Country Grammer Leads North American Charge Into DWC Night

WinStar Farm, Commonwealth Thoroughbreds and Zedan Racing’s defending G1 Dubai World Cup champion Country Grammer (Tonalist) tops a dozen North American entries for the Dubai World Cup program at Meydan Racecourse Saturday, Mar. 25. The prospective fields were revealed overnight by the Dubai Racing Club.

The 6-year-old is one of 13 in the field for the $12-million centerpiece of the meeting, including no fewer than eight runners from Japan topped by Panthalassa (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}), who registered a half-length defeat of Country Grammer in the G1 Saudi Cup last month. Emblem Road (Quality Road), who upset Country Grammer in the 2022 Saudi Cup, is set to make the trip over from Riyadh.

In terms of numbers, the U.S. supplies five of the 13 likely starters the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, whose defending American-bred champion Switzerland (Speightstown) is also engaged. Gunite (Gun Runner) gave an excellent account of himself when making his seasonal debut in the G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint, finishing runner-up to champion Elite Power (Curlin), while the in-form Sibelius (Not This Time) ships in for Midlantic-based conditioner Jerry O’Dwyer and will be ridden by Ryan Moore. Hopkins (Quality Road), a latest winner of the GIII Palos Verdes S., also represents the Bob Baffert barn, while C Z Rocket (City Zip) was a late addition to the field. Super Ocho (Chi) (Dubai Sky) is one of two World Cup night entries for trainer Amador Sanchez, who also sends out Gulfstream allowance winner Super Corinto (Arg) (Super Saver) in the G2 Godolphin Mile.

The G2 UAE Derby is the first race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby that offers the winner 100 points, and three American-based sophomores are in the mix. Two of those wintered in Dubai for Doug O’Neill, namely Tall Boy (Lookin At Lucky), fourth to Practical Move (Practical Joke) in last year’s GII Los Alamitos Futurity, who handed Charles Fipke’s Shirl’s Bee (Bee Jersey) a one-length loss in the G3 UAE 2000 Guineas over a mile Feb. 10. Ah Jeez, a son of 2018 UAE Derby romper Mendelssohn, earned his way into the field with a 2 1/4-length allowance victory going seven furlongs at Meydan Feb. 24. Worcester (Empire Maker) is a third World Cup night runner for Baffert and most recently rounded out the trifecta in the Feb. 4 GIII Robert B. Lewis S.

Extravagant Kid (Kiss the Kid) won the 2021 G1 Al Quoz Sprint for Brendan Walsh and the conditioner is represented in this year’s running by TDN Rising Star‘ Cazadero (Street Sense).

The last of the North American-based entries is Fipke’s Grade I-winning TDN Rising Star‘ Shirl’s Speight (Speightstown), who runs in the G1 Dubai Turf after finishing ninth behind Golden Shaheen entrant Lemon Pop (Lemon Drop Kid) in the G1 February S. on the dirt at Tokyo Feb. 19.

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