California Chrome upset by Prince Bishop in Dubai World Cup

The biggest surprise of the Dubai World Cup night came in the 20th running of the $10-million signature race when William Buick utilized a perfetly timed ride to guide Prince Bishop to an upset the 2015 Dubai World Cup at Meydan Race Course.

While much had been made of U.S. Horse of the Year California Chrome and Grade 1 winner Lea prior to the World Cup, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum’s Prince Bishop quietly ran at the Winter Carnival at Meydan, finishing second in two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge Series in local prep races for the Dubai World Cup.

In the World Cup, Prince Bishop dropped back to nearly last right out of the gate trying to avoid the kickback from the track. Jockey William Buick had to give Prince Bishop a reminder to stay running but the horse had to make up more than 15 lengths to win the race. Prince Bishop responded when called upon by Buick, who gathered him up the outside to run with the leaders.

On the far turn, Buick was able to relax with Prince Bishop running on a loose rein next to California Chrome. One more nudge from Buick had a very happy Prince Bishop shooting to the lead on his way to a 2¾-ength victory.

“He’s run the same way the last two [Al Maktoum Challenges] before this World Cup, so I sort of expected it,” Buick said. “He traveled very well and picked up in the straight. He’s improved on his last two runs; he’s a tough horse and he’s a huge horse. He gave me his all today, and what I’m feeling right now is unbelievable. I’m dreaming. I’m just waiting to wake up.”

Prince Bishop is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who had won six previous editions of this race, most recently with African Story ia year ago. African Story finished sixth in this year’s edition of Dubai World Cup.

The Americans in the race did not disgrace themselves in the race. Last year’s Horse of the Year California Chrome finished second with 2014 Donn Handicap winner Lea third.

Former U.S.-based horse Candy Boy rounded out the top four in his first race back since last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“I was hoping I could get over a little bit quicker but I couldn’t and he lost a lot of ground on both turns, but he still ran game,” said Art Sherman, California Chrome’s trainer. “I’m not taking anything away from anybody, he ran his eyeballs out. He tried every inch of the way, there’s nothing wrong with finishing second in this kind of a race.”

The 1¼-mile (2,000-meter) race was run in a time of 2:03.24. Winning the Dubai World Cup is in Prince Bishop’s blood as his grandsire, Dubai illennium, won the 2000 edition of the race.

Prince Bishop’s sire, Dubawi, showed that he can sire good dirt horses as well as the turf horses he’s traditionally known for, siring two winners of dirt races on tonight’s card.

$6-million Dubai Sheema Classic

In arguably the toughest race on the Dubai World Cup card, the Dubai Sheema Classic went to the girls when 4-year-old filly Dolniya gave Christophe Soumillon his second win of the night.

Dolniya was in second and third throughout the race with the other female in the race, Just the Judge, leading the way. Soumillion sat chilly on the rail as the field entered the far turn and was able to switch to the outside of Just the Judge when a hole appeared next to that mare in the stretch. Dolniya showed an outstanding turn of foot to pull away from the field.Flintshire, who was second against Dolniya last out, finished second again with One and Only third and Designs on Rome fourth.

“I was really surprised to be in front so quick [after the gate opened] so finally I was happy to find a leader and I was cruising behind him all the way,” Soumillion said. “I was happy to see the horse on his outside stopping very early to get to wait a bit more but when I arrived at the screen [in the infield], I saw Flintshire coming quite quick on my outside. When I gave her a few smacks, she reacted well so I’m very happy with what she did today.”

Dolniya ran the race in a time of 2:28.29, beating Flintshire by 2¼ lengths with One and Only two lengths behind Flintshire.

U.S. champion Main Sequence didn’t show his normal kick in the stretch and finished seventh by a head to Just the Judge.

$2-million UAE Derby

The first 100-point race of the Kentucky Derby trail, the United Arab Emirates Derby started this part of the trail off with a bang when Mubtaahij made winning the race look like a cakewalk.

The colt, who has been part of Kentucky Derby talks for months, raced on the rail close behind the horses setting the pace looked like he was going easily. Jockey Christophe Soumillon took the colt to the outside to take the lead and in the stretch, the question changed from wondering if Mubtaahij could win the race to how many lengths he would win by. Mubtaahij covered the 1 3/16-mile (1,900-meter) race in a time of 1:58.35. Maftool was second with Golden Barows finishing third and Motaa finishing fourth with all of the top four earning points to the Kentucky Derby.


Before the UAE Derby, trainer Mike de Kock tried to keep his expectations down saying Mubtaahij had to finish in the top two before the connections would even think about running in the Kentucky Derby, but after the race he confirmed that Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May is in the cards.

“This horse has given us a chance to get to Kentucky now, to the Derby there, and that would be living the dream. And I think that’s why this is really special,” said de Kock.

The lone American in the field, My Johnny Be Good finished ninth.

