03/28/2015 10:46AM

Mubtaahij dominates UAE Derby, on to Kentucky

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Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood
Mubtaahij and jockey Christophe Soumillon win the UAE Derby by eight lengths Saturday.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Mubtaahij cruised to an eight-length victory in the $2 million UAE Derby and ran his way into a start in the Kentucky Derby.

A Kentucky Derby start would be a first for South African trainer Mike de Kock, who has long wintered in Dubai, but this was hardly de Kock’s first taste of success in the UAE Derby. He won the race for the sixth time, though Mubtaahij’s performance was the best from a de Kock horse since Asiatic Boy won in 2007.

But Asiatic Boy, a South American import, was a 4-year-old on Northern Hemisphere time, while Mubtaahij, an Irish-bred by Dubawi owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, is a true 3-year-old. The UAE Derby is one in the series of races that award Kentucky Derby qualifying points, and the 100 that Mubtaahij earned this evening are plenty to get him in the field.

Is Mubtaahij good enough to contend in Louisville? Quite possibly. He did get a perfect trip Saturday, settling on the rail as three Japanese horses, Dear Domus, a rank Golden Barows, and Tap That, set fractions of 26.06 seconds, 50.04, and 1:14.31, all faster than par for this racing season, according to Trakus.

Jockey Christophe Soumillon guided Mubtaahij off the fence with a little more than a quarter-mile to run, came about three wide straightening up, and the pair burst to the lead with a strong bit of acceleration. The race was over, and Mubtaahij was geared down to win in 1:58.35 for 1,900 meters, about 1 3/16 miles, on a fast track. The time was the second-fastest of 11 races on the new Meydan dirt surface, according to Trakus.

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:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

Maftool, who handed Mubtaahij his only loss in five starts this winter, was hard ridden a long way out but still managed second, three-quarters of a length in front of Golden Barows. American invader My Johnny Be Good was ninth of 10.

Favored at 6-5 in North American betting, Mubtaahij appeared to win comfortably, which bodes well for his trip to the U.S., the details of which are still being worked out. A flight for the colt already is booked for mid-April, de Kock said, and Mubtaahij will have plenty of time to settle in at Churchill Downs.

“I’m not sure they’re prepared for us over there,” de Kock said affably. “We do things differently – working without shoes, working on turf.”

De Kock wasn’t at all certain how Mubtaahij would act on dirt, but he tried him on the new track here early this year because the 3-year-old series at Meydan all is on the main track.

“He has a high cruising speed and the ability to quicken off it,” de Kock said, describing characteristics that would work well in a race like the Kentucky Derby.

Sole Power wins first outside England

In 2012, trainer Edward Lynam sent Sole Power to Dubai to finish second in the Meydan Sprint, a prep for the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, and then to finish second in the Al Quoz itself. Fine. The next year, Lynam changed things up. He sent Sole Power here straight for the Al Quoz and got the same result – second. This year, Lynam went back to the prep-race route, and for the first time at Meydan, in the March 7 Meydan Sprint, Sole Power didn’t finish second – he finished 12th.

So, what did Sole Power’s worst placing since September 2011 produce? A breakthrough win at Meydan, as the estimable 8-year-old whizzed down the outside of the track under Richard Hughes to tag Peniaphobia in the final furlong.

Sole Power won by a half-length, with Peniaphobia, the tepidly favored Hong Kong raider, a half-length in front of the Wesley Ward-trained Green Mask. The winning time for about five furlongs down a straight course on good turf was 57.24 seconds.

Sole Power seems unaffected by age. In his daily training, he wants to fly down the homestretch, even when he is supposed to go easily. Imagine his relief, having been pent up all week at the Meydan training track, when Hughes, who also was scoring his first win here in advance of impending retirement from the saddle, gave Sole Power his head with about three furlongs left to race. Near the back of the pack, Sole Power sliced through the field and turned on the afterburners with a quarter-mile left to run down Peniaphobia.

By Kyllachy and owned by Mrs. Sabena Power, Sole Power won two Group 1s in 2014 at age 7, and from the look of his performance Saturday, he is ready for more.

