The cards fell wildly for the favored horses at the draw for the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup on Wednesday (March 22). The race itself will be run on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
There were audible gasps early in the ceremony as defending winner Country Grammer drew gate 14 of 15, leaving Frankie Dettori with a tactical headache on what will be his final start in the race.
"I was hoping for inside draw," trainer Bob Baffert said. "Frankie knows him well.”
Country Grammer is the early favorite overseas, listed Wednesday at 7-2, according to best U.K. odds shown at Racing Post.
Saudi Cup (G1) hero Panthalassa will break from the widest post of all in 15, with the added intrigue that Yoshito Yahagi's representative is a confirmed frontrunner.
“Even if he misses the jump, he still has to go forward, so it’s really no concern," Yahagi said "We have only one tactic with him so it doesn’t change. He won the Dubai Turf last year so we know he loves it here. All is good.”
And the drama didn't end there as Algiers, winner of the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G2), drew post 13.
Co-trainer Simon Crisford said, “He has drawn wide in both prep runs and so it’s no real concern.”
Algiers is the second favorite overseas, at 4-1, and Panthalassa is offered at 10-1.
A trio of fancied Japanese-trained runners are housed inside, with Jun Light Bolt in post 3, Vela Azul in 5 and Ushba Tesoro in 8.
Here are reactions to the draw from connections of other horses, with a reminder that post position numbers are not the same as program numbers.
Bendoog, drawn 7. Mohammed Khaleel Ahmed, owner of Bendoog, said, “Of course it’s a dream come true and I think number seven is a pretty good number. It’s a fantastic race and every horse deserves their place so it should be a good race and may the best horse win.
Cafe Pharoah, drawn 10. Adam Harrigan, representing trainer Noriyuki Hori, said, “The horse was in Saudi Arabia and travelled over well, so we are all set. I’ll let connections speak with Joao (Moreira), figure out what’s drawn around us and we will come up with a plan.”
Crown Pride, drawn 12. Masafumi Matsuda, assistant trainer to Koichi Shintani, said, “We’re not upset at all. After the race we will be hopeful that stall number 12 will be the lucky one for us. We will go over the tactics with the jockey, but Crown Pride absolutely loves Dubai so we hope it will be lucky for us.”
Emblem Road, drawn 2. Saad Abdulwahed, assistant trainer to Ahmad Abdulwahed, said, “I was hoping for number seven, but my lucky number for today is this number.”
Geoglyph, drawn 9. Trainer Tetsuya Kimura said, “It’s my lucky number so I’m happy with that.”
Jun Light Bolt, drawn 3. Yasuo Tomomichi, trainer of Jun Light Bolt, said, “He has been training very well in Dubai. We will not run like we did in Saudi, he wants to come off a fast pace.”
Remorse, drawn 1. Bhupat Seemar, trainer of Remorse, said, “It’s the shortest way round so it’s fine. We had the pick of stall one or six but either was good."
Salute The Soldier, drawn 4. Trainer Fawzi Nass said, “I might look happy but I’ll be happier once the race is over! He is well named, he is an absolute soldier. If we’ve got any tactics from this gate, I won’t be telling you."
Super Corinto, drawn 11. Trainer Amador Sanchez said, “Not the best. But it's OK."