IN a dominant, track-record setting performance compromised by the slippage of his saddle during the race, California Chrome (USA) avenged last year’s second place performance by winning the $10 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates. In the process, he became the all-time leading money earner in North American racing history.
South African-trained Mubtaahij finished second ahead of Hoppertunity and Special Fighter.
Leaving from post position 11 in the field of 12, California Chrome, the five-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit established a clear stalking position but, while three-wide, the saddle slipped and made jockey Victor Espinoza’s job a bit more tricky.
“I was just trying to keep my balance and not move my body,” Espinoza said. “I wasn’t that concerned about it, I just kept looking forward and thinking ‘where’s the wire’. It was not coming fast enough.”
California Chrome took over from pacesetter Mshawish (USA) at the top of the stretch and carried on to a three and three-quarter-length victory, stopping the timer in a track record time of 2:01.83.
“Today it proves how he can run when he’s 100 per cent, said Espinoza, who scored his first Dubai World Cup win in his fourth try. Last year he (California Chrome) finished second and it was not very fun. My goal after winning the Triple Crown was to win the Dubai World Cup and we did it.”
The winner’s share of $6 million pushed California Chrome’s career earnings to $12,532,650, eclipsing 2008 Dubai World Cup winner Curlin ($10,501,800) as the US all-time leading money earner.
“He is a once in a lifetime horse,” trainer Art Sherman said. “It (all-time leading US earner) was a goal in the back of my mind. You think of all the great trainers in the history of this game and you really appreciate that it happened to us.”
Trainer Mike de Kock said about Mubthaahij: “He ran a great race and we were beaten by the best dirt horse in the world. We’ll happily take that!”
-Dubai Racing Club.
Photo: California Chrome, triumphant!