The $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday, March 26, has attracted a field of 11 topped by Grade 1-winning Kentucky-breds Life Is Good, Hot Rod Charlie, and Country Grammer.
Life is Good, owned by WinStar Farm and China Horse Club and trained by Todd Pletcher, has won three straight races—the Kelso H. (G2), the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and most recently the Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. (G1) Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park, a race he won by 3 ¼ lengths and defeated Horse of the Year Knicks Go. The son of Into Mischief was bred by Gary and Mary West and was a $525,000 graduate of the 2019 Keeneland September Sale.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will be back aboard Life Is Good, who has amassed earnings of $2,814,200. His only defeat in seven lifetime starts came in last year’s Allen Jerkens Memorial S. (G1) at Saratoga where he was beaten just a neck by Jackie’s Warrior after a stirring stretch duel. Life Is Good drew the rail in the 1 1/4-mile test.
Hot Rod Charlie, who races for Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, Strauss, and Gainesway and conditioned by Doug O’Neill, was a dominating 5 ¼-length winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G2) at Meydan on Feb. 4. The 4-year-old son of Oxbow captured last year’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and has banked $2,721,200. He will be ridden by his regular pilot, Flavien Prat.
Country Grammer, campaigned by Zedan Racing Stables and WinStar Farm, just missed to fellow Kentucky-bred Emblem Road in last month’s Saudi Cup (G1). The son of Tonalist has earned $3,877,320 and is trained by Bob Baffert. Scott and Debbie Pierce bred the 5-year-old horse in Kentucky out of the Forestry mare Arabian Song. Winner of last year’s Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), Country Grammer will be ridden by Lanfranco Dettori after being piloted by Prat in his last start, and he will begin from post position No. 5.
Rounding out the Kentucky-bred contingent are Magny Cours for trainer Andre Fabre and MIdnight Bourbon for trainer Steve Asmussen. Magny Cours, a Godolphin homebred, is a 7-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy Five Hundred. Winner of the Bahrain International Trophy (G3) in Bahrain last November, the seven-time winner is an earner of $1,680,258. William Buick will be aboard the bay gelding who will break from post position No. 8.
Midnight Bourbon, a 4-year-old son of Tiznow, races for Winchell Thoroughbreds and was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. Third most recently in the Saudi Cup (G1), he hit the board in a host of Grade 1 races in 2021, finishing third in the Clark S. (G1), second in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), second in the Travers S. (G1), and runner-up in the Preakness S. (G1). His lone stakes victory as a 3-year-old came in the Lecomte S. (G3) at Fair Grounds. He will break from post position No. 9 in the World Cup and will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.