01/23/2009 1:00AM

World Cup attracts 39 from U.S.

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Thirty-nine of the 263 early nominees to the $6 million Dubai World Cup announced on Firday are trained in the United States, but the quality that has resulted in six U.S. victories in 12 runnings of the world's richest race is missing this year. Commentator and Tiago, widely regarded as the two best older American horses in training, are absent from a list that includes last year's World Cup third, Well Armed, Albertus Maximus, Colonel John, Tale of Ekati, Harlem Rocker and Cowboy Cal. Five of the runners in Saturday's Sunshine Millions Classic - Atoned, Delightful Kiss, Finallymadeit, Macho Again, and Palladio - are also among the nominees.

Last year's World Cup runner-up, Asiatic Boy, and last year's UAE Derby winner, Honour Devil, both currently in Dubai with Mike de Kock, head the local contingent of nominees along with Godolphin's My Indy, the recent winner of Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge. Daiwa Scarlet and Casino Drive are the leading Japanese candidates.

The $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, the six-furlong dash that has been won by an American horse in all but one of its eight runnings, has attracted the attention of American sprinters Fabulous Strike, Indian Blessing, and Notonthesamepage.

Supplementary closing dates for all six races on the March 28 Dubai World Cup card fall on Feb. 18, March 9, and March 23.