Arrogate, officially recognized as the world's best racehorse of 2016, and Songbird, a two-time champion filly, have been nominated for the March 25 Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline along with 166 other global racing stars.
Arrogate, a Bob Baffert-trained 4-year-old, was the runaway winner of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park after closing 2016 by beating 2016 Dubai World Cup winner California Chrome in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Days before the Pegasus, Arrogate was crowned Longines World's Best Racehorse at a London ceremony, and after a stellar Pegasus performance Arrogate's connections said they would consider a Dubai World Cup start.
Songbird, the two-time champion filly trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, also carries a nomination to the Dubai World Cup. A seven-time Grade 1 winner, she was beaten a nose by champion Beholder in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff in November. Songbird's connections have not specifically mentioned targeting the Dubai World Cup.
Also nominated to the $10 million Dubai World Cup at the free nominations stage is the Art Sherman-trained Dortmund, winner of the 2015 Santa Anita Derby and runner-up to California Chrome in last year’s San Diego Handicap when trained by Baffert.
In addition to Arrogate, Baffert has also nominated Hoppertunity, the third-place runner in the 2016 Dubai World Cup and winner of last year's Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont Park. If either of his nominations run in the race, Baffert will be bidding for a third Dubai World Cup having tasted victory in 1998 with Silver Charm and 2001 with Captain Steve.
The 2016 Dubai World Cup runner-up, Mubtaahij, now back in the care of South African trainer Mike de Kock, has again been nominated for the big race. The highly consistent 2015 UAE Derby winner returned to the United States for a repeat campaign during the summer, finishing second by a head in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes to Shaman Ghost.
Nominated to the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World field is the Mark Casse-trained mare Tepin. The U.S.-based six-time Grade 1 winner traveled to Royal Ascot last summer to land the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. After a minor bout with colic set her back in her training for her 2017 debut, the Dubai Turf is considered a longshot but her connections have not yet ruled it out.
The 1200m (about six furlongs) dirt sprint, the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News, has seen the Chad Summers-trained Mind Your Biscuits, winner of the Malibu Stakes and Baffert's Drefong, the 2016 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner and reigning Eclipse Award champion male sprinter nominated.
Dubai Racing Club received 1,549 nominations for 779 horses from 22 countries for the 2017 Dubai World Cup day. The first supplementary stage for all races on Dubai World Cup day will close on Feb. 8, the second supplement on March 6 and declarations and the final, third supplementary stage for Dubai World Cup day 2017 take place March 20, five days before the event is staged at Meydan Racecourse.
"With 22 countries represented among the 2017 Dubai World Cup nominations we once again look forward to hosting a truly global day of racing March 25," said Malih Al Basti, chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee. "The Dubai World Cup is not only the world's richest day of racing but also a day when racing communities from all corners of the globe come together before the eyes of the world on Meydan Racecourse's purpose-built stage in the spirit of competition.”