Mar 22, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT
Even though at last report the Dubai government had about as much money to its name as Lenny Dykstra, that nation has still just opened the world’s most elaborate horse playground; the Meydan Racecouse. If features a mile-long grandstand that holds 60,000 spectators, a rooftop pool, and the world’s largest LED screen (sorry Jerry Jones). You can also watch races from the balconies of an adjoining hotel. So this is why I’m paying $3.18 a gallon for gas?
Video following the jump.
The track is part of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Meydan City, a 67 million-square-foot “equestrian city” that’s his little way of attracting the world’s best jockeys and horses.
From The Atlantic:
The sheikh envisioned Meydan (the name is Arabic for “a place where people gather”) as a giant business, entertainment, and residential complex. But, as has been much noted, the agent of globalization proved vulnerable to its vicissitudes. First, plans were scaled back. Then in January 2009, the sheikh claimed that construction teams were moving too slowly, and he canceled their contracts. But within months he hired new builders, and construction started up again.
The sheikh met his deadline by the skin of his teeth, just in time for the 2010 Dubai World Cup on March 27. In honor of the new track, the prize money was increased to $10 million.
Too much? The Sheik gets real testy when you point out that Dubai is holding off creditors right and left, but its horses live in one of the world’s the most expensive cities, with air conditioned stalls. It’s all quite surreal: At some point I fully expect James Bond to uncover his nefarious plans, and the Sheik to use one of those grandstand pods to fly off and elude capture.
All the Sheikh’s Horses [The Atlantic]
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