Dubai: Arrogate, the highest rated horse in the world, is likely to face 13 rivals as he bids to add a third major trophy to his burgeoning collection, by winning the $10 million (Dh36.73 million) Dubai World Cup on March 26.
Winner of both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1) and $2 million Pegasus Cup (Grade 1) the four-year-old Unbridled’s Song colt, who arrived in Dubai late on Tuesday night, is joined by four other American contenders in the Meydan showpiece.
Hoppertunity, who was third in the 2016 Dubai World Cup behind California Chrome, also looks set to start alongside Gun Runner, last year’s Louisiana Derby (Grade 2) scorer and Pegasus Cup third and fourth, Neolithic and Keen Ice.
Rated 134, Arrogate is the highest rated horse to contest the race since it was first run in 1996, while the mare Furia Cruzada, who is the lowest-rated horse on 108, is the first ever runner for Dubai-based Frenchman Erwan Charpy.
Bob Baffert, who trains Arrogate for Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, will be bidding for a third Dubai World Cup after Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001).
Meanwhile, Oasis! Stables’ Maria Ritchie, who only took out a UAE trainer’s licence last month, will also be represented in the prestigious 2000 metre dirt contest with Special Fighter, who was fourth 12 months ago.
The Dubai Racing Club on Wednesday released likely fields for all nine races on the card as a result of Monday’s second supplementary stage for nominations.
Declarations and the final, third supplementary stage for Dubai World Cup day take place on Monday March 20.
Arrogate is a short-priced 2/5 favourite on the international markets, with last year’s Group 2 UAE Derby winner Mubtaahij an 8/1 second favourite.
Bred by Clearsky Farms in Kentucky, Arrogate was acquired by Juddmonte for $560,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2015.
His current earnings stand in excess of $11 million and victory in Dubai would make Arrogate the all-time leading North American-based earner with more than $17 million, surpassing California Chrome‘s $14,752,650.
Earlier this week Baffert revealed that Arrogate will not be asked to do too much when he arrives in Dubai, having completed his preparations in America including a seven furlongs breeze at Santa Anita Park, Florida, where he covered the distance in 1:25.00 secs.
“He went really nice,” Baffert, 64, said of Arrogate, who was timed in splits of 24.60, 36.80, 48.60 and 1:12.80.“I saw what I needed to see. He just cruised around there and he’ll ship tomorrow (for Dubai).”
Elsewhere, the $6 million Dubai Turf (Group 1), one of the most popular and competitive races on the card looks to be run with a strong field of 13.
Among them are Godolphin’s Ribchester, winner of the Jacques Le Marois (Group 1) at Deauville last August, classy French-trained Zarak, who impressed when taking out the Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan and the ultra-consistent Mutakayyef, who is trained in the UK by Derby-winning handler William Haggas.
Mutakayyef has not finished out of the top three in 14 starts since the autumn of 2013.
$10m Dubai World Cup (Group 1)
Saturday, March 25
Arrogate (2/5); Mubtaahij (8); Gun Runner (14); Heartbreak City (14); Hoppertunity (14)
Neolithic (25); Keen Ice (33); Special Fighter (33); Apollo Kentucky (40) Awardee (50); Move Up (50); Furia Cruzada (66); Long River (66); Lani (100)
— Source: Oddschecker.com