03/30/2015 3:29PM

Road to the Derby analysis: UAE Derby

Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood
Mubtaahij romps in the UAE Derby on Saturday, giving him enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby.

Group 2, $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby, 1900 meters (approximately 1 3/16 miles), Meydan, March 28, 2015
(100 Derby qualifying points for a win, 40 for second, 20 for third, 10 for fourth)

Winner: Mubtaahij
Trainer: Michael de Kock
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Owner: Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Maktoum
Beyer Speed Figure: 95 (estimated)

MUBTAAHIJ earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby with this runaway victory in the United Arab Emirates Derby, worth 100 points to the winner. His presence at Churchill Downs will certainly add international intrigue to the race, and his performance obviously impressed bettors in the final pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager – he was the surprising third choice, behind American Pharoah and Dortmund – but he’s going to have a tall order against what is shaping up as a strong field.

Mubtaahij was one of several runners owned by members of the ruling family of Dubai who fortuitously drew the rail for the night’s proceedings. He used that draw to his advantage, settling just behind a three-horse duel for the lead around the first turn that became a four-horse duel when SIR FEVER ranged up heading down the backside.

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

After two of the four early leaders dropped away nearing the head of the stretch, Mubtaahij only had to come around two horses after enjoying an ideal pocket trip. He took over with 300 meters remaining and bounded clear to win by eight lengths, though he never changed leads through the lane.

His final time of 1:58.35 earned an estimated figure of 95 from Andrew Beyer. By comparison, Prince Bishop’s 1,900-meter split en route to the finish of the 2,000-meter Dubai World Cup was 1:56.88, according to Trakus.

It’s hard to know what to make of Mubtaahij. He undoubtedly will be facing far tougher competition in the Kentucky Derby, and it’s difficult to imagine him getting a trip as perfect as he had this night. He does appear to have the kind of tactical speed that could keep him out of some trouble in the Derby, and his trainer is world class. But, for me, the initial hysteria over his performance seems misguided. When you want to show someone the definition of a perfect trip, cue up the video of this race.

MAFTOOL, who ran on for second, is the only other horse in the race who earned enough points (40) to have a legitimate shot at making the Derby field. He broke a bit slowly and was ridden aggressively soon after the start, but had no speed and wound up ninth in the 10-horse field, while about four paths wide, around the first turn. He was then carried out even wider as the field came out of the bend into the backstretch.

Maftool remained wide and received his first crack of the whip with about 800 meters remaining. He steadily made his way nearer to the rail and was in the three path for much of the far turn, then angled further inside and was about two lanes off the rail in upper stretch before coming back to the middle of the track in order to go past the tiring leaders nearing the finish. As with the Mubtaahij, he failed to change leads through the lane.

GOLDEN BAROWS finished third after pressing or setting the early pace. He was extremely keen to get on with it early, throwing his head about. The fractions, according to Trakus, were 26.09 seconds for the opening 400 meters – remember, races there are timed from a standing start – and 50.04 for 800 meters, meaning the second 400 was run in 23.95 seconds. Golden Barows finally settled down during the run down the backstretch while still on or near the lead, and was one of the two who went on with it from the early four-part duel.

Golden Barows was late to change leads in upper stretch and didn’t swap over until about 300 meters remained; the stretch is about 500 meters long. He battled bravely for a minor award and just did get nailed in the closing yards by Maftool.

He is unlikely to come to the Derby, and probably wouldn’t have enough points to get in anyway.

The rest were inconsequential in terms of the Kentucky Derby, as their performances, or points, wouldn’t cut it, even if their connections wanted to run.

