UAE Derby Could Send at Least Two Qualifiers to Kentucky Derby

Tune in Early Saturday in the U.S. for Dubai World Cup and UAE Derby

The UAE Derby is a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, and another Kentucky Derby contender may emerge. The winner of the 1 3/16 mile UAE Derby is awarded 100 points and the runner-up 40 points, which is enough to secure a spot for both runners in the Kentucky Derby May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Racing fans in the United States wishing to watch the $2 million UAE Derby, the $10 million Dubai World Cup and the other rich day of races from Meydan Racecourse will need to be up early Saturday morning for the big day of racing from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

An international field of nine 3-year-olds are entered in the UAE Derby, and the two strong favorites are going to be Gold Town and Mendelssohn, who will break next to each other from posts 5 and 4. Leading Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien has three horses entered – Mendelssohn, Seahenge and Threeandfourpence. Any of the three would likely have been favored to land a Kentucky Derby spot with a win in the March 30 Burradon Stakes at Newcastle through the European points program. Instead, they will slug it out against tougher competition in the desert. Mendelssohn is a turf runner trying dirt for the first time, and he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last November.

Japanese runner Ruggero is in the UAE Derby, and he finished 2nd in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. However, the winner of that series is not nominated for the Triple Crown, leaving Ruggero’s owners first chance on the Kentucky Derby bid even if he finishes out of the money in the UAE Derby. The third and fourth place finishers in the UAE Derby are awarded 20 and 10 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

The lone filly in the UAE Derby is Kentucky-bred Rayya, who earned 50 points toward a start in the Kentucky Oaks May 4 when she won the UAE Oaks at Meydan March 1. She’ll travel to Louisville following the race and be turned over to trainer Bob Baffert for his conditioning and care and prepare to run in the Kentucky Oaks.

Rayya winning the UAE Oaks

The lone American-based horse traveling to Dubai for the Derby is Reride trained by Steve Asmussen. Rounding out the field are Gold Town, Yulong Warrior and Taiki Ferveur. Gold Town is 2-for-2 at Meydan this year and the son of Street Cry has been in impressive form this year while winning the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial last month.

Horse players with a account can watch the Dubai World Cup races at TwinSpires TV, the best online wagering experience in horse racing. Click on “Dubai” in the drop down track menu and then click on the tiny video camera beside the drop down.

Here are the Saturday races on Dubai World Cup Day, March 31. The first time listed is the race time in Greenwich Mean Time, followed by the local time in Dubai, then the U.S. time zones.

Godolphin Mile 11:45 a.m. 3:45 p.m. 7:45 a.m. 6:45 a.m. 5:45 a.m. 4:45 a.m.
Dubai Kahayla Classic 12:15 p.m. 4:15 p.m. 8:15 a.m. 7:15 a.m. 6:15 a.m. 5:15 a.m.
Dubai Gold Cup 12:50 p.m. 4:50 p.m. 8:50 a.m. 7:50 a.m. 6:50 a.m. 5:50 a.m.
UAE Derby 1:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 9:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 6:30 a.m.
Al Quoz Sprint 2:05 p.m. 6:05 p.m. 10:05 a.m. 9:05 a.m. 8:05 a.m. 7:05 a.m.
Dubai Golden Shaheen 2:40 p.m. 6:40 p.m. 10:40 a.m. 9:40 a.m. 8:40 a.m. 7:40 a.m.
Dubai Turf 3:35 p.m. 7:35 p.m. 11:35 a.m. 10:35 a.m. 9:35 a.m. 8:35 a.m.
Dubai Sheema Classic 4:10 p.m. 8:10 p.m. 12:10 p.m. 11:10 a.m. 10:10 a.m. 9:10 a.m.
Dubai World Cup 4:50 p.m. 8:50 p.m. 12:50 p.m. 11:50 a.m. 10:50 a.m. 9:50 a.m

For more racing updates from Dubai and news from Emirates Racing Authority (ERA), visit

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