The Dubai World Cup meeting celebrates its historic 25th anniversary on March 27, with six Group 1 races and three Group 2s, including one of the world’s premier races, the $12 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline.
Over the next few weeks, we will pay tribute to each of the previous Dubai World Cup winners. Today, we rewind to 2013 when Animal Kingdom won the Dubai World Cup under Joel Rosario for American trainer Graham Motion.
After dominating the Dubai World Cup honor roll at Nad Al Sheba providing eight of the 14 winners, the USA had drawn a blank in the three years since the shift to Meydan. However Animal Kingdom addressed that sliding trend with a performance as dominant to be compared with the very best of winners. His two length margin isn’t anywhere near a record, however at no stage of the race did he ever look like being beaten.
It was justification and reward for the patience shown him by his connections, the horse slated for the 2013 renewal – aiming to emulate Silver Charm in 1998 – being aimed at the Dubai World Cup after success in the Kentucky Derby at three. A cozy success in Allowance company at Gulfstream Park was meant to bring him to his peak for a trip to Dubai in 2012 however it was not to be, the horse sidelined for just on nine months and his only other run for the year was a closing second to the champion Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on the turf.
Trainer Graham Motion was not to allow history cloud his judgment and the horse returned for his 2013 campaign back at Gulfstream Park and was unluckily beaten into second place in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap. It was a performance that convinced all concerned, the horse was back to his best and he was bound for Dubai.
The outside barrier proved no concern as Animal Kingdom crossed to track the leaders, moving to the front just prior to the home turn and then showing his dominance with a two length success. Red Cadeaux was to finish off from well back to take second while Planteur repeated his 2012 effort with his third placing. It was the second fastest of the four runnings at Meydan, just 0.4 seconds slower than Monterosso the previous year, injury denying that horse an opportunity to defend his Dubai World Cup crown.
Animal Kingdom’s dominance can be further emphasized by him meeting eight individual Group 1 winners. Animal Kingdom was to have one more start prior to his retirement however he didn’t handle the straight 1,600m course at Ascot when out of a place in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting. His unlucky seconds in the Gulfstream Park Handicap and Breeders’ Cup Mile denied him the opportunity to join a unique group of horses to have won Group 1s on the three different racing surfaces, dirt, all weather and turf, however he will always be listed amongst the very best of Dubai World Cup winners.
Dubai Racing Club Press Release
Photo: Animal Kingdom, (Dubai Racing Club)