Chrome in post 11 for Dubai World Cup
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – California Chrome will break from post 11 in a field of 12 Saturday night when he attempts to become the third Kentucky Derby winner to capture the Dubai World Cup, following Silver Charm and Animal Kingdom.
Trainer Art Sherman had only two options left, posts 11 and 12, when California Chrome’s name finally was pulled during Wednesday’s post-position draw for the $10 million World Cup at Meydan. For the World Cup post draw, the name of each horse was drawn, and his representative selected a post. California Chrome’s name was the secondto-last name pulled, leaving Sherman little choice.
“There’s nothing you can do about it, but he’s got tactical speed,” Sherman said. “I’m not worried about it.”
From the rail out, the World Cup field consists of Keen Ice, Mshawish, Gun Pit, Mubtaahij, Special Fighter, Candy Boy, Vadamos, Hokko Tarumae, Frosted, Hoppertunity, California Chrome, and Teletext.
Gun Pit’s name was the first drawn, and his Hong Kongbased connections selected post 3. Next up was Mshawish, and with Todd Pletcher having said after watching Mshawish train Wednesday that he wanted an inside draw, post 2 was selected. The Japanese horse Hokko Tarumae, a major pace factor, came next, and his connections chose a middle draw, 8. Frosted’s name came fifth, and – somewhat surprisingly – trainer Kiaran Mclaughlin went for an outside draw, choosing post 9.
“We want to be out in the clear, didn’t want to be down inside too much, so we’re happy where we are,” Mclaughlin said. “It’s a long run down from the start to the first turn. He’s going to be forwardly placed. Ideally, it’d be speed inside of us. California Chrome outside, we just have to see what happens.”
With the sixth pick, Special Fighter’s camp chose post 6 for the surprise gate-to-wire winner of Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on March 5, when some thought there was an inside-speed bias. Trainer Mike de Kock took post 4 for 2015 UAE Derby winner, Mubtaahij, and Jerry Crawford, president of Donegal racing, chose post 1 for Keen Ice while posts 11 and 12 still were available. Keen Ice races with blinkers on, the hope being that the equipment change will get him into the race sooner than was the case when he finished seventh in the Maktoum Challenge earlier this month.
Sherman suggested Tuesday he didn’t want California Chrome getting trapped down inside but said after the draw he’d have taken post 1 over 11 or 12 had it been available. Now, jockey Victor Espinoza will have to survey the tactics toward his inside, seeing how determined Hokko Tarumae and Special Fighter are to make the lead, judging how hard to send and when to drop in for position.
“The outside is good if you’ve got the horse,” Sherman said.
Fair Grounds: Louisiana Derby
A field of 11, including the first five finishers from the Risen Star Stakes last month at Fair Grounds, was entered for Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby.
The Risen Star’s top five – Gun Runner, Forevamo, Mo Tom, Candy My Boy, and Zapperini – all are back for the Louisiana Derby, the first 1 1/8-mile race for these 3-year-olds. Mo Tom, the winner of the Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 16 at Fair Grounds and badly compromised by midstretch trouble when third in the Risen Star, was installed by linemaker Mike Diliberto as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Mo Tom is trained by New Orleans native Tom Amoss and is owned by Gayle Benson’s GMB Racing. Benson is the wife of another New Orleans native, Tom Benson, who owns the NFL’S New Orleans Saints and the NBA’S New Orleans Pelicans.
Mo Tom landed post 6 and will be ridden again by Florida-based Corey Lanerie. “I’m very happy with the draw,” said Amoss.
Gun Runner, fourth behind third-place Mo Tom in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November but the Risen Star winner in his 3-year-old debut, is saddled from post 1, a tricky spot but one that the compact, athletic Gun Runner and leading Fair Grounds jockey Florent Geroux should be able, with luck, to handle.
Gun Runner is listed as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, with Florida shipper Greenpointcrusader the 7-2 third choice.
From the rail out, the field, with jockeys: Gun Runner (Geroux), Greenpointcrusader (John Velazquez), Battery (Javier Castellano), Conquest Windycity (Joe Rocco Jr.), Candy My Boy (Francisco Torres), Mo Tom (Lanerie), Tom’s Ready (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Uncle Walter (Robby Albarado), Dazzling Gem (Shaun Bridgmohan), Zapperini (Julien Leparoux), and Forevamo (Colby Hernandez).
“It’s very solid,” Dallas Stewart, the trainer of Tom’s Ready, said of the Louisiana Derby. “You’ll see two or three horses in this field in the Kentucky Derby.”
Gun Runner, Mo Tom, Greenpointcrusader, and Forevamo are listed among the 20 horses in the most recent edition of
Derby Watch and were part of pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby future wager.
Greenpointcrusader, the field’s lone Grade 1 winner, finished second to Derby favorite Mohaymen in his only start this year, the Jan. 30 Holy Bull Stakes.