California Chrome has drawn the 11th post in a field of 12 for the Dubai World Cup in a race that he’s expected to be heavily favored in when the morning line odds are released. It might be a bit of a setback in the eyes of some who are eager to bet on the $10 million race, but the horse’s handlers and connections are far from worried.
“There wasn’t too much I could do about the draw. He’s got tactical speed, so I’m not going to worry about it,” retorted Art Sherman, who arrived this week after allowing his son – Alan Sherman – to oversee California Chrome’s prep for the big challenge. “Listen, the outside is good if you’ve got the horse, and I think we do.”
Last year, California Chrome ran in the Dubai World Cup as well, falling to Prince Bishop by 2 3/4 lengths. He opened in the 9th gate in a similarly sized field and seemed poised to win before getting bumped far too often through the last turn. “We lost ground on every turn. He had to lose maybe three or four lengths in the race,” Sherman reminisced. “I know that saving ground means a lot. He was on a five-horse spread, they were bumping each other. If (this race) is a little bit smoother, I think he’ll run really well.”
Jockey Victor Espinoza also seemed unfazed by the wide draw for California Chrome. “I’d rather be outside than in the one hole,” Espinoza chirped. “We all know the one hole is the short way around, but it’s a lot of horses, a big field, and for that reason, it’s okay. I think eleven is good.
“Now, he’s getting older. He’s just more professional, more aggressive. Kind of like he’s not afraid any more like he used to be. For some reason, he used to be a little bit afraid inside, on the rail. But I rode him a month ago over here, and I was stuck inside, and it seems like it was not a problem. Now that I have the eleven, I think I just have to go with the flow.”
Keen Ice was the one to draw the inside rail, which might benefit him given that he’ll be sporting blinkers for the first time in a while. It was a suggestion made by his rider, Ryan Moore. Mshawish will run out of the second post, while Hoppertunity will line up next to California Chrome in the tenth post.
The 2,000 metre Dubai World Cup is set for a run time this Saturday, March 26th at 1pm EST (9pm local time).