California Chrome will break from post 11 in Dubai World Cup

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March 23rd, 2016

When post positions were drawn early Wednesday, American contenders for Saturday’s $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) occupied the wings – Keen Ice (post 1) and Mshawish (2) on the inside, and Frosted (9), Hoppertunity (10) and California Chrome (11) on the outside. Only one horse drew wider, the Saudi-based Teletext (12).

The draw was a two-step process, with horses first allotted the order in which connections would choose from the remaining post positions. California Chrome was the 11th horse to choose, and accordingly wound up in the second-outermost post.

California Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman was accentuating the positive about being drawn 11 of 12.

“The outside draw is good if you’ve got the horse, and I hope we have.

“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.”

Frank Taylor of co-owner Taylor Made Farm commented on Chrome’s high-class attitude, what you might call the look of eagles.

“You see these Grade 1 horses,” Taylor said. “They walk out and they stop and they get that look that’s like 100 miles away.  He did that about five times walking over this morning.”

Frosted’s camp would have preferred having Chrome to the inside, but were otherwise pleased with post 9 (secured by picking fifth in the order).

"We were hoping to be outside of the speed,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Special Fighter (post 5) is speed as is California Chrome (whose draw was announced afterward). We didn't want to go all the way outside. There's a long run into the first turn which should help us secure position.”

Team Mshawish, second in the order of choosing, wanted and got post 2.

“The track is good on the inside and with our horse’s experience we know he doesn’t mind being inside,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.

“We talked to Frankie (Dettori) earlier and his choices were - in order - 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 1 so why not go with his first choice? Hopefully we’ll be in a good stalking position – that would be ideal.”

Hoppertunity, the ninth to choose, had his options limited by that point.

“That was really our only choice – 1 or 10 and so we had to pick outside,” Dana Barnes, Bob Baffert’s assistant, said of post 10.

Keen Ice, 10th in the order, still had the rail left, and Donegal Racing’s Jerry Crawford grabbed it.

"The thing that made it (the rail) attractive was that it was that or the 11 or the 12,” Crawford explained. “We have speed drawn to our immediate inside in the 2-hole (Mshawish), so we should have room to maneuver and navigate from there. We are going to be first time blinkers so I think that will make him a little keener, excuse the expression."

Mubtaahij, seventh in line, snared post 4.

“We didn’t want to be 1, but wanted to be on the inside as there has tended to be inside bias through the season,” the trainer’s son Matthew de Kock said. “The horse is peaking at the right time and should give a good account of himself.”

Here’s the complete World Cup draw:

California Chrome photo courtesy Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club.