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Mar 27, 2015

California Chrome gets desired Dubai World Cup post


Dubai, United Arab Emirates ( - California Chrome, last year's American Horse of the Year, will start from the far outside post in a field of nine for Saturday's 20th edition of the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse.

Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome drew post 9 versus eight rivals for the 1 1/4-mile World Cup with his regular jockey Victor Espinoza riding.

"We'd like to be outside, but I've heard that the rail is good here (Meydan main track)," Sherman said before the draw. "Our perfect trip has been to sit up close on the outside with a target in front of us."

Although California Chrome has wins over three types of surfaces, Sherman noted the colt's preference for dirt tracks.

"I don't know if we would have come if it were the old (all-weather)," Sherman said. "He likes a firm dirt track and to hear his feet rattle a little bit, and don't forget a $10 million purse has a nice ring to it."

The World Cup will be California Chrome's second start of the year. The 4- year-old finished second to Shared Belief in the San Antonio Invitational at Santa Anita on Feb. 7. California Chrome, owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, enters the World Cup with nine wins in 17 career starts and $4,322,650.

"It's more important on how the horse handles the trip than the rider," Espinoza said. "It's a different surface now, traditional dirt, rather than synthetic, so I don't know how the track will play. Hopefully, we'll get the money."

Defending winner African Story will break from post 3 with jockey James Doyle. Last year's World Cup winner is trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin Racing. Saeed bin Suroor has won the race six times.

"He has a lot of class and a great attitude," said Doyle. "Those attributes have really come to the fore here as he had to dig deep.

"There is more improvement to come from him I think and he is starting to get the hang of racing on dirt and was happier in the kickback this time than he was on his first start on the surface."

Suroor will also saddle Prince Bishop for the inside post.

Lea, trained by Bill Mott, will start from post 5 with Joel Rosario in the saddle. Mott saddled Cigar to victory in the inaugural Dubai World Cup in 1996.

"We are certainly here (with Lea) because the race is back on dirt and our horse has done his best running on the dirt," Mott said. "Just from what I can tell from looking at the surface this morning, it looks very good. I walked across it and it looks like our horse handles it well, which is the most important thing."

Lea, owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, began the year with a second straight win in Gulfstream Park's Hal's Hope Stakes before getting second behind Constitution in the Donn Handicap.

"We're going to give it our best," Mott said. "He (California Chrome) is a very good horse who of course was Horse of the Year, which is the biggest prize you can get I suppose. He's well thought of but we like our horse as well. I don't know a lot about the Japanese horses. We have nothing to compare them to."

Lea has won half of his 14 career starts for $898,618.

Here is the field for Dubai World Cup in post position order: Prince Bishop; Hokko Tarumae; African Story; Side Glance; Lea; Candy Boy; Long River; Epiphaneia and California Chrome.

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