03/28/2013 12:44PM

UAE Derby: He's Had Enough travels long way to get to Kentucky

Andrew Watkins
He's Had Enough, training Wednesday at Meydan, is one of two U.S.-based horses in the UAE Derby.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Eight thousand miles is a long way to travel for 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. The math works out to about 47 miles per point. Still, the Derby points in great part compelled the connections of He’s Had Enough to ship the colt from California to Dubai for a start Saturday in the Group 2 UAE Derby. Yet another number – $2 million, the UAE Derby’s purse, equal to the Kentucky Derby itself – is another decent reason to show up.

The UAE Derby, run over about 1 3/16 miles on Meydan’s all-weather racing surface, drew a field of 12. The race has produced a Kentucky Derby starter the last two seasons: Master of Hounds, runner-up in 2011, finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby, while Daddy Long Legs, the winner last year, was last of 20 in Kentucky.

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The connections of He’s Had Enough – owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez – possess more than passing Derby knowledge, having won the race last year with I’ll Have Another. When he finished second by a head to Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, He’s Had Enough, improbably enough, looked capable of taking his human connections back to the Derby for a second straight year, but since that race, He’s Had Enough’s development has stalled. Fifth, third, and fifth in his last three races, He’s Had Enough has earned only six Derby qualifying points

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“He needs to run good here if we want to get him to the Kentucky Derby,” said O’Neill’s assistant trainer Leandro Mora. “Paul Reddam is an owner that likes a challenge.”

He’s Had Enough is one of two U.S. shippers for the race, joining Dice Flavor, winner of the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Golden Gate uses a Tapeta surface like Meydan, and the only American shipper to win in three years of races at Meydan was Kinsale King, who took the 2010 Golden Shaheen after prepping at Golden Gate.

None of the nine U.S-based horses to previously contest the UAE Derby won, and the best finishes came from Bobby Frankel-trained South American imports that were 4-year-olds in the Northern Hemisphere. There are two such horses in this year’s edition, but neither Zahee nor Emotif has shown strong recent form. The horses to watch are two Europeans, Lines of Battle and Law Enforcement, and the locally based Godolphin colt Secret Number.

Lines of Battle is trained by Aidan O’Brien, the trainer also of Master of Hounds and Daddy Long Legs. Lines of Battle most recently was seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but comfortably won last October at Dundalk in his only synthetic-surface start.

Law Enforcement won both his starts at 2, including the Group 1 Gran Criterium in Italy. He has yet to race beyond one mile but assistant trainer Richard Hannon Jr. said a longer trip could be beneficial.

Secret Number also is expected to appreciate added distance. He overcame slow starts to win a maiden race last October on the all-weather at Kempton in England and the Al Bastakiya Stakes here March 9, and will be among the favorites Saturday.

“He doesn’t have a good turn of foot early,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “I think he wants to run a mile and a half. He’s still weak – he needs to get stronger.”

Godolphin’s other two runners, the filly Shuruq and Now Spun, both come off wins at Meydan and can’t be totally ruled out.