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Animal Kingdom and Royal Delta top Dubai World Cup Nominations

Not to be too much of a homer, but the first thing I did when I saw the nominations for the Dubai World Cup was scan the list for those horses trained in the USA. Surprisingly, a look at the long list of horses nominated to the big race reads like a who’s who of American racing. Although, with a purse of ten million dollars, the Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest race, so maybe it should be no wonder then, despite being half away across the globe, that the riches of the Middle East will succeed in attracting some of our biggest stars. Topping the American-centric list are both of our reigning three-year-old champions, Royal Delta and Animal Kingdom.
Contested on Saturday, March 31, the 1 ¼ mile race will be run on Meydan Racecourse’s all-weather surface. Considering that both of our returning sophomore champions have won on synthetic surfaces, and also are proven at the distance, it makes sense that each of the connections seem eager and willing to take the big shot in Dubai. 
Royal Delta was an overwhelming choice as the champion 3yo filly after a convincing win in the ten furlong Alabama in August, before ending her season with an impressive win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Since her last start the daughter of Empire Maker was sold at auction to Benjamin Leon's Besilu Stables for $8.5 million. She has recently resumed training at Payson Park for trainer Bill Mott.
Not quite so confidently selected by the voters, but a champion nonetheless, Animal Kingdom was America’s top three-year-old through the Triple Crown season. The Kentucky Derby winner has not run since a horrid trip in the Belmont Stakes, but has been working well for trainer Graham Motion. The Team Valor charge may well make his first start back in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on February 11. If you are not sold that Animal Kingdom or Royal Delta can handle the best of the proven older horses, maybe you will favor a pair of older males from California.
Fresh off his Eclipse Award as Champion Older Male, Acclamation is an interesting nomination to the ten million dollar race. Perhaps more than any other horse currently in America, Acclamation is proven at the distance as demonstrated by his four graded stakes wins at a 1 ¼ miles or more. He also has a strong performance on a synthetic surface on his resume, with his exciting victory over Twirling Candy in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic last August.
Also nominated to the Dubai World Cup was a horse which Acclamation defeated in the Pacific Classic, and narrowly beat out for champion older male, Game On Dude. When last seen the gelded son of Awesome Again was running a courageous second to Drosselmeyer in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. If the Bob Baffert trainee does make the trip though, he will have a variety of choices, as he is also nominated for three other races on the $27+ million dollar card … the Dubai Sheema Classic, Dubai Duty Free, and Godolphin Mile. 
If those big four are not enough, maybe your favorite can be found among the other Americans of note nominated to the Dubai World Cup, including, Preakness champ - Shackleford, BC Turf third - Brilliant Speed, Jerome winner - Adios Charlie, multiple stakes winner - Duke of Mischief, Jockey Club Gold Cup hero - Flat Out, multiple derby winner - Prayer for Relief, Belmont champ - Ruler On Ice, and undefeated star – Trickmeister.
If you’re thinking about making the trip to the City of Gold for the Dubai World Cup and all the rest of the great races on the richest night of racing, like I am, no worries. A business class airfare there and back will only run you in the neighborhood of $12,000. Too bad we can’t run for the ten million … see you there!



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Older Comments about Animal Kingdom and Royal Delta top Dubai World Cup Nominations...

I tend to agree with those that say Shackleford is a miler. I will expect to see him in the BC Dirt Mile at SA in November.
Nomination is not racing, the owners and trainers of the quality of these horses will make qualified and well thought out decision for their charges.
Actually, he has a better style than Animal Kingdom for the DWC. But I just don;t think he has the stamina. But his running style is spot on for the race.
GREEDY GREEDY! I don't understand ANY of the horses listed-Animal Kingdom and Acclamation just had huge layoffs from injury, Shackleford is not a 10f horse. Flat Out needs to gain confidence in easier races to get back to last years form. Same with Ruler on Ice And as for the others-Adios Charlie is a sprinter! Trickmeister? Duke of Mischief? Brilliant Speed? Prayer for Relief? What makes the trainers think those horses have any chance against the worlds best when they can't even beat America's best? They'll all come back and never be the same again. Such a shame, and all for the money
Also I agree with most posts about Shackleford. What does Dale Roman see in his star horse that would make him think he can get 10f on tapeta, and actually win? This field is too good for Milers, and 9 furlong horses. He should be entered in the Godolphin mile if Dale does ship him.
Why would some of you say No to shipping your American horses to Dubai?, Aussies Travel to Japan, and Europe, Euro's travel to Dubai, Japan, Australia, and USA every year to run in big races. Why would you want to alienate your star horses from the rest of the racing world???. BRAVO to these connections who are willing to go and test their horses against most of the best horses at 10-12f in the world. If Danedream Goes she is my pick.
Acclamation could handle the late movers, hell they hardly get there in this race. most are 4th and 5th. most of the time the winner is a leader or a stalker. i would say acclamation would win by 2 or 3. you know what happens in these races is they let a horse like acclamation run away with it half the time. if there is a front runner who can handle classic distance they are very dangerous in these long races.
Acclimation has never met that late moving onslaught that is NOT that often found on West coast and Europen turf courses
Acclamation will win by 5 if he's entered.
Ten Million and retire sounds good to me. But it is a huge gamble...
I agree. I wish American horses would not be subjected to going that far! and I really wish NO American horse were sold to Japan where they disappear and are eaten!!!!!!!!!!! It should be illegal to sell to Japan
Personally I wouldn't be dissapointed if no top American horses were in the World Cup. It seems like a horse is not the same after a trip to Dubai, Cigar and Curlin for example. I would rather see them stay here in the states although I understand how it is hard to pass on a 10,000,000 purse.
I think it is very likely to see an American 1-2-3, though So You Think is the obvious possible wrench to that.
I often wonder if Shackleford's trainer and owners are watching the same horse that the rest of us are...he is my favorite but I don't think he has a chance in **** of winning this race!
AK is great but what's the sense in sending a horse who's been out of action for 7 months and counting and maybe having only one prep race? He should stay here and work his way up the ladder, almost feel like this is throwing him into the wolves.
Certainly no disrespect meant to Gio Ponti when I say that Animal Kingdom and Royal Delta may very likely be the strongest duo that America has sent into the Dubai World Cup, at least since the race moved from Nad Al Sheba to Meydan 3 years ago. Like I said, no disrespect meant to Gio Ponti. Because he definitely held up his end representing America in the last 2 DWC's. 4th of 14 in 2010 and 5th of 14 in 2011. Frankly, it's been Richard's Kid both years that didn't hold up his end? Which always surprised me some, because he was a multiple G1 winner on synthetic surfaces in America. That's why I say the DWC is a tough 1-1/4 for any horse, because you're facing the best in the world from all over the world. Richard's Kid was a top class synthetic surface horse in America, but could only muster a 7th of 14 finish in 2010 and 12th of 14 in 2011. Personally, I have a really good feeling about Royal Delta, in-particular, running in the DWC. Provided switching from conventional dirt to tapeta doesn't effect her performance? I'm not all suggesting that Animal Kingdom isn't capable of running a really big race in the DWC, too? But I must admit that the long lay-off from his run in the Belmont Stakes back in June all the way up until the very end of March by the time he'll go to post is a bit of a concern for me. JMO.
Sounds like a tough task for Animal Kingdom. Wouldn't want that to be his only race of 2012. The trip takes a lot out of American horses.
I do not see Toby's Corner on the list of nominations.
Don't be stupid and put shack in this race.. he's not a distance horse! mile and 1/16 and under the 1/16 is pushing it! I want to see Toby's corner in this

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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