Print and Go Back HorseRacing [Print without images]

Thursday, March 26, 1998
Updated: March 27, 12:18 PM ET
The Dubai World Cup field

By Ed McNamara
Special to ESPN SportsZone

The Dubai World Cup will be shown live at numerous simulcasting outlets in North America, with post time at 11:30 a.m. EST. ESPN will show the race on tape, along with live coverage of the Jim Beam Stakes, from 5-6 p.m. Saturday.

Eddie Mac at the Track's horse-by-horse analysis of the Dubai World Cup, from the rail out:

MALEK (5-1)
Jockey: Alex Solis
Trainer: Richard Mandella
Weight: 126
South American won the Santa Anita Handicap by default when Gentlemen bled and stopped. His 5-1 odds are an underlay, and he picks up 11 pounds and faces world-class horses on a strange track. Has speed and should be part of the pace. Mandella ran second with Soul of the Matter and Siphon in the first two World Cups but is unlikely to do it again.


Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor
Weight: 126
Hasn't raced since finishing up the track in the Arc de Triomphe in October, and he's never run on a sand track. Training well and gets Dettori, Europe's leading rider, and competed well in top company on the turf in Europe last year. Seems suited to 1 1/4 miles and has some speed. Not a likely winner, but not the worst stab at double-digit odds.


LUSO (30-1)
Jockey: Pat Eddery
Trainer: Clive Brittain
Weight: 126
Veteran world traveler from England was up the track in this race last year in his main-track debut. Has class and 18 exacta finishes in 27 career starts, and his preparation has gone well. "He did some nice work the other day," Brittain said, "and it's just a question of keeping him ticking along. He had his prep run in Hong Kong in December.'' He won that race on grass for Brittain, an accomplished international raider, but this one looks much tougher.


Jockey: Jerry Bailey
Trainer: James Bond
Weight: 126
Set a hot pace that took its toll on him late against Skip Away in the Gulfstream Park Handicap a month ago, after a dismal 4-year-old debut in the Donn Handicap. Has speed and earned his biggest win under the lights at The Meadowlands last year, but that was the race of Behrens' life and Touch Gold had a bad foot. Looks like a pace casualty who's in over his head.


Jockey: Mikio Matsunaga
Trainer: Kentaro Nakao
Weight: 126
Seven-year-old representative from Japan has been training dismally in Dubai and doesn't appear to have any chance. Has earned more than $4 million, but don't be fooled, because sometimes maiden races in Japan have total purses of more than $300,000. A no-hoper.


SWAIN (15-1)
Jockey: Mick Kinane
Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor
Weight: 126
Soft-turf lover specializes in marathons, and his trainer thinks 1 1/4 miles may not be far enough for him to show his best form. His career high point came last summer at Ascot in England when he upset superstars Pilsudski, Helissio and Singspiel (last year's World Cup champ) in a swamp. Never has raced on dirt either, but reportedly is training well. Might hit the board with a non-threatening late move, but can't see him winning.


OXALAGU (30-1)
Jockey: Andrasch Starke
Trainer: Andreas Schutz
Weight: 126
Schutz liked the way this guy was working but said Thursday he's doubtful to make the race because of a bruised foot. German-bred makes his main-track debut with a solid record compiled mainly in his homeland. Ran seventh to Luso in Hong Kong, and on grass is not considered a top-flight animal in Europe. Don't think this is his spot.


BORGIA (10-1)
Jockey: Kieren Fallon
Trainer: Andreas Schultz
Weight: 126
Might have won the Breeders' Cup Turf at Hollywood Park with a better trip, and this 4-year-old German-bred filly is a big-time talent. I spoke with Schutz in California before the Breeders' Cup, and he was cautiously optimistic then. He's concerned about her willingness to take sand in her face, which she'll have to endure because she lacks early speed. He's also not sure if 10 furlongs will be long enough for her, but she won at 1 3/16 miles on grass last year. If she takes to the main track, she has an excellent chance to finish in the money.


Jockey: Olivier Peslier
Trainer: Andre Fabre
Weight: 126
Lightly raced 4-year-old has tactical speed and may have a conditioning edge after winning his '98 debut a few weeks ago in a bog in Paris. Fabre is the most feared trainer in the world in big races, and my friend Emmanuel Roussel, a French racing writer, considers Peslier in the same class as Dettori. Loup Sauvage reportedly has looked tremendous in his prep work at Nad Al Sheba, and, like Silver Charm, has never run a bad one,. The most likely upsetter.


Jockey: Gary Stevens
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Weight: 126
I've been a fan of Silver Charm ever since he fell short by inches in an incredibly game effort in the Santa Anita Derby, and I picked and bet him all through the Triple Crown. I even petted him on the forehead as he stood in his stall at Churchill Downs the morning after the Derby. Can't bet him at these odds, though. If my pick doesn't win, I hope Silver Charm does. The thoroughbred game needs stars, and right now he's the biggest in North America.


The picks: 1. Loup Sauvage; 2. Silver Charm; 3. Borgia.