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Big-money camels gallop to victory outside Dubai

In this April 8, 2017 photo, a camel keeper prepares a camel for the morning race near the Al Marmoom Camel Racetrack, in al-Lisaili about 40 kms (25 miles) southeast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)

Forget the image of lumbering beasts trudging over sand dunes in slow-moving caravans — camels in Dubai are built for speed. Camel racing is a big-money sport and fast thoroughbreds can fetch well over a million dollars. Rising temperatures across Gulf Arab countries like the United Arab Emirates signal the end of the winter camel racing season. In Dubai, the races are wrapping up this week with the annual Al Marmoom Heritage Festival, which has drawn thousands of camels from across the oil-rich Gulf. They compete on a well-kept racetrack some 40 kms (25 miles) from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and other soaring Dubai skyscrapers. Owners race alongside in sportutility vehicles as tiny robot jockeys urge the camels on. Owners of winning camels can look forward to trophies that include brand-new luxury cars all the way up to the top prize of more than half a million dollars. (AP)

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