Amy Nesse’s 5 Favorite US Dubai World Cup Winners

March 24, 2016

By Amy Nesse
As this year’s $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup quickly approaches, the U.S. has a pretty good shot at taking the race  for the 10th time. With a solid team of horses including favorite California Chrome, Frosted, Mshawish, Keen Ice, and Hopportunity, the U.S. horses look formidable if not dominant. In honor of the 21st running of the Dubai World Cup, presently the richest racing event in the world, let’s take a look back at my top 5 favorite performances from United States trained World Cup winners.
&NCS_modified=20150325081049&MaxW=960&imageVersion=default&AR-150329458What better way to introduce such a prestigious  race to the world, than by having a horse like Cigar be the inaugural Dubai World Cup winner!
Cigar was one of the most dominant horses in the world in 1995, winning 8 G1 Stakes and  the Eclipse Award for Horse Of The Year. Right after an impressive win in the Donn Handicap in February, Cigar was shipped to Dubai for the running of the Inaugural Dubai World Cup, which would be the richest race in the world at the time. Cigar entered the race as the favorite and no other horse took the spotlight the way he did that night. Cigar took the lead a quarter of a mile from the finish and held off the challenge of  Soul of the Matter, also a U.S. based horse, to win by half a length. It was an exhilarating history making performance! Cigar ran the 10 furlongs on a fast track in 2:03.84. The United States proved their dominance in the first World Cup by finishing first and second, in what I still feel is the most memorable running.
51656868In the 3rd running of The Dubai World Cup, the U.S. again displayed their dominance with Silver Charm. The Kentucky Derby winner became the 2nd U.S. horse to win The Dubai World Cup. With trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Gary Stevens, America brought an even larger spotlight to the World Cup by bringing a Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to the race. Prior to being shipped to Dubai, Silver Charm won The San Fernando Stakes in January and The Strub Stakes in February. In the 1998 Dubai World Cup, Silver Charm took the lead with about a quarter mile left to run, and held off the late challenge of the Godolphin runner Swain, by a head in a thrilling finish! Silver Charm won the 10 furlong race on a fast track in 2:04.29. It is a race not easily forgotten if you saw it and the nail biting finish between Swain and the American champ.
In the first 11 runnings of the race, 5 American horses (Cigar, Silver Charm, Captain Steve, Pleasantly Perfect, Roses in May) had won the highly acclaimed World Cup.
INVASORIn 2007 American champion Invasor left another lasting impression by U.S. trained horses. Although originally trained in Uruguay, the Argentinian bred Invasor, was purchased by Hamdan Al Maktoum and transferred to well respected trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s American stable. In his debut for his new connections, he suffered his only defeat when finishing fourth to Discreet Cat in the UAE Derby. He was voted American Horse of the Year  in 2006 after winning The Pimlico Special, The Suburban Handicap, The Whitney Handicap and The Breeders’ Cup Classic. In 2007 he won the Donn Handicap before being shipped to Dubai. In the 2007 Dubai World Cup, Invasor won by a length and three quarters over American-trained Premium Tap. Invasor ran the 10 furlongs in 1:59.97 on a fast track.
xpic-8.jpg.pagespeed.ic.jjl5-QkItvJust a year after Invasor’s impressive win in The World Cup, the U.S. returned with another dominant win from the ever so popular Curlin. The Steve Asmussen trained colt attracted a lot of international attention going into the World Cup being the 2007 Horse Of The Year after winning the Preakness Stakes and America’s richest race, The Breeders’ Cup Classic. Curlin did not fail to meet the high expectations with an exhilarating performance winning by 7 ¾ lengths in 2:01.15. This American champion’s performance brought Curlin to a whole new level of fame and vaulted his earnings past Cigar to become the all time leading North American money earner at the time. He also became the only horse to win the World Cup from the 12 post position. His impressive winning margin and classic Curlin performance made it one of the most memorable Dubai World Cups in history.
horse650Most would agree that the 2009 World Cup performance was the most visually impressive in the race’s history. The winner was Winstar Farm’s Well Armed, a 6 year old gelding trained by US trainer Eoin Harty and ridden by Aaron Gryder. Well Armed had been trained in the early part of hi career in England by Clive Brittain  before being transferred to Harty’s American stable in 2007. Racing in California, he showed his best form on synthetic tracks winning The San Antonio Handicap, The San Diego Handicap and The Goodwood Stakes. In the 2008 Dubai World Cup, he finished third behind Curlin and Asiatic Boy, but Well Armed was back for more in 2009, and at odds of 9-1, the gelding shocked all by winning the then 6 million dollar race by a record breaking 14 lengths in an absolutely showstopping performance. This race remains  Harty’s and Gryder’s biggest career wins and have written their names in the history books with the most impressive performance the Dubai World Cup has ever seen.

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