Dubai World Cup 2015 Preview: This One’s for the Chromies

March 27, 2015

Reporting from Dubai -- They are called Chromies: the legions of California Chrome fans who in the past have descended on the California horse’s big races. Those fans made themselves particularly visible during the horse's Triple Crown appearances last year.

Although there probably will not be too many Chromies cheering on California Chrome at the $10 million Dubai World Cup, America’s reigning Horse of the Year nevertheless has settled in as the odds-on favorite for the world’s richest race. One reason for this view perhaps is that the largely California-based horse ships well, as demonstrated by his two wins in the Triple Crown.

Chrome fell short at the Belmont Stakes, failing to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.  Some also grumbled that Chrome was fouled in the Breeder’s Cup Classic last fall (G1) and should have prevailed over rival horses Bayern and Toast Of New York.

However, when Art Sherman, California Chrome’s trainer, spoke to the DSH, there was not even a hint of sour grapes, as he stated that “Dubai has been really great to us, and we are expecting to have a really great race.”

Indeed, the 2015 Dubai World Cup is set to be a great race even without the prospect of a Breeder’s Cup rematch (Bayern and Toast of New York declined to participate).  Here is a sneak peek at some of the key horses to watch in the big race:

The Contenders

Hokko Tarumae, along with Epiphaneia, are two Japanese raiders who might impact this year’s Dubai World Cup.  Hokko Tarumae is a serious contender who not only competed in the event last year, but also has enjoyed some recent success, holding off all comers in his last race (see video below).

In addition, Hoko Tarumae has post number two. This is significant because most winners at the Meydan Racetrack this season came from the inside.

We know Chrome is a good shipper, but the mentality of “horse for courses” means local favorite African Story is an even stronger contender than Hokko Tarumae.  Despite being eight years of age, many UAE sports writers who spoke to the DSH ahead of race day seemed confident that African Story had a solid chance.  As such, we cannot rule out the hometown hero. If African Story wins he will become the first two-time winner of the Dubai World Cup.

Yet, the DSH's favorite horse in the race has to be Lea. Lea has gotten far less attention than California Chrome, but this five-year-old has a middle post (#5) and a rider who has won this event before in Joel Rosario.

“Lea is a good horse to ride in such a big event, sure we are up against [California] Chrome, but the fact that I have won this event in the past gives me some confidence . . . you have less concerns the second time," Rosario told The Daily Sports Herald.

While Rosario admitted that “each Dubai World Cup is very different," he seemed to take in stride the fact that Lea was not the favorite.

“It means you can focus more on the race and not being the favorite takes away one more possible distraction on race day," said Rosario.

The switch from a synthetic track to dirt was designed to attract American runners like Lea and California Chrome. The Daily Sports Herald observed that with four days to go before the race, the Meydan’s track seemed a little soft.  It appears the track has been slow to bed in due to the relative lack of rain fall in Dubai and the short running season at the Meydan.

Still, regardless of the conditions and despite the collection of noteworthy challengers in this year’s Dubai World Cup, California Chrome is a strong favorite. If California Chrome wins he will become the third Kentucky Derby winner after Silver Charm (1998) and Animal Kingdom (2013) to win this race.

This one may be for the Chromies, after all.

By Joseph Hammond
Contributing Writer for

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...