Main Sequence the Main Toss on Dubai World Cup Program

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TwinSpires Staff

March 27th, 2015


For well over a century, Thoroughbred racing in the United States has been heavily focused on dirt. It still is today, albeit certainly not to the extreme of a half-century ago. In most parts of the world, the same statement is true about grass surfaces. In Europe for instance, dirt racing is a virtual non-entity, but grass racing is king.

It’s common sense that American based horses should dominate on dirt, and struggle miserably on grass. Tapeta Footings is a relatively newer surface that is its own entity, and in theory, shouldn't provide any region of the world with a built-in advantage. American-based Englishman trainer Michael Dickinson developed Tapeta.

From 1996 through 2009, the Dubai World Cup was contested at Nad Al Sheba and featured a card of races on dirt and grass. In 2010, the action moved to Meydan Racecourse and featured a card of races on Tapeta and grass.

There's been some debate in the past on how to define “U.S. horses” who compete on the Dubai World Cup card. Preposterously, when Animal Kingdom won the Dubai World Cup, the Australian anthem played and the program for the race claimed he was representing Australia, a country he had never stepped foot in prior to that day.

By my definition, a “U.S. horse” competing in Dubai is a horse that has spent the majority of the prior calendar year training and competing in the U.S. This means that horses like Curlin and Regal Ransom are U.S. horses and not “Emirates horses” because they prepped and trained in Dubai prior to their World Cup day victories.

With that defined, here is how U.S. Horses have performed in the individual Dubai World Cup races.

Main Track Races:

Dubai World Cup on Dirt: 48-9-9-7
Dubai World Cup on Tapeta: 12-1-0-0

Godolphin Mile on Dirt: 26-5-3-2
Godolphin Mile on Tapeta: 8-0-0-0

Golden Shaheen Sprint on Dirt: 39-9-8-5
Golden Shaheen Sprint on Tapeta: 9-1-1-1

UAE Derby on Dirt: 16-4-3-2
UAE Derby on Tapeta: 3-0-0-0

Grass Races:

Dubai Duty Free : 24-0-2-0
Dubai Sheema Classic: 17-0-1-0
Al Quoz Sprint: 8-0-0-1


Main track races on Dirt: 129-27-23-16  (21% wins, 51% ITM)

Main track races on Tapeta: 32-2-1-1  (6% wins, 13% ITM)

Grass races: 49-0-3-1 (0% wins, 8% ITM)

As you can see, the statistics for U.S. horses are sensational on dirt, mediocre on Tapeta, and brutal on Turf.

In my opinion, these facts make Main Sequence a huge play against for me on Saturday. There's been a lot of talk about how he's “the best grass horse we've ever sent over there" but I'm not entirely convinced of that statement. We've sent over many top class American grass horses and most of them have performed abysmally. Here is a complete list of US horses to compete on grass in Dubai:

Dubai Duty Free:

2000: Ladies Din 5th 
2000: Takarian 8th
2000: Band Is Passing 11th
2001: Ladies Din 11th 
2002: Val Royal 5th *
2002: Del Mar Show 10th
2004: Sarafan 10th 
2005: Whilly 2nd
2006: The Tin Man 2nd 
2006: Host 4th 
2006: Whilly 11th
2007: English Channel 12th *
2007: Miesque's Approval 15th *
2007: Lava Man 16th 
2008: Notional 16th 
2009: Kip Deville 10th * 
2009: Hyperberic 14th
2010: The Usual Q. T. 4th 
2010: Take The Points 5th 
2010: Courageous Cat 9th 
2010: Justenuffhumor 15th 
2010: Tam Lin 16th
2011: Victor's Cry 5th
2013: Little Mike 11th * 

Dubai Sheema Classic:

2000: Thesaurus 13th
2000: Potrizaris 16th
2004: Hard Buck 2nd 
2005: Prince Arch 6th 
2006: Mustanfar 9th 
2006: Relaxed Gesture 12th 
2007: Honey Ryder 11th 
2007: Host 12th 
2007: Obrigado 13th
2008: Better Talk Now 9th * 
2008: Spring House 10th
2009: Marsh Side 5th 
2009: Red Rocks 12th 
2010: Precious Passion 16th 
2011: Bourban Bay 11th 
2011: Champ Pegasus 12th 
2014: Twilight Eclipse 12th

Al Quoz Sprint:

2010: California Flag 3rd * 
2011: Quick Enough 8th
2011: Stardivinsky 13th
2011: Mr Gruff 16th
2012: Regally Ready 14th
2013: Varsity  6th
2013: Great Attack 11th
2014: Berlino Di Tiger 11th

* indicates that the horse won a Breeders' Cup turf race

The bottom line is that a return to dirt racing should translate into a return to glory for American based horses in Dubai. However, Main Sequence will need to overcome some cruel history in his bid to become the first US horse to win a grass race  on World Cup day.