2024 Dubai World Cup Contender Profile: Defunded

The $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) is March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The race is for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on dirt. usracing.com is publishing profiles of the contenders. 


Defunded. Benoit Photo

Purchased with the explicit intent of being an asset to racing in Riyadh, the 6-year-old Defunded failed to stand out in his first outing in Saudi Arabia, finishing seventh in the world’s richest horse race.

While many of the winners of the Saudi Cup were making their first start of the year, Defunded was taking that to an extreme, making his first start since Sept. 30, when he finished second in the Awesome Again while still in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. That kind of gap might have been a factor in his performance, in which he was shuffled back early and then failed to mount a serious threat. Or, frankly, any kind of threat at all.

Still, the outing netted him $500,000, more than he’d earned during his 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons. His best year came as a 5-year-old, when he was 2-2-1 from seven starts, earning $1,058,500 along the way.  More to the point, in an eight-month stretch from Oct. 1, 2022, to May 29, 2023, he was 4-1-1 from six starts, bracketed by victories in the Awesome Again and Hollywood Gold Cup and including a second in the Pegasus World Cup and a third in the Santa Anita Handicap, all Grade 1 events.

Among his four subsequent losses, Defunded’s best performance came while running second in the 2023 Awesome Again, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Slow Down Andy, but finishing a length ahead of Senor Buscador, who went on to win the Saudi Cup.

Betting advice:  The Dubai World Cup field seems to drop off rather dramatically after Ushba Tesoro and Derma Sotogake, but we don’t see much to go on off the Saudi Cup.  Caveat emptor.


2024 Dubai World Cup Contender: Defunded

Post position: 9

Jockey: A Al Furaydi

Trainer: Abdulaziz Khalid

Owner: Muhaideb Abdullah A Almuhaideb

Age:  6

Career record: 21-7-5-2

Career earnings: $2,166,600

Most recent race:  Saudi Cup (G1), Feb. 24, (7th)

Top Equibase speed figure: 112

Pedigree: Dialed In-Wind Caper, by Touch Gold

Color: Chestnut

Running style: On/close to the pace

Notes: Defunded is one of two former Baffert runners in the World Cup, the other being Laurel River …  His seventh in the Saudi Cup matched the gelding’s worst previous outing, when he was seventh in the 2022 San Diego Handicap,  8½ lengths behind winner Royal Ship (but 1 ½ lengths ahead Senor Buscador) … Defunded was last seen stateside finishing second whilst attempting to defend his title in the Awesome Again in September, after which he was sold to Dr. Muhaideb Abdullah A Almuhaideb … At 1¼ miles, he won the 2023 Hollywood Gold Cup, having finished second in 2022, third in the 2023 Santa Anita Handicap, and sixth in the 2023 Pacific Classic, all Grade 1s.


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