05/02/2016 11:56AM

Take gets second shot at Derby

Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins
Lani (center) wins the UAE Derby at Meydan under Yutaka Take, who rides him in the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The globetrotting Lani, who enters the Kentucky Derby off a victory in the Group 2 United Arab Emirates Derby, will become just the second Japanese-based horse to start in the run for the roses. The first was Ski Captain, who finished 14th in the 1995 edition behind Thunder Gulch. In the irons that day was Yutaka Take, who has been aboard Lani in five of his six starts and will ride him in the Derby.

“That was schooling for me,” Take said through a translator after working Lani at Churchill Downs. “It was a good experience. For all riders, it is extremely difficult to ride in the Derby, and I know how precious it is. It is one of my biggest ambitions, and to have a horse here is exciting.”

Take, the son of legendary Japanese jockey Kunihiko Take, has more than career 3,500 victories. He rode Deep Impact to win Japan’s Triple Crown in 2005.

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Take has 21 wins from 223 starts in North America. In 1991, he won the Grade 3 Seneca Stakes at Saratoga on El Senor, making him the first Japanese jockey to win a graded stakes race overseas. He also won that year’s Gold Flower Stakes at Arlington aboard Lady Shirl. Take most recently rode at Churchill Downs in 2000, when he had two mounts at the Breeders’ Cup.