Xtra Heat assigned favorite's role in $2 million Dubai race

Horse Racing

March 27, 2003|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Xtra Heat, the Maryland mare, drew post 1 and was anointed the favorite yesterday in Saturday's $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates.

Four sprinters from the United States will compete in the six-furlong race, and they were tabbed the best in the field of 13 by oddsmaker Coral Eurobet. Xtra Heat was at 15-8, followed by Captain Squire, 7-2; Avanzado, 6-1, and My Cousin Matt, 8-1.

The atmosphere at the post-position draw for the $15.2 million Dubai World Cup program was subdued because of the war in Iraq, whose border is about 500 miles from Dubai's. The lavish opening ceremonies have been canceled.

"It will undoubtedly be a lower-key event than what we are used to due to cancellations of foreign tour groups," said Nancy Petch, chief coordinator of the Dubai World Cup. "Our numbers will be down, but we've done everything to tell people that we are aware of these concerns and security will be closely addressed."

Harlan's Holiday, who will carry U.S. hopes in the $6 million Dubai World Cup, drew post 10 in a field of 11.

Four of the seven races will be shown Saturday for betting at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course: the Dubai Sheema Classic at 10:30 a.m., the Dubai Golden Shaheen at 11:10, the Dubai Duty Free at 11:50 and the Dubai World Cup at 12:40 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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