By Marcus Hersh DRF.com
The California-bred with the humble pedigree and the first-time, one-in-a-million owners always has been a racing outsider, and so it will be Saturday night at Meydan Racecourse when California Chrome breaks from post 9 in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
A final field of nine was announced and post positions drawn late Wednesday afternoon at Meydan, and California Chrome will be loaded last into post 9. There does not appear to be a great deal of pace in the World Cup, and though inside posts have done better than outside during the Meydan racing season, California Chrome should be just fine provided he and jockey Victor Espinoza break cleanly and secure a favorable forward position before hitting the first turn.
“The horse has some serious speed,” co-owner Steve Coburn said after the draw. “He can get out there.”
Outside may well be better than inside for California Chrome, the derailment of whose Triple Crown began in the Belmont Stakes from post 2. The colt’s other subpar performance last year, a sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby, came from post 1.
Lea, the other horse to ship from the U.S. for this race last week, breaks from post 5. Lea is the second choice in antepost World Cup betting, California Chrome the defined favorite. The rest of the field is Prince Bishop (post 1) Hokko Tarumae (2), African Story, (3), Side Glance (4), Candy Boy (6), Long River (7), and Epiphaneia (8).
The World Cup is the last of eight races, seven for Thoroughbreds and one for Arabians, here Saturday night. First post is 8 a.m. Eastern and the World Cup goes at 1 p.m. The forecast is ideal, a high of 82 during the day giving way to temperatures in the 70s by World Cup time. No rain is forecast. The turf should be good to firm, the dirt fast.
The World Cup is preceded by two $6 million, Group 1 Turf races, the Sheema Classic at about 1 1/2 miles, and the Dubai Turf at about 1 1/8 miles. The Sheema Classic, with nine entrants, is excellent, and part of that is due to the presence of the American-based turf star Main Sequence, who will break from post 5. The rest of the Sheema field, from the rail out, is Sheikhzayedroad, Dolniya, True Story, Flintshire, One and Only, Designs on Rome, Just the Judge, and Harp Star.
There also is a U.S.-based runner in the Dubai Turf, Mshawish, who drew favorably in post 3, from which he can get covered up early. Euro Charline, the 2014 Beverly D. winner, has post 1, and outside of her come Umgiyo, Earnshaw, Limario, The Grey Gatsby, Trade Storm, Cladocera, and Farraaj.
The three Americans in the $2 million Golden Shaheen at about six furlongs on dirt are lined up adjacently, Salutos Amigos in post 5, Big Macher in 6, and Secret Circle in 7.
A full field of 16 will contest the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint over about five furlongs on turf, and American invader Green Mask was the unfortunate recipient of the inside draw in a race where outside posts are preferred. The other U.S.-based runner, Distinctiv Passion, got one of those, and should be on the lead from post 14. Early favorite Peniaphobia has post 16, which is not a bad draw in this race.