T More than 1 year ago
American Pharoah wins, period......................
Ken Herlich More than 1 year ago
a good horse will run on anything!!! the so-called bad field in Dubai were mostly turf horses he has a lot to prove, I think he is a good horse
Ken Herlich More than 1 year ago
he is not just another horse
Andrew Connie More than 1 year ago
I think I posted on here about a month ago or so the derby winner comes from Dubai this year, certain people who posted on here know I did. I bet Maftool @ 150/1 and 125/1 and 75/1...I'm lucky I backed my bet to. Mubtaahij @ 100/1 ... If you follow the derby pools you will know all along Maftool was always lower odds then Mubtaahij. I just hope they take a shot at the derby this year.. he had a horrible trip from the break to going 6/7 wide on 1st turn.Mubtaahij had a dream trip around ...
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
Don't agree one bit with the Beyer figure given for this horse - that was an impressive race!
Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
Where do you see Beyers for these Dubai races? Vince P
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mike De Kock A trainer to be admired if he thinks this horse is Derby material I respect that The track in Medan has imported soil from Kentucky lots to like.
JKpoker1 More than 1 year ago
Idk how it works overseas but those fraction times look terrible. 26 and 50 is extremely slow.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
i LOVE FOLKS LIKE U WHO TAKE TIME WITHOUT CONTEXT Dubai cup fractions 25.65 49.45 The sprint secret circle won went 23.81 46.49
blueyedhusky . More than 1 year ago
There is no run-up @ Meydan. The clock starts as soon as the gates open, and the gate is at the exact distance. In North American tracks there's a run-up to the distance pole, which varies from track to track and distance to distance. The clock is triggered when the first horse reaches the distance pole. This means that horses are already at full speed, or close to it, by the time the clock starts. So those 26 and 50 could be 24 and 48 on an American track. Considering that Meydan's racecourse is typically slow (just look at the Sprint and the DWC times), the comparable times (to a fast American track) would be about 23.5 and 47.
Lisa More than 1 year ago
If I hear anyone say Mubtaahij is a freak one more time, I'm going to stop watching racing. He impressively beat a BAD field of Group II horses in the UAE. Take a look at his past performances, it took him 3 starts to break his Maiden and then he won 2 conditions stakes and lost his only previous Group race, a Group III. The horse who beat him in the Group III was the horse that finished 2nd to him in the UAE Derby on Saturday. He runs against the same BAD 3-year-olds every time. NO SHOT TO WIN THE DERBY.
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
lisa I have been around for a while and this was the most impressive move by a 3 year old I have seen. in dirt racing in America the last 3/8's is never faster than the first and he looked like a fresh horse in the stretch.visually impressive is all I can say,first sat in may will prove his worth,re-evaluate your opinion is all I can say
Mike Gentile More than 1 year ago
Lisa you are an absolute idiot who doesn't know a thing about horse racing and shouldn't make stupid comments like this online. First of all his first 2 starts were on turf and obviously he hates the turf and then on dirt he wins the last 4 out of 5 races with a head loss in his first graded race and if you would have looked at the last 3/8ths of the race it was very impressive considering the hand ride with no use of the whip at all and by your dumb comment that he has no shot to win the Derby is classless and this horse will be my key horse in the Derby so Lisa keep watching the races learn how to read the charts before you make these asinine comments online.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
The field was no worse than the putrid preakness field chromie beat in his last dirt win
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
Lisa, you are right on. He ran against nobody on a slow pace in a moderate final time. Let's hope he takes money in the Derby. The best horses to bet against are those that do their best on soft paces.
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
arazi anyone, this horse is a freak,watch the last 3/8's,he looked like a quarter horse coming out of the starting gate.there is not a 3 year old in America who can beat this horse.all depends on the ship from the middle east. it has not been successful in the past,it seems this race is to close to the derby,but if any horse is ever going to do it ,this is certainly the one. should be a lot of fun for the classics.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
Arazi was nothing at 3 but I agree Mubtaahij was visually a beast
Marc Rogala More than 1 year ago
Well the race is over! I have put up with insults for days by stating cc was not going to win. I was called a “hater” a “troll” and worse. I wished cc the best and was blasted as a HATER since I thought he would loose to the “chromie” cult!! California Chrome ran a gutsy race, he represented himself outstandingly, better then I thought he would. So my hat is off to California Chrome. God bless the little boy. I am a gambler with 45 plus years betting, tracking, respecting and loving horses and the game. I do not think MAN O WAR or SECRETARIAT was the greatest horses they are second and third. That does not mean I have hatred toward them, as is the same with California Chrome. Notice cultists I know write his name out I do not post “cc”. I had a GREAT day as my bloodhorse comments show. Two pick 3”s $346.80 & $1,303.20 plus a win place in the world cup $25 W/P on PRINCE BISHOP $560.00. NET WIN OF $1,769.00 IT PAYS 2 BE A WINNER 
Scott More than 1 year ago
Wrong page Marc! By the way, who do you rank as #1 overall if not Man O'War or Secretariat?
Mike Gentile More than 1 year ago
A True Gambler Never Boasts About His Wins And If You Do Not Think Secretariat Is The Greatest Horse Of All Time I Feel Sorry For You As You Surely Don't Know Anything About Horse Racing
Jason More than 1 year ago
Junior Officer is the greatest.
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
U R amazing Sir!!!! I am glad you do not subscribe to that silly notion that when you lose you say little and when you win you say less. Kudos to your pointing out to us lesser handicappers, our failings. Much luck in your future endeavors!!! Plus the riddle of who you THINK was the greatest horse without giving the answer. A cliffhanger!! Like an old movie serial. Again, I think you are AWESOME!!!!
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Did you really think CC would get "loose" during the running of the race?? Or was this referring to getting "loose" in the post parade or the warm up like Brown Panther in Canada. Kindly elaborate at your convenience. Confusing to say the least.