Prince Bishop crowned winner of 2015 Dubai World Cup, California Chrome places second and plans Royal Ascot run

March 29, 2015

Prince Bishop / Photo Credit: Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood

Reporting from Dubai -- In the Middle Ages, the “prince bishop” of a jurisdiction was an individual who was both a bishop and a civil governor of the territory. Often the bishop's jurisdiction and the area he governed were not in alignment, as is the case of the world’s last prince bishop (The Catalonian Bishop of Urgell is a Co-Prince of Andorra).

European history aside, everything was in alignment for the 8-year-old horse Prince Bishop and his Danish-British jockey William Buick in the $10 million Dubai World Cup. Some oddsmakers had the horse a mere 17-1 chance to win (the closest odds at post time were 12-1).  Considering that Bishop already had a prior loss to African Story, few gave him much of a chance.

Prince Bishop was not even the preferred hometown pick, as Godolphin's African Story had drawn the most local media attention because the horse had previously won the Dubai World Cup in 2014. No horse has won the event twice.

So when Prince Bishop crossed the finish line first, nobody was more shocked by the victory than Buick's biggest fan.

"I feel a bit numb at the moment, but I'm sure when I get home and relax it will all sink in," said Buick’s girlfriend, Jane, to the DSH moments after the win.  "I am really surprised, we didn’t expect this at all . . . I guess we will miss our flight tomorrow."

Prince Bishop is part of Godolphin Racing, which is owned by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the Emir of Dubai, where the race was held.  The winners announced that the $6 million dollars won by Prince Bishop on Saturday will be donated to the Dubai Autism Centre.

During the race, however, Prince Bishop gave none of his rivals any charity.

Reigning Japanese dirt king Hokko Tarumae drove the pace early, and for a moment it looked like he might be able to take on all challengers.  But down the final few hundred meters both of the American horses -- California Chrome and Lea -- came on strong as Hokko Tarumae faded.

That is when Buick, spying a once in a lifetime opportunity, discovered that Prince Bishop was more than willing to take up the challenge, as he pulled away from Chrome and the rest of the field down the final stretch to win by 2 and 3/4 lengths.

"He has a very unorthodox way of racing so I took him out of the kickback in the back and when I got onto California Chrome's tail, he picked up the bridle and listen, he ran on well in the end," said Buick.  "He likes the surface now that he has the experience. He is better than he was. This is just nuts."

The Daily Sports Herald’s pick, Lea, finished third.  Lea was trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who won the first ever World Cup with Cigar in 1996.

“We didn't get the cleanest run," said Mott.  "He dropped in and saved the ground and kind of got stuck there for awhile. He ran well.”

Royal Ascot for California Chrome

California Chrome, the reigning American Horse of the year, fell short of his goal to become the third Kentucky Derby victor -- after Silver Charm (1998) and Animal Kingdom (2013) -- to win the Dubai World Cup.

Nevertheless, in placing second, Chrome still earned a decent slice of the $10 million pot and set himself up for more potential victories. With the possible exception of Zenyatta, California Chrome has attracted more casual fan interest than any other horse in recent memory.

“I am very proud," said Steve Coburn, the horse's co-owner.  "To send our horse halfway around the world to train on a track that he's not familiar with and to run that good, I'm very pleased."

Fans of California Chrome, affectionately known as “Chromies,” should rejoice in the news that he is not headed to retirement anytime soon.

Chrome will now be shipped to England to compete in the Royal Ascot, the United Kingdom's premiere race. Only two Kentucky Derby winners have also raced in the Ascot, 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and 1935 Triple Crown Winner Omaha, who raced in the 1936 edition. No Kentucky Derby winner has ever won that race.

UAE Derby winner Mubtaahij headed to Kentucky

Another important race on the Dubai World Cup card for American racing fans was the $2 million UAE Derby.  Mubtaahij, which means “Joyful” in Arabic, was the victor,  showing class and speed in the win. The victory earned the horse 100 Derby qualifying points, which should prove sufficient in getting him into the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field.

When the horse appears at Churchill Downs he will have almost as many international connections as Emirates Airlines. The 2015 UAE Derby winner is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, trained by South African Micheal de Kock, ridden by a French jockey, and was bred in Ireland. Mubtaahij will be a horse to watch at the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

By Joseph Hammond
Contributing Writer for

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