Asmussen bypassed lead-ups in 2008.
Dubai The winner of the 2008 edition of the Dubai World Cup had been decided as early as February when trainer Steve Asmussen flew Curlin straight to the UAE, sidestepping important lead-ups for the DWC such as the Grade I Donn Handicap and the Santa Anita Handicap.
Asmussen wanted his four-year-old to run competitively over the course and distance of the DWC and rest well before the $6 million (Dh11 million) world's richest race as, even though his great form and reputation had preceded him in Dubai, he still had to take the post first in a field that comprised stars like Great Hunter, Asiatic Boy, Well Armed, Premium Tap, Gloria De Campeao and Vermilion.
Ridden by Robbie Albarado, Curlin got out of the gates well tracking the leaders in fourth place. He maintained his pace well and when Albarado asked him to go with 550m left, Curlin flew past both Well Armed and Asiatic Boy to finish seven and three-fourth lengths ahead of the latter, who stuck his neck ahead to finish second.
Following his Dubai victory, the 2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic winner went on to win the Stephen Foster Handicap and Woodward Stakes and retired as the richest North American racehorse with over $10.5 million in earnings.
In the $5 million Dubai Duty Free over 1,777m, Jay Peg, saddled by trainer Herman Brown, let his narrow lead slip before fighting back well to claim a famous victory and relegate Darjina to a close second in the last 50 metres. Meanwhile, the Mike de Kock-trained Sun Classique claimed the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic with a near three-length win over Viva Pataca.
Benny The Bull beat Idiot Proof in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, while Honour Devil ran confidently to win the UAE Derby ahead of Royal Vintage. Diamond Stripes struck gold in the Godolphin Mile, while Mizzna, ridden by Tadgh O'Shea, stopped Madjani from claiming a fourth-straight Dubai Kahayla Classic victory.
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