Just seven days out from one of the biggest race days on the planet – the Dubai World Cup – and the main event is shaping up as two-horse race between American champions West Coast and Forever Unbridled.
In a field that also boasts names like North America, Talismanic and Thunder Snow, it would seem unwise to reduce the great race to a head-to-head, but such has been the form of the two multiple Grade 1-winning runners it’s easy to understand why they have been installed as clear favourites.
And both lived up to the favourites’ tag with impressive workouts in the last few days.
West Coast, the champion three-year-old of 2017, owned by Gary and Mary West worked about-1200m in 1:11.80, the fastest of 17 breezes at the distance at Santa Anita Park in greater Los Angeles.
The son of 2000 champion 2-year-old filly and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Caressing is trained by three-time Dubai World Cup winner Bob Baffert.
Working with Cat Burglar, West Coast easily caught his stablemate at the top of the stretch and cleared him in the lane to stride out impressively.
Just a few days earlier in New Orleans Forever Unbridled was just as impressive.
Owned by Charles Fipke and trained by Dallas Stewart, the six-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Lemons Forever blitzed about-1000m in 59.60 seconds at Fair Grounds.
A four-time G1 winner, Forever Unbridled is America’s reigning champion dirt mare after a perfect three-for-three 2017 campaign.
But she has not raced since her win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Del Mar.
“She went in 59 3/5 (seconds) and her last quarter (mile) in 23 seconds after getting her three furlongs in 37 3/5,” Stewart said. “She picked it up nicely the last quarter.
“She’s dedicated to winning all the time: every race, every work, every gallop. We’re very happy to be invited to Dubai and hopefully we can meet the challenge.
“After last year and her season, we’re confident in her and excited for the Dubai World Cup.
“She’s won eight races over eight different racetracks. She loves it wherever she goes and she gives it her all.
Dubai World Cup likely runners: West Coast, Forever Unbridled, Talismanic, Gunnevera, North America, Pavel, Mubtaahij, Thunder Snow, Awardee, Furia Cruzada
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