It's finally Dubai World Cup Week! California Chrome, Mshawish, Frosted and Hoppertunity have put in the difficult work. The track is going to be tight, the fans will be out, and every racebook in the world will have their eyes on Dubai for the World Cup.
This is the final 2016 Dubai World Cup Rankings. Because it's the final rankings, I'm going to let you know who I'm backing to win this Saturday's race.
1. California Chrome - The great California Chrome finished second in the 2015 Dubai World Cup. All indications are that Chrome is ready to roll in this year's addition. Contrary to popular opinion, I'm not sure if things will be easier for Chrome in 2016 than they were in 2015. To me, he faces a couple of potential monsters in Mshawish and Frosted. California Chrome's new owners, California Chrome LLC, believe that they have the best horse. So does Chrome's trainer, Art Sherman. Anybody who bets on Chrome this Saturday is going to have to swallow incredibly low odds.
2. Mshawish - It's hard to not give the Todd Pletcher runner a huge chance in the Dubai World Cup on March 26. In his 3 races on the dirt, Mshawish has been ultra-impressive. He won the Hal's Hope and the Donn Handicap. He also didn't fare all that badly when finishing 4th in the Cigar Mile behind Tonalist, Red Vine and Matrooh last November. Mshawish's pedigree says the further the better.
3. Frosted - Frosted was absolutely brilliant in his Dubai World Cup prep. Almost as important is the fact that his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, has been tearing it up here in the U.S. From 84 starters, McLaughlin has 17 first place, 16 second place, and 11 third place finishes in 2016. That's a fantastic 52% in the money. McLaughlin's win percentage is around 20%. Frosted's connections, the awesome Godolphin barn, has pointed the son of Tapit towards this race since they purchased him.
4. Mubtaahij - Check out this great profile of Mubtaahij that I found on YouTube. Michael De Kock is excellent at getting his horses to peak at the perfect time. Mubtaahij's fourth place finish behind Special Fighter, Gun Pit and Faulkner, means that he'll be ready this Saturday. I think that he's definitely worth a shot as an underdog in a race with 1, California Chrome, and possibly another Frosted, underlays.
5. Hoppertunity - Check out Hoppertunity's win the Clark Handicap last November. Hoppertunity is a fighter. One of the issues with betting on him in the Dubai World Cup is that he really hasn't improved all that much from his 3 year old season, to his four-year-old season, and now to his 5-year-old season. He's a nice horse, but is he $6 million Dubai World Cup nice? I don't think he is. Then again, Bob Baffert shunned the Santa Anita Handicap, a race in which he might have won, in order to run in Dubai. That says something about Bob's confidence in the horse. He's not without a shot.
Dubai World Cup Pick: I'm picking the winner early. California Chrome should be difficult to beat. He looks stronger than ever at the age of 5. But, the Kentucky Derby winner from 2 years ago figures to be a 6/5 chalk to win on March 26. I just can't swallow those odds.
The best horse to bet on to win is Mshawish. He's improving over dirt. His Donn Hanidcap was better than his Hal's Hope. His Hal's Hope was better than his race in the Cigar Mile. He's the one that I'm picking on top. I think Todd Pletcher knows that he's got an excellent equine in this race.
It's impossible to leave California Chrome out of the exacta. So, I won't. I'm also putting Hoppertunity, Frosted, and Mubtaahij in the exacta in the hopes that one of those horses steps it up enough to knock Chrome out. For the trifecta, I'll play Mshawish over the 4 in my exacta over All. I'll switch it up and put the 4 from my exacta in the win slot, Mshawish in the place slot, and then all in the show slot.
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