|Written by Michelle Allan|
This weekend, all eyes will be on Dubai for the world's richest horse race. The Dubai World Cup, begun in 1996, was created by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the ruler of the emirate of Dubai. This $10 million race attracts one of the top fields in the world, and will be hotly anticipated by horse racing fans globally.
The early favorite to win the race is Twice Over with 4-1 odds. This will be only his fourth start on a synthetic track, while he has 20 total on turf. Last year, Twice Over failed to compete in the Dubai race, coming in at 10th in the 1 ¼ mile race. He will be starting from post 12 out of the 14 and Tom Queally will be in the saddle.
Twice Over has a history of payout success, coming in the money 19 times in his career. In his previous eight 1 ¼ mile starts, he has come in first three times, second twice, and third twice. No wonder he is the favorite to win in Dubai. One of his third-place finishes was a loss to Zenyatta and Gio Ponti in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic.
Gio Ponti will also be racing at the Dubai World Cup, making his season debut. He starts out at post 5, with Ramon Dominguez in the saddle. He was the favorite to win this race in 2010 and finished in 4th place. He is also an incredibly successful horse, finishing in second place in his previous two appearances at the Breeders' Cup Championship, as well as winning three Eclipse Awards.
Since beginning in 1996, the Dubai World Cup has come to be fully integrated into the world racing season. With $6 million going to the winner, and a total pot worth $10 million, it is easy to see why racers and breeders don't mind making the 8,000 mile trip to the small Middle Eastern country. In total, the day's races are worth over $26 million.
The World Cup is also coming to compete with the world's other elite races, such as the Breeders' Cup Classic in America, the Japan Cup, and France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Dubai's race has the largest pot of prize money, but is compares favorably when one looks at the race's quality. It may even come to surpass some of these other important races in terms of quality of performance.