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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
55,000 Furlongs to the Finish

Team America: Dubai World Cup Nominations


Despite very large purses, a multitude of race types to choose from, and top class competition, many of the world’s elite thoroughbreds do not make the trip to the United States for the Breeders’ Cup. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of being a worldwide racing fan here in America. But the coin is two sided, and with the plethora of high quality races abroad, why don’t American trainers seek out the best outside of the USA? The sportsman in us all wish it was purely about competition on a level playing field with the best horse coming out the victor. But unfortunately, there are many more factors at play when sending multi-million dollar animals thousands of miles away for an event that will last around 2 minutes.


However, there are always a brave few. A few that wish to seek out and beat the best. A few that want to prove their horse, an American horse, can still compete and win off their home turf. Of course the prospect of a 10 million dollar purse helps too. The upcoming Dubai World Cup Carnival is the richest race gathering in the sport. It draws thoroughbreds from all over the world to the homeland of its deepest ancestors for fame, glory, and above all: wealth. 


Taking a look at the American nominations, there are a few big names that have been pointed to these races for months, and there are few surprises.


Royal Delta (World Cup): This 2 time champion is one tough mare. After a rough trip in last year’s World Cup, she looks for retribution on the synthetic surface of Meydan racecourse. Trainer Bill Mott plans to have her prep for the World Cup in the same fashion as last year with the grade 3 Sabin stakes. Unlike many of the other Americans making the trip, Royal Delta is committed for one thing, and one thing only: The Dubai World Cup.


Dullahan (World Cup, Duty Free, Sheema Classic, Godolphin Mile): One of the 2 Dale Romans trainees making the trip, Dullahan has proven to be a monster on synthetic surfaces. Upsetting Game on Dude in the 2012 Pacific Classic shows there is something very unique about this horse. He doesn’t fair well on dirt, and is ok turf, but synthetics bring out his true talent. He will get a prep race in Dubai to acclimate to the arid climate and track surface, and if he brings his A-game to the World Cup, everyone else is running for second.


Little Mike (World Cup, Duty Free, Sheema Classic, Godolphin Mile): The second of the Dale Romans contingent, Little Mike looks to improve off an outstanding 2012. He is likely going to be pointed at the Sheema Classic, and like Dullahan will get a prep race in Dubai before the big dance. After his jaw dropping performance in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, I think this American gelding has a good chance to steal a turf race from the usually dominate Europeans.  A victory will not come easily with horses like Cirrus Des Aigles, Dunaden, and St Nicholas Abby also nominated.


Animal Kingdom (World Cup, Duty Free, Sheema Classic): The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner is looking to finally get a full season to show his true talent. After injury robbed him of the majority of 2011 and 2012, he made his second return to racing on the toughest of stages. There was much criticism of Graham Motion to enter Animal Kingdom in the Breeders’ Cup Mile with no prep, but the horse showed us what true champions are made of. A late charging second place finish after a trip that rivaled LA rush hour traffic showed his doubters that he is ready to tackle the world’s best. He will get one prep in the USA before beginning a worldwide tour that will start in Dubai and likely end in England.


Point of Entry (Sheema Classic): Despite being the dominate force at 12 furlongs on turf in the USA last year, Point of Entry did not get a lot of mention at the end of the year. He finished a fast closing second to Little Mike in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and showed 12 furlongs is not a problem with three wins at the distance in 2012. He will go up against many of the world’s best and get a rematch against Little Mike in the Sheema Classic.


Mizdirection (Golden Shaheen, Al Quoz Sprint): The Mike Puype trained mare looks like she is really coming into her own. Being nominated to both sprint races indicates there may be a chance she will make the trip, although Puype has not hinted if she will. Her dazzling win over the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint shows she can compete at top-level competition, and if she can carry her form through March, she may come home with some hardware.


Richard’s Kid (World Cup, Godolphin Mile): New silks, new trainer, same ol’ racehorse. Since his change of ownership last summer Richard’s Kid has not been at his best. He is 8 years old and still competitive but it looks like he may have lost a step from his jubilant youth. The UAE is familiar territory for this seasoned warrior, although he never showed his best there. Lets hope a trip in 2013 brings better luck.


Apriority (Golden Shaheen, Godolphin Mile)

Atigun (World Cup)

Capitol Account (Golden Shaheen)

Drill (World Cup, Golden Shaheen, Godophin Mile)

Fed Biz (Godolphin Mile)

Fortify (UAE Derby) 

Frac Daddy (UAE Derby)

Game on Dude (World Cup)

Golden Ticket (World Cup)

He’s Had Enough (UAE Derby)

Jeranimo (World Cup, Duty Free, Godolphin Mile)

Jimmy Creed (Golden Shaheen)

Optimizer (World Cup, Duty Free)

Private Zone (Golden Shaheen, Godolphin Mile)

Soldat (World Cup, Godolphin Mile)

Slim Shady (Duty Free)

Super Ninety Nine (UAE Derby)

Take Charge Indy (World Cup, Godolphin Mile)

Trinniberg (Golden Shaheen)

Ultimate Eagle (World Cup, Duty Free, Sheema Classic, Godolphin Mile)


A full list of the nominations can be seen here.


Remember, nominations are not commitments. Just because a name appears above, does not mean they are making the trip. But for those that make do I say this: “Run fast and safe! Wave the American Flag with pride and know we will all be cheering for you here at home! Best of luck to you all!”


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Older Comments about Team America: Dubai World Cup Nominations...

