Dubai World Cup 2020 Scheduled To Run Without Fans As Coronavirus Fears Spread

To the relief of the New Jersey sports betting crowd, the Dubai World Cup remains on for March 28.

The wildly-popular event has a $12 million purse. It is second only to the $20 million Saudi Cup as the world’s richest horse race.

In early March, it was announced that this event would be conducted without spectators because of coronavirus concerns, but that it would still run.

How to watch and bet on the Dubai World Cup

New Jersey bettors can participate through the NJ gambling site, powered by TVG.

The race is approximately 1 1-4 miles. Post time is 12:40 pm EST.

The Dubai Cup is an invitation-only event, drawing the best horses from around the world. It will be broadcast on NBCSN at 12:30.

The event has become one of the cornerstones of the winter thoroughbred racing season. It follows the Saudi Cup from Feb 29, enabling horses to compete in both events. Some will.

The two races, along with the Jan. 25 Pegasus at Gulfstream Park in Florida, gives horse racing a much-needed winter circuit of top events.

The Pegasus reduced its purse from $12 million to $3 million this year, leaving the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup the most lucrative events on the racing circuit – by far.

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Dubai Cup Stacked with Talent

The Dubai Cup has long held an emotional connection to American horse-racing fans. It debuted in 1996 as American super-horse Cigar chased Citation’s record for 16 consecutive high-level victories.

Citation’s mark had been accomplished from 1948-50 and included the Triple Crown.

Cigar won the inaugural Dubai World Cup to extend his streak to 14 (he would later tie Citation’s mark) and introduced Dubai to American racing fans.

His victory in 1996 included a tense, compelling stretch battle with Soul of the Matter, whom he beat by half a length.

The event grew in popularity as purses lured top participants from around the world, pitting American thoroughbreds against counterparts from Europe, and later Asia.

This created an international flair.

There has been an array of top achievers:

  • Silver Charm (1998) was the first Kentucky Derby winner to win the Dubai World Cup
  • Curlin (2008) parlayed victory in the Dubai Cup to status as the highest North American money earner with over $10.5 million accumulated at that time.  His major racing wins include the 2007 Preakness States and Breeders Cup Classics along with the 2008 Dubai World Cup.
  • Animal Kingdom (2013) captured the Kentucky Derby in 2011, triumphed in this race as a five-year-old. Animal Kingdom thus became the first Kentucky Derby winner to obtain a Grade 1 race at the age of five.
  • California Chrome (2016) secured the Dubai World Cup after claiming the Kentucky Derby in 2014. He was the American Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016.
  • Arrogate (2017) prevailed here amid a whirlwind high-profile hot streak that included the Travers Stakes and Breeders Cup Classic in the United States. He was named the American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse.
  • Thunder Snow is the only back-to-back winner of this race, turning the feat in 2018 and 2019. The 2019 race was perhaps the greatest ever, with Thunder Snow rallying from 2 1-2 lengths back to win an exhilarating stretch duel over Gronkowski in a photo finish.

Betting on the Dubai Cup

Full betting options will be available to bettors on the morning of the race. Likely wagers include:

Win: the horse to cross the line first

Place: the horse to finish second or higher

Show: the horse to finish third or higher

Exactas: Picking the top two finishers, in order, usually with a box ticket. A $2 exacta box costs $4.

Trifectas: Selecting the top three finishers. Many betting options are available. They include a $1 trifecta box with three horses for $6 or:

Properly selecting the first-place horse and putting either three additional horses in the second and third slots for $6, or four extra horses in the second and third slots for $12.

The same principle applies when betting your favorite horse to come in second. The additional entries put with him must finish in the first and third slots.

Superfectas: Lucrative, but elusive, picking the top four finishers in the race. A $1 superfecta box with four horses costs $24. The same “keying” options exist as they would with trifectas.

Dubai Cup betting prep

What if you had a hunch on Maximum Security in the Saudi Cup in trifectas and superfectas.?

Keying the eventual race winner atop second-place Midnight Bisou, third finisher Benbatl and fourth-place Tacitus would only have cost $6. But it would have returned a $1 trifecta payout of $241 or a $1 superfecta of $1,297.

The Dubai World Cup field won’t be set in stone until the final week of the event. Connections for horses coming off the first-ever Saudi Cup had to decide whether their horses could return for another high-profile race in four weeks.

Although Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou won’t be in the field, a Saudi Cup rematch is brewing.

Benbatl, Mucho Gusto, and Tacitus, who ran third-through fifth, are entered.

Benbati is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who has won the Dubai World Cup a record nine times, including the last two with Thunder Snow. It has been listed in the 2-1 to 5-2 range in different betting circles. Benbatl and Mucho Gusto finished noses apart in the Saudi Cup.

Mucho Gusto looked headed for victory in that race but faltered in the final 100 meters and finished fourth. He will ship to Dubai and is 4-1 and 8-1 at varied establishments.

Bob Baffert trained the colt and won the Dubai World Cup three times, the most recent with Arrogate in 2017.

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What to watch for at the Dubai Cup

Other likely Dubai World Cup horses from the US include:

  • Sir Winston
  • Quip
  • Parsimony

Sir Winston, the 2019 Belmont Stakes winner, returned from an injury to finish off the board in his turf debut. He followed that up with a perfect trip win over Grade 3 type foes.

The first horse bred in Japan to run in the Kentucky Derby, Master Fencer, placed sixth on the first Saturday in May before rallying for fifth in the Belmont last year.

Dubai Cup betting is good

The Dubai Cup field does not have a prohibitive favorite. The trifecta and superfecta wagering pools will be promising.

Taking a stab at the trifecta and superfecta tickets will be worthwhile.

Betting Hint: The top horses are very good, but they don’t tower above the others.  If you bet the exactas, trifectas, and superfectas, include some longshots.

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.