DUBAI – Curlin surged to the lead in the stretch and then overpowered an international field to win the $6 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday.
The 4-year-old colt was sent off as hot favorite against 11 rivals, and did not disappoint thousands who packed Nad Al Sheba racetrack to get an up-close view of the US Horse of the Year in the world’s richest race.
Under little urging from jockey Robby Albarado, Curlin blew past Well Armed and Asiatic Boy and cruised to a 7 3/4-length victory. The margin of victory was a World Cup record, topping the six-length win by Dubai Millennium in 2000.
After Curlin crossed the finish line, Albarado raised an index finger to the sky and said: “He’s an amazing horse. I was just a passenger.”
Curlin now has a four-race winning streak. A son of Smart Strike, Curlin became the fourth horse to win the BC Classic and return the next year to take the World Cup. The others were Cigar, Pleasantly Perfect and Invasor.
Well Armed was the leader, with Asiatic Boy second for most of the 2-kilometer race. Curlin raced comfortably behind in third until Albarado decided to make his move. When they took off, it was clear the big chestnut colt was so much better than the rest. Curlin earned $3.5 million for the victory and boosted his career earnings to $8,807,800.
AP Arrow was fourth, followed by Great Hunter, Lucky Find, local favorite Jalil, Gloria De Campeao, Premium Tap, Sway Yed, Kocab and Vermilion.
Earlier on a glittering seven-race card with prize money of over $21 million on the night, South African trainer Mike de Kock landed a 1-2 in the UAE Derby and also captured the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic.
Honour Devil, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, beat stablemate Royal Vintage by a length and a quarter to give De Kock his second successive victory in the UAE Derby following Asiatic Boy in 2007.
The trainer struck again in the Sheema Classic when Sun Classique with Kevin Shea on board landed the spoils. South Africa was also on the mark in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free when Jay Peg, ridden by Anton Marcus for trainer Herman Brown, sprang a surprise.
American trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. and jockey Edgar Prado were others on top form teaming up to win the Godolphin Mile on Diamond Stripes and Benny The Bull in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.