Stage is set for Dubai World Cup this Saturday


Stage is set for Dubai World Cup this Saturday

Dubai - The fact of the matter is the Dubai World Cup is more than just a horse race.

By James Jose

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Published: Sat 25 Mar 2017, 9:39 PM

The other day, Bob Baffert, the famous American horse trainer of Arrogate, waltzed into the interview room at the Meydan Racecourse with Bode, his 12-year-old son. Baffert then announced in jest, "This is Bode right here and he liked to be in on the action."
The interviewer, the seasoned Rupert Bell played along and said: "We have interviewed dad a number of times so we'll ask Bode about the horse? What do you think of Arrogate?"
"I think he's a good horse. Hopefully, he will win; if he doesn't, it's fine," said Bode. "It's not fine," Baffert shot back, as everyone broke into laughter. Bode then cheekily retorted: "I mean, it's a horse race, dad."
It was obviously all in good humour but the fact of the matter is the Dubai World Cup is more than just a horse race. It is the biggest sporting and social gathering in the UAE. It is a tribute to a beautiful animal which has served mankind so well.
His Highness  Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has a special place in his heart for horses. What he conceived 22 years ago as Crown Prince has now taken the horse racing world by storm.
Ever since Jerry Bailey piloted American raider Cigar in the inaugural meeting at Nad Al Sheba in 1996, the Dubai World Cup has grown at a staggering pace. It is the congregation of the world's best horses, trainers and jockeys.
Prize money has grown exponentially over the years with a $10 million payday. Although the Pegasus World Cup has now surpassed that with $12 million, the Dubai World Cup still is the richest race meeting on the planet with $30 million generously spread across the nine races on the night.Although the weather is still not playing ball, avid racegoers from around the world will dress to the nines, in dapper suits, dresses, hats, heels and what have you, and make the trip to Meydan.
Since we are on the topic of the weather, the mind throws us back to that night in 1997. Heavy rains left the Nad Al Sheba track in puddles of water. Sheikh Mohammed made the brave decision to postpone the races and his famous action of him drawing his hand across his throat, is a vivid memory.
UAE Air Force helicopters were pressed into service to dry the surface and the show went on five days later.  -
Seven facts you need to know
> The Dubai World Cup offers a $10 million purse
> The first races were held in 1996
> In 1997, the Dubai World Cup was delayed for five days due to torrential rain. UAE Air Force choppers hovered over the track to dry it out in time for the postponed race date
> The Dubai World Cup isn't the only race at Meydan on
Saturday. The day features nine Thoroughbred
races worth $29 million in all.
> The race has been run at two tracks, Nad Al Sheba from 1996 through 2009 and Meydan from 2010 to present
> It has been run on three different surfaces: dirt at Nad Al Sheba, a synthetic surface at Meydan (2010-2014) and dirt at Meydan (2015 to present).
> California Chrome ran the fastest Dubai World Cup at Meydan last year, completing the 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.83.

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