The inaugural Dubai World Cup was held in 1996 at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates. Worth $5 million, the race was won by the U.S. horse Cigar, contributing to his retirement later that year as the leading money earner among U.S. Thoroughbreds. In a four-year career, he raced 33 times and won $9,999,815.
Twenty-two years later, another U.S. horse won the Dubai World Cup en route to breaking Cigar’s earnings record. By 1998, the race’s value had doubled, to $10 million; in a 16-race career that spanned two years, Curlin won $10,501,800.
This year, three U.S.-based horses shipped to Dubai to try to become the first North Americans to win the World Cup since Curlin. Though none will threaten Curlin’s earnings record even with a victory, serious bragging rights are on the line, given that no U.S. horse has won the race since Well Armed in 2009.
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