03/07/2003 12:00AM

World Cup out of World Series

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The Dubai World Cup has been withdrawn from the 2003 World Series Racing Championship, the executive director of the series, Nick Clarke, announced on Thursday.

The World Cup, the world's richest race, had been scheduled to start this year's series on March 29, but the Emirates Racing Association notified Clarke that the World Cup was pulling out. No reason was given for the withdrawal.

The World Series, which has been won by a Godolphin-owned horse each of its four years, had been sponsored by Emirates Airlines from 1999 to 2001. It has been without a sponsor since then, prompting doubts about its future. Clarke, however, remains optimistic.

"It normally takes about 18 months to find a new sponsor for such events," he said. "We hope to have a new sponsor on board before the the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on April 27."

That race will now be the first leg of a revamped 13-race series that includes the Arlington Million, the Breeders' Cup Turf, and the Breeders' Cup Classic.