Updated on 09/17/2011 10:10AM

Derby hope to get tested


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Godolphin is pinning almost all its Kentucky Derby hopes on Inamorato, who will start as a hot favorite in Saturday's Group 1, $2 million UAE Derby.

Sheikh Mohammed and his Godolphin team - trainer Saeed bin Suroor, rider Frankie Dettori, and racing manager Simon Crisford - hold Inamorato, a Tale of the Cat colt, in high regard and expect him to win the UAE Derby. Defeat at the hands of any of his stablemates in the race - Anasheed, Bourbonnais, Parhelion, or Songlark - would surprise the Godolphin team. So, too, would a loss to any of the seven Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds - Baccarat, Peasant, Seattle Fitz, Tangeriano, Victory Moon, Byzantium (trained by Elliott Walden), or Hard Buck (trained by Ken McPeek).

But Outta Here could spoil Godolphin's party. Second to Inamorato at Hollywood Park in July, Outta Here, trained by Bill Currin, won the one-mile Delta Jackpot in December. Though unraced since then, he worked a half-mile in 44.80 seconds at Nad Al Sheba on Tuesday night.

But the hope that the Godolphin team has invested in the 2-for-2 Inamorato should be fulfilled, on Saturday at least. His maiden score over Outta Here and a dismantling of Victory Moon, the UAE 2000 Guineas winner, in the 1 1/8-mile Al Bastikiya have some people thinking Inamorato is Godolphin's best Kentucky Derby candidate ever.

A half-brother to A.M. Swinger, a stakes winner at 1 3/8 miles, Inamorato should stay the UAE Derby's 10 furlongs and so book himself a ticket to Churchill Downs. There, he will find a track similar to the one at Nad Al Sheba, where the dirt surface was built by engineers from Churchill. Dettori will ride Inamorato.

Is Inamorato the horse Godolphin has been trying so hard to find?

"In the past we have taken horses to Churchill Downs that have not had the necessary stamina," Crisford said, "but Frankie is convinced that Inamorato will get the trip. He looks like a potentially high-class performer. Hopefully, on Saturday night he will show us that he is a Kentucky Derby horse."