California Chrome poised for World Cup glory

By Martin Dokoupil DUBAI (Reuters) - California Chrome’s owners believe they have a perfect draw in the outside nine gate to land the 20th running of the $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world's richest race on Saturday. “I love it. Nine is a perfect position for our horse,” trainer Art Sherman said of the favorite, the 2014 American Horse of the Year after landing Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes victories. “I’ve got all the speed horses to the inside of me and he loves to run from the outside. Connections have been happy so far how the four-year-old has performed in early morning workouts at the Meydan’s new dirt track since a long 25-hour flight to the United Arab Emirates. “He jogged great, stood in the gate good so we’re ready. Tomorrow we’ll gallop and take him to the paddock,” Alan Sherman, assistant to his father, told Reuters after Chrome’s light track work on Thursday. “He has not missed an oat, he’s eaten fantastic so we just hope we’ll get a good trip and put on a good show,” he said. After the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, California Chrome finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes, failing in his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. However, the rags to riches story of the horse, who cost his owners a mere $10,000, captured the imagination of the nation and drew swathes of followers. “He lost the Triple Crown and the Breeder’s Cup Classic by less than two lengths. That’s a pretty amazing test for any horse. Just to be good enough to be invited over here that’s the icing on the cake,” co-owner Steve Coburn said. In the 10-furlong race in Dubai, California Chrome will face strong challengers that include another American runner Lea, Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia and last year’s World Cup champion African Story from the Godolphin stable. Lea is the second favorite and trainer Bill Mott believes that his horse has potential to upset California Chrome despite missing most of the 2014 season due to a virus. “I feel very good about him. California Chrome is probably a legitimate favorite but we feel like we should be a good challenger,” said Mott, who won the inaugural Dubai World Cup running with Cigar in 1996. (editing by Justin Palmer)