DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Medaglia d'Oro has been a runner-up in America's richest race the past two years. Today, the 5-year-old horse will try to win the world's richest race -- the $6 million Dubai World Cup.
Medaglia d'Oro finished second to Pleasantly Perfect in last year's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic and second to Volponi in the 2002 edition of the race with the largest purse in America.
In the World Cup, Medaglia d'Oro will get a chance to avenge the loss to Pleasantly Perfect in the 2,000-meter (9.94 furlongs) race at the Nad al Sheba racetrack.
Medaglia d'Oro and Pleasantly Perfect are the favorites in the 12-horse field, which also features two other American horses -- Domestic Dispute and Fleetstreet Dancer -- and Grand Hombre, the hometown favorite owned by Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin Racing.
Betting is illegal in Dubai, but English bookmakers have established Medaglia d'Oro as the 7-4 favorite based on his strong gallops over the dirt track this week. Pleasantly Perfect is 2-1.
Godolphin horses have won four of the last five World Cups, but trainer Saeed bin Suroor says Grand Hombre will need something "extraordinary" to beat the Americans. "He's a good horse, but we still don't know how he compares to horses like Medaglia d'Oro and Pleasantly Perfect," bin Suroor said. "He also might lack the experience, but he won't be lacking in effort. He'll run his heart out."
Gary Stevens, who will be aboard Domestic Dispute, says don't count out his horse -- or South Africa-based Victory Moon.