03/21/2016 2:16PM

World Cup rivals California Chrome and Mshawish to join forces at Taylor Made

Barbara D. Livingston
Mshawish (above) face each other Saturday in the Dubai World Cup. Next year, they will both stand at Taylor Made Farm.

On the surface, California Chrome and Mshawish are quite different. California Chrome is a flashy, appropriately named chestnut who became beloved by the nation after winning America’s most famous race. Mshawish is a dark bay who has done his best work outside of the glamour division.

One is a West Coast-based homebred for previously little-known connections, by a modest California stallion and out of a claiming mare; the other, by a leading sire, is based in the East with the country’s leading trainer.

Yet California Chrome and Mshawish both are versatile runners – Grade 1 winners on dirt and turf. Both have returned to the Middle East, where they are on a collision course in the world’s richest race, Saturday’s Group 1, $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan. And they will soon have something else in common as future Taylor Made stallions.

The family-run Taylor Made – operated by brothers Duncan, Ben, Frank, and Mark Taylor – landed a major coup last summer when it purchased a minority share in California Chrome from Steve Coburn. It now campaigns the horse in partnership with Perry Martin as California Chrome LLC and will stand the horse at its Nicholasville, Ky., base in 2017. Earlier this month, the operation gathered more ammunition when it reached a deal to also stand Mshawish. The son of Medaglia d’Oro will continue to be campaigned by Al Shaqab Racing through the year, with the deal calling for a 50 percent syndication of the horse for the 2017 season.

California Chrome is best known for winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2014 and earning Horse of the Year honors. He is returning to Dubai after finishing second in the 2015 World Cup and signaled his readiness for this year’s edition by easily winning a handicap race last month at Meydan.

“We are thrilled to be part-owners of such a historic racehorse as California Chrome,” said Duncan Taylor, who acts as Taylor Made’s president and chief executive. “[He is] the all-time leading earner from the A.P. Indy sire line, and he’s a tremendously good-looking, athletic, and well-balanced horse who possesses great speed. Remarkably, he became the fifth Kentucky Derby winner from his deep female family, and he embodies the incredible toughness and soundness of the throwbacks from his family.”

Mshawish will be making his third trip to Dubai. He won the Group 2 Zabeel Mile there in 2014 and finished third in last year’s Group 1, $6 million Dubai Turf. He put himself in line for a World Cup attempt by winning the Donn Handicap last month at Gulfstream Park, giving him a Grade 1 on dirt to go along with top-level wins on turf.

“It’s exciting because Mshawish has always been an elite horse that’s performed well all over the world, but he’s really shown a different dimension on the dirt,” said Ben Taylor, who manages the stud operation as vice president of Taylor Made Stallions. “Physically and genetically, Mshawish is really going to appeal to breeders. He’s a good-looking horse, extremely sound, and will be the most accomplished son of leading sire Medaglia d’Oro to retire in America. The sky is the limit for him the rest of this racing season and beyond in the breeding shed.”

Either horse could become the new cornerstone of the stallion operation for Taylor Made, a perennial leading consignor at the major Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton sales. The farm lost its flagship sire, Unbridled’s Song, suddenly in the summer of 2013 and sold yearlings from his final crop last fall. A Grade 1-winning son of Unbridled, Unbridled’s Song retired to Taylor Made for the 1997 season and became an internationally successful sire of racehorses and in the commercial arena.

Taylor Made stands three stallions at its own farm – only one, the veteran Northern Afleet, with current runners. Classic-placed Astrology is among the freshman sires of 2016, while Graydar, a son of Unbridled’s Song, is represented by his first yearlings this year.

Darley stallions represented

Frosted will essentially play for the home team in the Dubai World Cup, as he carries the blue silks of the Godolphin operation of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Godolphin’s far-flung Darley stallion operation, which stands stallions in six countries, also will be represented by several runners on the program. Four sires at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., will be represented, led by Medaglia d’Oro, whose son Mshawish will tangle with Frosted in the World Cup.

Hard Spun has three likely runners on the World Cup card, with Ghaamer and Ertijaal in the Dubai Turf and Maftool in the Group 2, $1 million Godolphin Mile. Bernardini will have Marking and Le Bernardin in the Godolphin Mile, while Midshipman is represented by Lady Shipman in the Group 1, $1 million Al Quoz Sprint.

Marking is owned by Godolphin, which has at least one runner in seven of the eight Thoroughbred races on the card.

Multiple Group 1 winner Dubawi is an internationally successful young sire at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, and he dominated World Cup Night last year, with Prince Bishop taking the main event and Mubtaahij winning the Group 2, $2 million UAE Derby. Mubtaahij is back for the World Cup, along with Gun Pit, another son of Dubawi. Dubawi also will have Postponed, Sheikhzaedroad, and The Blue Eye in the Group 1, $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic and Kitaah in the Group 1, $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Dubawi was the best runner from the lone crop of 2000 Dubai World Cup winner Dubai Millennium.

Tapit has three shots

Leading sire Tapit has thoroughly dominated the North American stallion ranks for the last two years. He takes aim at a new frontier Saturday, seeking to land a win on World Cup Night.

Frosted was Tapit’s chief earner last year, when he broke his own single-season progeny earnings mark, and will headline his sire’s runners as he starts in the World Cup. The Gainesway Farm stallion also will be represented on the card by Farrier in the Dubai Turf and by Lani in the UAE Derby, which offers 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner.