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We want to be No 1': Sheikh Mohammed vows to make Dubai World Cup world's most valuable race once more

DUBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has pledged to make the Dubai World Cup the world's most valuable race once more.

The World Cup, won in scintillating fashion by Arrogate on Saturday, was eclipsed in prize money in January by the Pegasus World Cup, a race the roan colt also won.

That race is worth US$12 million (Dh44m) with prize-money originating from the entry fees of the 12 horses who participate in the race at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

The World Cup, which was increased from $6m to $10m to coincide with the opening of Meydan Racecourse in 2010, has been at the forefront of the prize-money stakes going back to when Cigar won the inaugural $4m race in 1996.

When asked whether he would increase the purse of the World Cup to supersede the Pegasus equivalent Sheikh Mohammed replied: "Definitely we will do that. The future is open. We have a vision and we dream for that. We will put plans in place to improve this race - the Dubai World Cup."

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More on the Dubai World Cup

■ Main event: Arrogate leaves 13 horses in his dust

■ Analysis: Arrogate 'the best since Secretariat'

■ Results: Race-by-race winners and analysis

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In an interview with CNN, Sheikh Mohammed added: "I always want to be one step ahead. I am always optimistic. We want to be No 1 and I am meeting with my people to be No 1."

Arrogate's victory in the Dubai World Cup propelled him to become the world's highest-earning horse. There is some debate about this, however, because due to which currency you decide to base it on, and historic foreign exchange rates, there is actually no definitive list.

For instance, according to the Japanese Racing Association the 2000 Japan Cup and Arima Kinen winner TM Opera O amassed Y1,835,189,000 (Dh60,535,570), which is the equivalent to US$16,482,302 at Sunday's exchange rates. TM Opera O was racing at a time when the Japanese yen was weak, and the picture is further clouded by Orfevre, who finished second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France in 2012 and 2013. Orfevre picked up Y1,576,213,000, equivalent to US$14,156,372.65 but because of his Arc runs two of his large paydays were in euros.

Arrogate has exclusively been rewarded in American dollars throughout his eight-race career - the Dubai Racing Club pays prize-money throughout the World Cup Carnival in the American currency - and he has now accumulated $17,084,600.

So for today Arrogate sits on top of the world, and the memory of his performance will carry trainer Bob Baffert, who was scheduled to fly out of Dubai at 9am on Sunday, across the Atlantic on his 16-hour flight back to Los Angeles.

"What we saw was him stamping his legacy," he said. "How incredible is this horse.

"That is a long flight home - I won't need my laptop for it!

"If anybody wasn't super impressed by that, they just don't like horse racing."

Arrogate will return to America in the next few days and will transit through Amsterdam, the route he came to Dubai, and then return to LAX, where he will be undergo quarantine.

He is expected to undergo a long recuperation period over the summer. Where he races next is still up in the air but the season at Del Mar racecourse, where Arrogate will bid to defend his Breeders' Cup crown in November, does not commence until July 19.

The Pacific Classic, the Californian seaside track's signature race which Baffert has won four times, is on August 19.

Wherever Arrogate is seen next, his run in Dubai will stay with everybody who was either at Meydan or was watching in the estimated millions of homes in the 150 territories that had access to the race.

"When Zenyatta won the Breeders' Cup, I had a horse in the race that got beat and I was so excited I was there to witness it and be part of that. Everybody who was at Meydan will be thinking, 'Wow, I have seen greatness'," Baffert said.

"It was like watching Usain Bolt at the Olympics; we expect him to do something like that. To be part of racing and part of a horse like this, that was pretty incredible."

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