03/30/2013 10:25AM

UAE Derby: Kentucky Derby likely next for victorious Lines of Battle


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The jockey Ryan Moore does not suffer wandering questions gladly. A querying reporter was trying to get to the bottom of the tactics that might have led to Lines of Battle’s win Saturday night in the UAE Derby. Moore put it in simple terms.

“I think he was just by far the best horse in this race,” he said.

The UAE Derby is a qualifying race for starting spots in the Kentucky Derby, and Lines of Battle’s connections plan to put to use the 100 points the colt earned for his win here.

“We’ll have a look at the Derby,” said Aidan O’Brien, who won this race last year with Daddy Long Legs, and took second in 2011 with Master of Hounds.

By “look at,” O’Brien, who trains Lines of Battle for breeder Joe Allen and the Coolmore operation, means Lines of Battle will show up in Louisville barring a setback. O’Brien’s last two UAE Derby runners both ran in the Derby, Daddy Long Legs finishing 20th, Master of Hounds 5th.

[DUBAI WORLD CUP: Watch replays and read race recaps]

Lines of Battle came out of the Meydan saddling ring looking like a powerhouse, light on his toes, well developed in his back end for an early-season 3-year-old. He broke on top, was coaxed back to press the pace while two wide: A head-on shot of the running showed Lines of Battle nearly pulling Moore out of the saddle. Moore let Snowboarder take the lead about 500 meters from the finish, but when he turned for home, Lines of Battle was ready to go again. He easily collared Snowboarder and, despite drifting out – “idling,” Moore said – won the Group 1, $1 million UAE Derby by 1 1/2 lengths over Elleval. Secret Number, whose tough trip was partly his own doing, rallied creditably to finish third. Lines of Battle paid $9.40 in the United States.

Lines of Battle finished a close seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf after breaking from post 14 and enduring a wide trip, and now has won both his starts on synthetic surfaces. Saturday, he raced second as Law Enforcement set slow fractions on a very dull racing surface, submitting to Moore’s request to wait for the stretch run after Snowboarder swept past. Winning time for the mile and three-sixteenths on Tapeta was a glacial 2:02.05, but fit in with previous times on the card.

Elleval, a locally based horse, rallied from midpack to get second, with Secret Number finishing third while losing for the first time in three starts. Secret Number got rank on the backstretch while racing in traffic and finished decently, and might be pointed to the Dante Stakes and the Epsom Derby in England.

The two America horses made no impact, Dice Flavor finishing 8th and He’s Had Enough, the 2012 Breeder’ Cup Juvenile runner-up, 11th.

“He’s got to stop acting like a playboy if we’re going to get anywhere with him,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to He’s Had Enough’s trainer, Doug O’Neill.