DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The $10 million Dubai World Cup has a favorite in So You Think, and also a sentimental choice in Game On Dude.
So You Think, bred in New Zealand, is the 5-2 favorite heading into the world's richest horse race on Saturday. But Kentucky-bred Game on Dude is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who suffered a heart attack Monday.
"Need to win World Cup just to break even on medical bills," Baffert posted on his Twitter feed after being released from a Dubai hospital on Thursday.
Baffert hopes to be at Meydan Racecourse for World Cup, which features nine races with purses totaling $27.25 million. Game on Dude, and jockey Chantal Sutherland, will definitely be there, lining up on the far outside in a 14-horse field with a chance to give Baffert his third World Cup win. The trainer won with Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001.
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Game On Dude's co-owner Bernie Schiappa is optimistic, saying, "He's training fantastic. He's ready."
Game On Dude opened the year with a victory in the San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 5, his first start since finishing second to Drosselmeyer in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 5.
So You Think, trained by Aidan O'Brien, will be making his first start since finishing sixth in the BC Classic.
The race could also make a little history.
Sutherland, a sometimes reality star and model, will become the first female rider in the World Cup while Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta attempts to become the first filly to win the race.
Japan will be represented by three horses in a bid to repeat the success of 2011 winner Victoire Pisa — whose emotional victory came only weeks after the country was hit by a devastating tsunami. Smart Falcon may be the best of the trio with a nine-race winning streak. The others are last year's World Cup runner-up Transcend, and long shot Eishin Flash.
Trainer Bill Mott almost lost Royal Delta when she was sold after the Breeders' Cup, but new owner Benjamin Leon Jr. retained him.
"I thought if I ever was to get this filly back ... what would I do with her? This race immediately came to mind as far as the distance and surface she has been on," Mott said.
There are four horses from Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin stables in the marquee race, which it hasn't won since 2006 after recording five victories in the first decade. Prince Bishop and Master of Hounds are both long shots at 20-1. It is expected to do well in the lesser races on the card.
"The Dubai World Cup is the hardest and most difficult to win," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. "In Dubai or the UAE or the Middle East, they want Godolphin to win. Now, they understand horses are coming from Japan, from America, everywhere in the world. It's hard to win."
Champion sire Montjeu dies at 16 in Ireland
FETHARD, Ireland — Montjeu, a champion racehorse in Europe and renowned sire, has died at 16 in Ireland.
Coolmore Stud said Thursday the stallion died of septicemia, a blood disorder caused by infection.
Montjeu won the French and Irish derbies in 1999.