Just to comment on Richard Gross's statement above, prior experience did not help Gio Ponti win and I am not sure Royal Delta is any better on that surface than he was. I don't discount her, but I'll reserve judgement until later. Since you have been there you can add your insights, but I feel the Tapeta course changes quite a bit from how it plays in workouts to how it plays during races. I think that really is a disadvantage to horses who have not had a recent race there. Thanks for your observations! I do agree with you.
  • RichardGross · The Tapeta changes moment-to-moment and plays mind games while making races far more competitive - it plays to the advantage of the lesser horses, tightens the pack and results in many more close finishes. But riders there know it and don't let it get in their heads (like a certain Canadian rider last year who was commenting on the 'sticky surface' even before the race). I always like Ahmed Ajtebi in the top three on any horse and I don't care about the gate. · 1720 days ago
  • RichardGross · ...oh, and about Gio Ponti. C'mon! His connections were trying to end his career with a big payday. That wasn't Gio at his best. It was his owners at their greediest. I was sad for him. But Delta will have learned something last year, and no Sutherland will be riding her. · 1720 days ago
I like sitting in the grandstands, but i wont preach on my expertise just my opinion.
My point: It's settling in after the travel and the place more than the surface. By the time Curlin won in a hand ride (yes, on real dirt), he felt like it was home. having been there since late January (and winning the Jaguar for practice). Well Armed (third in that race) wins the next year on a less-than-perfect day with an amazing trip and a first-time DWC rider. Hey, guess where Gloria de Campeao finished? Neither he nor Lizard's Desire returned in 2011 when the Japanese take win and place. But show? Why do I think this is so obvious? Because it is.
A buddy, normally a bookie at Doncaster, goes yearly and sends me a program (in both English and Arabic) and I will contact him for his ideas on the pecking order....The Racing Post generally sends him down for the entire thing.
I always love grandstanders. They tell people who work in the game all about the game from their positions high up on the grandstand or more likely behind a lap top screen never actually having been anywhere in the racing game.
Not so, Richard Gross!
And no, wise dan will be bypassing the DWC
As someone who has seen the DWC since 2007, covered the Carnival as a journalist since 2009 and the World Cup since that year as well, I find a lot of the comments amusing. What wins (in order): 1. Experience in Dubai + Early shipping (Curlin, 2008); 2. Learning from experience in Dubai (Well Armed, 2009, Glorea de Campeao, 2010 and Monterosso, 2012 - Royal Delta 2013?); and 3. Shipping early - in the absence of experience in Dubai (Royal Delta), this is #1 for the American contingent and most connections still don't get it. It's a different place - forget the surface for a moment - and the horses know it: from the climate to the grooms, to the crowd. It's Derby Day, 6,000 miles away from home.
I do like that both Dullahan and Little Mike have a prep in Dubai planned.
I don't know, I still think AK is a force to be reckoned with...
Igugu is my pick for the Dubai World Cup. Gentildonna is my pick for the Sheema.
Drill in the DWC, yeah lil odd ... he has ran his best races on syn, so perhaps not the DWC, but the sprint?
All horses in a race are not there to WIN, some are strictly to affect the pace.
Very shocked to see Drill nominated for the World Cup. I think America has a decent chance to do well this year.
Guess who my Dubai World Cup pick is.
  • On The Gallop's · I say Igugu will win and is certainly the best filly in the race. Igugu is more acomplished, she has beat males, and has won at 5 different distances, and has won classics. That Galileo Filly is going to turn heads in Dubai. · 1721 days ago
Who ever wins, they all can all thank Orfevre for advancing their placing.
  • On The Gallop's · On Tapeta it was 50-50 whether he would fire. On grass they passed when he was considered for Dubai because of a certain dominant filly ;) · 1721 days ago
This year the American Trainers MUST ship to Dubai much earlier then last year!. Get a prep race over the course also.
He asks...Jim Rome ‏@jimrome Should we send Mizdirection to Dubai? http://www.horseracingnation.com/blogs/furlong/Team_America_Dubai_World_Cup_Carnival_Nominations_123# …
Fly Down also nominated to World Cup...
Since the switch to Tapeta the international fields are a lot stronger than ever before. The American horses will have to run their best to have a shot at winning. Since these horses are among the best in the United States it will be a good indication as to how good the American horse are compared to the rest of the world. It looks like a big advantage to have a race over the track, this should help Dullahan and Little Mike.

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Meet Matt Scott 

My horseracing journey began when I was 16 years old and my mom took me to Hollywood Park. Although I did not fully appreciate it at the time, the experience stuck with me forever. 10 years later, during one of my many international business trips to Hong Kong, I visited Sha Tin racetrack to watch the races. This is where my true passion began. 


Holding a masters degree in mechanical engineering, the puzzle of handicapping intrigued me. I have made a career of making decisions based on trends, patterns, and formulas, which is why I think I was initially drawn to the sport. However, I have truly learned to appreciate the horses and how magnificent they are as athletes. 


I currently live in San Jose, CA, and when not following racing, I like to spend time with my wife, mountain bike, and design high-speed bicycles that I build and race For reference, 55,000 furlongs is the distance from Hong Kong to my home in San Jose. Also, I have 1-year-old dachshund (aka wiener dog) that I am training to race in the annual Wiener Nationals held at Golden Gate Fields.   


The purpose of this blog is to help give people the viewpoint of a fan that is newer to the sport and eager to learn. I like to respectfully speak my mind, and often the ideas come out of left field, which could give a fresh perspective on a sport rich with tradition and history. hope to represent the many future fans that I wish to follow my footsteps into the Sport of Kings. 

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