04/01/2014 11:48AM

Trainer Osborne mulls Kentucky Derby option for Toast of New York

Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Trainer Jamie Osborne remains undecided on running Toast of New York in the Kentucky Derby after a victory Saturday in the United Arab Emirates Derby.

Toast of New York has returned to his yard in Great Britain following his victory Saturday in the United Arab Emirates Derby, but whether he’ll venture across the ocean in a few weeks to try dirt for the first time in the May 3 Kentucky Derby is a decision his trainer, Jamie Osborne, is not ready to make just yet.

Toast of New York earned 100 points for his UAE Derby victory, which easily puts him in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby should he come, regardless of whether the field has more than the maximum of 20 entrants. But Osborne said he would like to see how Toast of New York recovers from the Dubai race before making any firm plans.

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

“We haven’t ruled anything in or out,” Osborne said in a telephone conversation Tuesday. “Quite a bit of concern is the proximity to your Derby. For a horse at this stage of his life, it was a fair bit of work to get him ready for Dubai. Now he’d have to travel again to another continent in a short amount of time. When we went to Dubai, he was racing on Tapeta, which is like Polytrack, so I didn’t feel he needed to get there early and get a piece of work over the track. It wasn’t a concern that he hadn’t worked on Tapeta. If we came to Churchill Downs, I’d have to go much sooner. He’d have to do a piece of work over the surface. Can he be the same horse in three to four weeks’ time? I don’t know. I felt when he left here for Dubai, he was spot on. Would he be the same horse as he was going to Dubai? Would he be 100 percent happy? Those are the questions.”

Asked what he would do if he didn’t come to the Kentucky Derby, Osborne said Toast of New York “will be supplemented” to the Epsom Derby, which is June 7, though he said the mile and a half distance is a question.

“The one thing I do know is that his long-term target would be the Dubai World Cup next year, but I’ve got 52 weeks to work that out,” Osborne said, laughing. “My concern now is I wouldn’t want to do anything in the short term that would be detrimental to that goal. If it was eight weeks between the race in Dubai and going to America, I think we’d say, ‘Why not? We’re not going to get another chance.’ But I can’t say that because it’s not eight weeks. I don’t think we’d know anything for at least another week.”