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Into Mischief’s Laurel River wins Dubai World Cup (G1) by record margin

March 31, 2024

Laurel River romps to victory in the 2024 Dubai World Cup (G1) - Mathea Kelly photo

Laurel River romps to victory in the 2024 Dubai World Cup (G1) – Mathea Kelly photo

Laurel River was absolutely sensational in the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) on Saturday evening at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, winning the 1 ¼-mile race by a record 8 ½-lengths.

The 6-year-old son of Into Mischief is the 20th lifetime Grade 1 winner for his sire and one of his five graded stakes winners in the first three months of this year.

A Juddmonte Farms Inc. homebred, Laurel River had run twice in 2024 prior to Saturday, both at Meydan for trainer Bhupat Seemar. He was unplaced in the Al Shindagha Sprint (G3) on Jan. 26, his first start since August of 2022, then won the March 2 Burj Nahaar (G3) by a commanding 6 ¾-lengths, a prelude to his World Cup performance.

Breaking from the outside in the field of 12, Laurel River made the lead in the first furlong under jockey Tadhg O’Shea and got to the fence going into the first turn. Laurel River had a one-length lead over Defunded turning onto the backstretch.

Defunded kept the pressure on the straight, then couldn’t keep up with Laurel River as he entered the final bend. He increased his margin around the turn and was up a half-dozen lengths turning for home. With the field far behind, O’Shea predominantly hand rode his mount through the stretch to finish in 2:02.31 on a fast track. Last year’s World Cup winner Ushba Tesoro (JPN) was a distant second.

“I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened,” Seemar said. “I think it’ll probably sink in in another day or two. It’s absolutely amazing. Tadhg said this morning ‘we’re drawn 12, I’m not going to be two-minded about it, I’m going to go forward.’”

With the huge $6.9 million payday, Laurel River has now earned $7,470,676 and is now Into Mischief’s all-time leading earner. Prior to joining Seemar’s barn, Laurel River was trained by Bob Baffert, winning the 2022 Pat O’Brien S. (G2) and placing in the Laz Barrera S. (G3) while based in southern California.