by Steve Andersen
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (March 26, 2016)-California Chrome, the 2014 Horse of the Year, won Saturday's $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse despite a wide trip throughout the 1 1-4 miles on dirt.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome broke from post 11 in a field of 12 and raced three-wide and later four-wide while stalking the pace. In early stretch, Espinoza guided California Chrome to the lead with a four-wide move and got an immediate response when the 5-year-old pulled away from his rivals. He won by approximately four lengths.
Mubtaahij, who finished eighth in the 2015 Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Belmont Stakes last June, closed well on the inside to finish second clear of Hoppertunity, the winner of the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at SAnta Anita last month.
Special Fighter finished fourth. Frosted, the winner of the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby last September and Round Two of the Maktoum Challenge in Dubai on Feb. 4, was unplaced in a race in which he was expected to play a leading role.
California Chrome was timed in 2:01.92 and was worth $6 million to his owners Perry Martin and Taylor Made Farms who race as California Chrome LLC.
Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome has been pointed for the Dubai World Cup since he resumed training last fall. In 2015, California Chrome finished second to Prince Bishop in the Dubai World Cup, but did not start through the year because of minor ailments. At the time, Martin co-owned California Chrome with Steve Coburn. The two men bred the California-bred by Lucky Pulpit.
Last summer, Taylor Made Farm bought Coburn's 30 percent share of California Chrome with the intent of standing the horse at their farm in Kentucky at the end of his racing career.
California Chrome resumed training with Sherman at Los Alamitos Racecourse in Southern California in the fall and made his comeback with a win in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at SAnta Anita on Jan. 9. Later in January, California Chrome was sent to Dubai to begin a two-month preparation for Saturday's race. California Chrome had a prep race in Dubai in a $150,000 handicap at 1 1-4 miles on dirt at Meydan on Feb. 26, winning comfortably by two lengths.
The victory set up his appearance in the Dubai World Cup in which California Chrome gave perhaps the best performance of a career that includes wins in the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2014. California Chrome has won 12 of 21 starts and earned $12,532,650.