The Dubai Racing Carnival kicks off the stakes race season at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday. The Emirates Racing Authority will present 28 black-type races on 13 evenings of racing at Meydan between then and Saturday, March 26, the date of the 16th running of the Dubai World Cup, the world&rsquo;s richest race at $10 million.\r\nThe 28 stakes at Meydan this year include four Group 1&rsquo;s, 11 Group 2&rsquo;s, eight Group 3&rsquo;s, and five listed races worth a total of $30.6 million. The seven group races on Dubai World Cup Night have a total value of $26 million.\r\nThe 2010-11 United Arab Emirates season began Nov. 5 on the Jebel Ali dirt track, while the first card at Meydan was held Nov. 11; since then Meydan has conducted six more programs. All of them, however, were but a prelude for the Dubai Racing Carnival, which attracts a better class of horse from Europe, South Africa, South America, and throughout the Arab world even before World Cup Night. The opening-night feature is Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge, a one-mile, Group 3 contest worth $200,000.\r\nThe highlights of the Carnival will, of course, all come on World Cup Night and include the 1 1/8-mile Dubai Duty Free and the 1 1/2-mile Dubai Sheema Classic, the six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen, the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby, the Godolphin Mile, and Al Quoz Sprint on turf, which has been reduced in distance this year from six furlongs to five furlongs and upgraded from Group 3 to Group 2 status.\r\nA single new race on the Meydan stakes program, the listed Firebreak Stakes for 3-year-olds going a mile on turf, will be run Feb. 10 along with the UAE 2000 Guineas, a prep for the UAE Derby. Both of those races will be run on Meydan&rsquo;s Tapeta surface. Fifteen of Meydan&rsquo;s stakes will be run on the synthetic Tapeta track, 13 on the turf course, which lies outside of the Tapeta course.\r\nAll but a large handful of the races at the Carnival will be worth at least $110,000, the exceptions being some races restricted to 3-year-olds. On March 20, Abu Dhabi, the turf course situated in the largest of the United Arab Emirates, will run the first Group 3 race in its 20-year Thoroughbred history, the 1 3/8-mile Abu Dhabi Championship. It will be worth $100,600. Jebel Ali will run three listed races, the Jebel Ali Stakes at 1 3/16 miles and 55 yards, the Jebel Ali Mile, and the Jebel Ali Sprint at five furlongs, each worth $136,150.