6 takeaways from Saturday's 2018 Dubai World Cup card

By Chip Gehrke
March 31, 2018 07:56pm

Snow, in the desert? That was the case Saturday in the Dubai World Cup. Many expected this sort of race from Thunder Snow last year in Louisville -- myself included -- but the colt didn’t want any part of an off track. He had shown before and since that he is a quality animal, but on Saturday he put it all together as he romped home in wire-to-wire fashion to win the World Cup by five widening lengths. By getting to the rail from the outside post in a field of 10, Thunder Snow was able to secure the lead, which it seemed was all you needed over the Meydan course to run well. He was never threatened as he drew off in the stretch, and even appeared to turn his head for a peek at the crowd nearing the wire.

What to make of the American based horses in the World Cup?
West Coast ran well to narrowly hold off Mubtaahij for second. I'm not sure that the 10-furlong distance is ideal for him. Pavel ran a surprisingly strong race as he and Forever Unbridled had their own stretch long duel for the last 300 yards, in which Pavel edged the mare by a head in her final career start. Gunnevera finished a well-beaten eighth. Looking ahead, West Coast still leads the older male division, but things could change by the time we get to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. If connections opt for another trip, look for Thunder Snow to make quite a return to the United States -- and to the track that saw him refuse to run out of the gate in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. 

How did Mind Your Biscuits pull off his remarkable Golden Shaheen win?
The race complexion changed dramatically at the very start. Jordan Sport, breaking from the outside, was somehow able to outrun and cross over the expected pace setter, X Y Jet, to secure the rail and the early advantage. Jockey Emisael Jaramillo, who was aboard X Y Jet, had to steer his horse to the outside of the early front-runner. This early development proved costly for X Y Jet. Mind Your Biscuits took up his customary position toward the back of the field down the backstretch and was still last turning for home almost nine lengths back. However, in the straight, he unleashed a breathtaking kick and in the last 30 yards, caught Roy Hand then X Y Jet to claim repeat Dubai Golden Shaheen glory by a head.

How good was this performance by Mind Your Biscuits?
It was by far the best race of his career. In fact, it was one of the best dirt sprint performances in the last few years overall given the circumstances. Before this sprint race, we'd seen significant bias on the rail at Meydan. Mind Your Biscuits defeated the best field of his career. Eclipse Award winner Roy H ran his race but was not good enough today. X Y Jet ran his race as well. For Mind Your Biscuits, winning overseas two years in a row is quite an accomplishment, and with the win today, he surpasses Funny Cide as highest-earning New York-bred of all-time. The good news for racing fans is that these three will be back in the U.S. and pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

What do we make of Mendelssohn’s record UAE Derby win?
For starters, we should take this UAE Derby winner much more seriously than past winners who moved on to the Kentucky Derby. We already know that Mendelssohn can ship to the U.S. and win as he did that last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He ran fast today in winning by 18 ½ lengths, breaking the course record by two seconds, albeit on a track playing extremely fast. About as good of a barometer as you can come up with is looking at whom he beat. Reride finished third, beaten 21 ½ lengths. Reride was the Mine That Bird Stakes winner last out at Sunland Park, beating the next out Sunland Derby winner, Runaway Ghost, by a little more than two lengths. Looking farther back, Reride finished unplaced in Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club won by Enticed, beaten 7 ½ lengths. So, if you are a Mendelssohn fan, you have some reasons to be optimistic come Derby Day.

Stormy Liberal proves he was not a one-race fluke.
When Stormy Liberal won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last fall at odds of 30-1, many wondered if the gelded son of Stormy Atlantic was one-hit wonder. After Saturday's Al Quoz Sprint effort at 16-1, that question can be put to bed. Stormy Liberal looked like he may be the winner a few yards from the wire, but Jungle Cat closed faster while well outside of Stormy Liberal in the straight. Another U.S. based horse, Conquest Tsunami, had the early lead and held on well late to grab third. It was nice showing today from the American horses.


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Meet Chip Gehrke

Chip Gehrke has been with Horse Racing Nation since 2015 and currently serves as a Featured Writer. Based outside of Chicago, Chip can be found in the press box many weekends during the Arlington Park meet. The On The Air With Dr. Derby name originates from his local sports radio show appearances as an on-air racing expert. Now also a weekly contributor on FOX Sports radio's "The Fast Track," Chip can be heard giving his thoughts on the racing world every weekend.

In 2017, Chip was chosen to be a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. As a part of the NTWAB, Chip became a voter for the year-end Eclipse Awards, something he takes very seriously. Some of Chip's favorite writings from the last couple of years is the best way to get to know him, along with following him on Twitter at @doctorderby.

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