton, suggested that the horse could race closer to the pace, and possibly give expected pacesetter Gloria de Campeao company.

Richard's Kid draw in post 10 was slightly wider than Jimmy Barnes, trainer Bob Baffert's assistant, would have preferred. Barnes was hoping to draw between posts 7 through 9. "That's not too far away, and we should be fine," he said.

Gio Ponti's draw in post 4 left Christophe Lorieul, assistant to Christophe Clement, satisfied.

"We were happy to be on the [inside] half," he said.

The draw for the Group 1 Dubai World Cup was held in an Imax theater that is part of the Meydan Racecourse complex that opened in January.

Post positions were selected in a unique way, involving Emirates Airlines stewardesses and small models of the Meydan grandstand.

Random cards with the first names of the stewardesses were selected by an airline official. When the stewardess's name was called, she opened an envelope revealing the name of a horse. A member of that horse's team then went onto a stage to select one of the miniature grandstand, pulling open a small window to reveal the post position number.