DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Animal Kingdom pulled away down the straight to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday for the first American victory in the world’s richest horse race since 2009.
The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner took the lead from Royal Delta with 500 meters left and held off a fast-charging Red Cadeaux to win by two lengths. Planteur was third.
“He’s a tremendous horse,” jockey Joel Rosario said. “I let him do his thing, whatever he wanted to do.”
The victory may be the last hurrah for a horse that has struggled with injuries over the years – including one last year that prevented him from racing in the Dubai World Cup.
Animal Kingdom, trained by Graham Motion, has been sold to Australian company Arrowfield for breeding. The company chairman John Messara said they would discuss over the next few days whether the horse will race one more time – possibly at the Royal Ascot in Britain.
The win was one of the few highlights for the Americans at the nine-race, $27.2 million card. Breeders Turf winner Little Mike finished 11th in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free and Private Zone, owned by a syndicate that includes paralyzed jockey Rene Douglas, finished ninth in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen.
FLORIDA DERBY: In Hallandale, Beach, Fla., Orb caught Itsmyluckyday inside the eighth pole and drew clear to win by 2¾ lengths at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by John Velazquez, Orb ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.87 and paid $7.80, $3.80 and $3.40 for his fourth consecutive victory. Orb also won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream in February.
Orb entered the race already owning enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. By finishing second, Itsmyluckyday earned 40 points in the points system to also qualify.
Shanghai Bobby finished fifth. Undefeated as a 2-year-old with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Shanghai Bobby probably needed to finish at least third to clinch a spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Itsmyluckyday returned $3 and $2.60, and Merit Man paid $8.60 to show.