$2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen

The United States finally got a win on the card in the sixth race of the night at Meydan whenSecret Circle took home the win in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Secret Circle started out right behind the pacemakers after they left the starting gate but soon after matched pace with them, racing in third on the outside. With a little more than a furlong left in the six-furlong (1,200-meter) race, Secret Circle took the lead but couldn’t take a breather with Super Jockey and jockey Ryan Moore attempting to run him down.

Those rooting for Secret Circle were hoping that the finish line would come soon with Super Jockey closing in on the U.S.-based the leader. Their wish came true.

Secret Circle finished a half-length in front of Super Jockey with Rich Tapestry third. The six furlongs were run in a time of 1:10.65.

“[Preparations for the race] could not have gone any better. He loved every minute of it, ate everything and was as happy as could be so it was just the perfect trip for us,” said Dana Barnes, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert’s assistant trainer.

The other two U.S.-based runners in the race, Big Macher and Salutos Amigos, finished fifth and eighth, respectively.

$6-million Dubai Turf

Legendary jockey and trainer Freddie Head struck again in a big race when his trainee Solow won the Dubai Turf by a dominant margin.

Running in the silks of U.S. champion and global star Goldikova, Solow showed an outstanding turn of foot in the about 1 1/8-mile (1,800-meter) race in the stretch after relaxing around fifth during the early running.

Jockey Maxime Guyon had a lot of horse left when asking Solow to make his move about two furlongs out, and from there he easily pulled away to take home the winner’s share of the $6-million purse by 4 ¼ lengths.

Race favorite The Grey Gatsby finished second with the lone U.S.-based runner Mshawish finishing third. Euro Charline, who won the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington last summer and was based with Todd Pletcher through the fall before transferring back to Marco Botti, rounded out the top four.

Solow ran the race in a time of 1:47.76 for Gerard and Alain Wertheimer, the connections who also raced Goldikova.

$1-million Al Quoz Sprint

The Al Quoz Sprint turned into a fairytale on Saturday when Sole Power, who had tried four different times on Dubai World Cup night to win a race on the card, finally got that victory in the Al Quoz Sprint.

With Richard Hughes aboard, who is retiring at the end of the year, Sole Power was third from last when they broke out of the starting gate per his usual tactics. But a little past the halfway mark, Hughes took Sole Power to the outside so he would have a clear run and it paid off with the 8-year-old gelding winning by a half-length in a time of :56.25 for the five furlongs (1,000 meters).

The U.S. finally got a horse on the board in the race when the Wesley Ward-trained Green Mask finished third with Hong Kong-trained Peniaphobia second.

Sole Power was the only Irish runner of the night, however there weren’t many better representatives of the country as Sole Power is the reigning Irish Horse of the Year.

$1 million Goldolphin Mile

The first Thoroughbred race of the day in Dubai brought excitement when Tamarkuz barely nosed out Sloane Avenue for the victory in the Godolphin Mile.

A serious horse at Meydan’s carnival all winter, winning three of his four starts, Tamarkuz was up to his old tricks when breaking slowly from the gate but that didn’t seem to harm him when he came to the finish line. Racing a few lengths behind the leader for most of the race, Tamarkuz was part of a pack that had to chase down Frankyfourfingers who had led for the whole race. After passing Frankyfourfingers together, Tamarkuz had a slight advantage over Sloane Avenue. Even with Sloane Avenue and Frankie Dettori gaining rapidly, Paul Hanagan kept Tamarkuz’s nose in front at the most important stage, the finish line.

The race run at about one mile (1,600 meters) was run in a time of 1:36.81 (there is no run-up in Dubai) with Tamarkuz going off as the 4-to-5 favorite and Sloane Avenue going off at 8-to-1 in the American betting pool. This was Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum’s second win on the card as he also won the Arabian race to start off the night.

While neither of the top two horses was American based, both have American connections with both bred in Kentucky. Tamarkuz was bred by John D. Gunther and is by Speightstown and out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Without You Babe while Sloane Avenue is by Candy Ride and out of the A.P. Indy mare Apt.

Sloane Avenue was bred by Adele B. Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm. None of the three American based horses running in the race finished in the top five. Prayer For Relief was the best of those runners with an eighth-place finish.

$1 million Dubai Gold Cup

Running two miles (3,200 meters) on the Dubai turf didn’t seem to be much work for Brown Panther, who easily won the marathon Dubai Gold Cup.

Winning the Irish St. Leger two starts back, Brown Panther raided America last fall but had to scratch from his Woodbine race after getting loose prerace. He subsequently finished 11th in the 1½-mile Breeders’ Cup Turf.

On Saturday, Brown Panther raced in second behind Mushreq, got a nearly perfect trip to take the lead in the stretch and pulled away to win by 3¼ lengths.

Star Empire finished second, Ahzeemah was third and Havana Beat rounded out the top four.




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