Our horse racing expert is here to offer his best Dubai World Cup predictions and picks for the big race, which takes place on Saturday at 12:30pm EST.
The $12 million Grade 1 Dubai World Cup Invitational will take place at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday. The 1 1/4-mile dirt race drew 11 entrants, including Pegasus World Cup Invitational champion Life Is Good.
The morning lineup ranked Life Is Good as the heavy favorite 4-5, but three other US-based brokers and several international entrants could make an impact. The ninth race on the betting-filled undercard, the Dubai World Cup has a post hour at 12:30 pm ET. FS2 and TVG will broadcast the race.
Selections of the Dubai World Cup Invitational 2022
Winner – (5) Hot Rod Charlie
Place – (3) Country Grammer
Show – (7) Life is good
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Accelerated for a big score
HOT ROD CHARLIE showed his quality during the Triple Crown series last year. He finished a close second to Medina Spirit in third place in the Kentucky Derby, then showed uncommon determination in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, fighting off a fast pace and still giving Essential Quality a tough duel.
Hot Rod Charlie then captured the Pennsylvania Derby and finished fourth behind the Knicks Go in the Breeders Cup Classic.
Aiming for this career, trainer Doug O’Neill sent his colt to Dubai in early winter and groomed him in February. Hot Rod Charlie cruised to a five-length win, setting him up for a big effort on Saturday.
Jockey Flavien Prat should have Hot Rod Charlie within a few paces of early leaders including Life Is Good and jump at the top of the stretch.
O’Neill has coached two Derby winners and is ready to add another big win to his resume.
A major competitor in any country
Bob Baffert has trained two Triple Crown winners and is the most famous jockey in the world.
His reputation took a major hit over the past year after Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for an illegal substance and was officially disqualified this winter.
Baffert has been embroiled in court proceedings ever since, but continues to win plenty of races in states where he can enter his riders. He is not penalized in Dubai and has a good chance of winning the Cup for the fourth time in his career.
COUNTRY GRAMMER raced just twice as a four-year-old last year, losing by a neck in the Grade 2 California and winning the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita last spring.
After a nine-month break, Country Grammer almost won the $20 million Saudi Cup last month. He had the advantage down the stretch, only to be outscored by Emblem Road 80-1.
He was ridden by Flavien Prat in that race but will have European veteran Frankie Dettori in the saddle on Saturday. Dettori has won three Dubai Cups in his historic career.
Like Hot Rod Charlie, Country Grammer must sit a few steps off the beat and be ready for an extended duel.
Life may not be so good in Dubai
LIFE IS GOOD is a legitimate favorite, but the pricing for the 4-5 AM line seems a bit off. He’ll go off the rail and if he doesn’t do it cleanly, this speed burner will be out of his element. It is also the longest distance he has ever run.
Life Is Good won the Pegasus when the Knicks Go jockey allowed Irad Ortiz Jr. to establish a solid but comfortable rhythm without any early pressure.
There are other speedhorses in this field and it’s quite conceivable that Life Is Good, who has been trained by Todd Pletcher since last summer after being in the Baffert stable, will have company up front.
Regardless, Life Is Good, who also won the Breeders Cup Mile, will have to prove he can handle the 1 1/4-mile distance.
From a speed figure point of view, Life Is Good does not have a significant advantage over other US carriers. It seems like a good opportunity to take a position against a heavy favourite.
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