- Saturday’s $12 Million Dubai World Cup is the second richest race in the world
- Dominant Breeders Cup Winner Life Is Good will try his longest career distance
- Can we build our bankroll Saturday in the United Arab Emirates?
The racing calendar changed dramatically when the Dubai World Cup began in 1996. With an infusion of cash, and a modern track in the desert, top older horses had a destination to shoot for in the spring. Cigar won the first Dubai World Cup, and big names like Silver Charm, Invasor, Curlin, California Chrome, and Arrogate have won it. This year all eyes are on Life Is Good.
Not only has Life Is Good won six of seven career races, he has never trailed in the half dozen wins. After triumphing in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile in November, he took the Pegasus World Cup in January. How will he deal with a-mile-and-a-quarter? He has never raced this far. What about the travel around the globe?
Let’s look closely at the field and ponder where there might be betting value.
2022 Dubai World Cup Odds
|Life Is Good||-115|
|Hot Rod Charlie||+350|
Odds as of March 24
An international field will gather for the Dubai World Cup on Saturday. The race will be run in the evening, after the sun has set and temperatures should be in the 80’s at Meydan Racecourse. The state of the art 12 year old facility is hosting their biggest card of the year.
Particularly with horses from all over the world, knowing horse racing terminology is helpful while you handicap. Or maybe all you need to know is Life Is Good.
Post time is slated for 12:30 pm ET with television coverage on Fox Sports 2.
Reasons to Doubt Life Is Good
There is nothing on the race track that can be said negatively about Life Is Good. His one setback came following a five-month layoff and some believe jockey Mike Smith did a poor job when losing by a neck to Jackie’s Warrior at Saratoga. Only seven rivals bothered to challenge him in the Breeders Cup.
Since the one defeat, Irad Ortiz has ridden Life Is Good to three straight easy victories. If you thought the competition in the Breeders Cup was only fair, what about destroying Classic winner Knicks Go in January?
So why shouldn’t he win again? There are two possible reasons. Does he want another eighth of a mile? There is little reason to think it will be an issue, but it is an unknown. Also, he has only been in the Middle East for a-week-and-a-half. For years getting acclimated and comfortable when racing that far from home has been an issue. Other competitors have been on the ground in Dubai for longer periods of time.
If Not Life Is Good then Who?
Hot Rod Charlie has been in Dubai since January. He crushed a group of overmatched horses at Meydan on February 4 and clearly is comfortable.
On level footing, Hot Rod Charlie does not have the resume of Life Is Good. HRC has four wins in 14 starts and has run against the top horses. He was fourth behind Knicks Go in the Breeders Cup Classic. However, he always throws his best punch and there is no leg-weary travel to be concerned about.
Like Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon is a pro. He has only two wins in 15 races but has hit the board 13 times against A-level competition. He has been in the Middle East for a while, after finishing third in last month’s Saudi Cup, the richest race in the world.
Midnight Bourbon should be just off of Life Is Good and in a great position to pounce if the distance is too far for the favorite.
Bob Baffert’s Country Grammer finished second in the Saudi Cup. He only ran twice in 2021, finishing second in a grade 2 event in California, and winning the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita.
One of the big stories out of the Breeders Cup this year was the success of Japanese horses. Chuwa World ran second in the Dubai World Cup last year and is coming off an easy win as a big favorite in Japan.
Irish bred Real World was a non-factor in the Saudi Cup but won a grade two race in Dubai in January. He had a very successful 2021 summer in Europe.
Real World has five wins on turf, and one on a synthetic course, but just a second and two-thirds in five tries on dirt.
Dubai World Cup Best Bet
There is likely only one superstar in the field but Life is Good is a very short price and has obstacles to overcome. Midnight Bourbon and Hot Rod Charlie are hard-working blue-collar types. Chuwa Wizard has run inconsistently in Japan recently. Lightly raced Country Grammer is second off a layoff and ran big last month. The price is reasonable, particularly with Baffert on his side.
Pick: Country Grammer (+900)