Mike Puder More than 1 year ago
Hands down Mubtaahij is my KD top selection assuming we will have a fast track. The movement of this horse's legs can only be described as awesome. He's been screaming for real dirt all along. This specimen will tower over his rivals. I hope I get somewhere between 15 and 20 to 1. I'm licking my chops in anticipation of his victory.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Dortmund will run 1 1/8 Santa Anita derby between 1:48 - 1:49 !!!! He may even lose to prospect park!!! This will prove firing line and materiality superior to Dortmund !!! California chrome ran the Santa Anita derby @ 1:47!!! Let's see if Dortmund can beat California chrome's time on Saturday !!!
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Dortmund already proved he's superior to Firing Line, twice.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Let's see!! California chrome vs Dortmund on Saturday. Dortmund should at least equal California chrome time in the Santa Anita derby with all the media he is getting!!
Eric Ward More than 1 year ago
Time? Really?
Mike Puder More than 1 year ago
Time has zero to do with this, Tommy.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Well then how did I predict the exact time Dortmund will run using my vo2 max formula a week before the race ??? There was no way Dortmund will have run 1 1/8 @ 1:47 flat like how California chrome did it . If California chrome was a lot fitter going into the derby than Dortmund, and California chrome won the kentucky derby by 1 3/4 length, what does that tell you about Dortmund ?? He will lose the kentucky derby !!
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Nonsense ! If this horse Mubtaahij shows up in Kentucky, he will get hot and dirty ! Bill Mott people has surely got something up his sleeve . Any 3 YO that has anything to do with Dubai will be the Spiral winner Dubai Sky ! 11th on the list and could beat any 3 yo in his path. A 4 in a row race winner has got what it takes to win the Derby . Right now , if the Derby was to be run this Saturday, Dubai Sky at a nice price
tommy More than 1 year ago
I got Dubai sky 2nd in my future exacta wager !!!! He is good, he is the real deal, but there are slightly better horses with higher vo2 max and lactate threshold such as materiality, firing line, mubtaahij !!!!! But Dubai sky has a very high lactate threshold
tommy More than 1 year ago
I will be screaming when Dortmund and American pharaoh throw in the towel at the kentucky derby !!!!!! Just lie, who upstart threw in the towel in the Florida derby !!!!
Lisa More than 1 year ago
He beat the same caliber group that Firing Line beat in the Sunland Derby, and he did that more impressively, winning by 14-lengths. If you like Mubtaahij, you should love Firing Line. He doesn't have to ship from Dubai and he already ran right behind a proven Grade I in Dortmund.
Lisa More than 1 year ago
NO SHOT in the Kentucky Derby. Look his form; took him 3 starts to break his maiden, then he won a non-group stakes and got beat in a UAE Group III. He got a PERFECT staking trip in Saturday's UAE Derby win was a Group II, where the horse that beat him in the Group III ran 2nd (meaning same field he faced in the GIII race) and it he was clocked at the 1800 meters 1.47 seconds slower (about 7 lengths).
Maynard Runkle More than 1 year ago
He improved dramatically when he got switched to dirt. He proved he could ship from England to Dubai, barely lost at a mile to a very good horse he has since beaten twice at longer distances, has two 1 3/8 wins under his belt beating some Southern Hemisphere 4 year olds including the Uruguayan Triple Crown winner (South American Horses come up here and do well a lot including Candy Ride and Invasor). His trainer is a master and will bring him to Churchill in time to acclimate and get used to the dirt there. If he trains well, his pedigree says he can do the distance (Mr. Prospector, Buckpasser, Northern Dancer, Roberto, etc).He has taken kick-back which Baffert's duo have not. If he does not train well, that will be the time to ignore.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Dortmund wins the Derby in a cakewalk!
Bob More than 1 year ago
No horse is going to be Baffert's pair...if he runs them both in the Derby he could very easily complete the exacta.
tommy More than 1 year ago
This horse is a serious contender to win the triple crown!!!! He is guaranteed to finish in the top 4 !! I'm so happy because I got my 4 horses which I like for 1st in the kentucky derby which are mubtaahij, firing line, materiality, and international star !!!
Bob More than 1 year ago
Little early to be anointing the next Triple Crown winner, don't you think? I wouldn't go betting the superfecta in the Derby with those four horses because you are leaving out both of the horses who are the most likely winners.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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tommy More than 1 year ago
It's too bad they didn't collect my bet on mubtaahij winning he breeders cup or the triple crown!! He demolished the field !! He beat Johnny be good by 45 lengths, which Johnny be good lost by 5 lengths to diving rod and ocean knight. Diving rod fished 3rd in Tampa bay derby losing by 7 lengths to carpe diem. Now what's 45 -7 ??? It's like mubtaahij beat carpe diem by 38 lengths !! Mubtaahij won the Dubai derby by 15 lengths!!! I don't know why people say he won by 8 1/2 lengths when it was 15 lengths or 5 full seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher !!!