DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Monterosso won the $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, to give Dubai’s ruler an emotional victory after one of his horses was euthanized following a fall in an earlier race.
The outcome provided a big boost for Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s stables, which had not won this showcase since 2006.
“I feel over the moon,” Sheik Mohamed told The Associated Press. “We haven’t won this race for many years. It was a pleasant surprise really. We had as good of a chance as anyone but we are at home and training here. I’m very happy we won after so many years.”
The normally restrained Sheik Mohammed pumped his fist, danced and hugged those next to him. The crowd of Emiratis cheered and waved UAE flags.
“This is like football. You don’t want someone from outside to beat you. It’s the same feeling,” Monterosso trainer Mahmoud al-Zarooni said. “I’m very happy I won in my country. I’m happy for all the UAE people who were waiting five years for Godolphin to win the World Cup.”
Monterosso, who finished third last year, was ridden by Mickael Barzalona and timed for the 1¼ miles in 2:02.67. The 5-year-old British horse went off at 20-1 odds and beat Capponi by three lengths to give Godolphin Stables a 1-2 finish. Planteur, ridden by three-time British champion jockey Ryan Moore, was another half-length behind.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, recovering after a heart attack in Dubai on Monday, entered Game On Dude and was able to put the 12th-place finish in perspective. His other horse, The Factor, finished sixth in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen.
“Tough day but so happy to be outdoors again enjoying the sport I love,” Baffert tweeted.
Game On Dude’s jockey was Chantal Sutherland, the first woman to ride in this race. She said her horse struggled in the gate, and she blamed the all-weather surface for the poor performance.
“He just got a little frazzled after not breaking so great. Then he relaxed,” she said. “On the backside he just wanted to get into his rhythm. So I did what I always do, and let him try to get there and I waited. The track is very tiring.”
Capponi grabbed the lead coming into the stretch, but Monterosso bolted past. three lengths. Barzalona stood in his saddle and raised his arm long before he crossed the finish line.
“I couldn’t believe it when no one was coming after me,” Barzalona said. “This is a dream. I have no words to describe what I feel right now.”
So You Think, the favorite, and Transcend, last year’s runner-up, got off to a strong start. The Bill Mott-trained filly Royal Delta joined the leaders only to fade as did Game On Dude.
So You Think, an Irish horse, finished fourth while Royal Delta was ninth. So You Think’s jockey Joseph O’Brien also felt the track was too slow for his horse.
“I had the ideal position behind the leader, but he just didn’t quicken on that surface,” he said. “It was too dead for him.”