03/29/2014 10:56AM

UAE Derby: Toast of New York crushes foes in upset

Dubai Racing Club
Toast of New York wins the UAE Derby by 2 1/2 lengths.

Toast of New York, whose previous claim to fame was a romping $6,400 allowance-race win Nov. 1 over the synthetic surface at Wolverhampton in England, crushed 11 rivals in the UAE Derby on Saturday night in Dubai, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Asmar.

Toast of New York had earned $8,115 coming into the UAE Derby, but took home the winner’s share of a $2 million purse for his owner, Michael Buckley.

Toast of New York earned 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby with his win and will get into the race if his connections decide to ship. Toast of New York finished a well-beaten fifth making his career debut on turf, but now has won three of four starts on synthetic surfaces. Bred in the United States and purchased at auction for $35,000 as a yearling here, Toast of New York is by the Kingmambo stallion Thewayyouare, and his dam’s grandsire is Danzig. The pedigree hints dirt racing could be an option, and Toast of New York, his owner said, was long ago nominated to the Triple Crown.

“I have no idea what we’ll do,” Buckley said.

English trainer Jamie Osborne, saddling his first runner on a World Cup program, didn’t rule out a Derby trip.

“All options are still open,” Osborne said.

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

Toast of New York appears to have the speed to adapt to American dirt racing. He sat comfortably in second as Safety Check cut out a fair pace, seizing the lead with more than a quarter-mile to run and opening an insurmountable advantage on Asmar with huge midstretch strides. Asmar, who didn’t have the best trip, finished second by 1 1/4 lengths over Emirates Flyer, who nosed out North American betting favorite Giovanni Boldini for third.

Giovanni Boldini could have given trainer Aidan O’Brien his third straight UAE Derby win, but he could make no significant ground on the winner after racing well off the early pace. This was the first UAE Derby at Meydan not won by O’Brien or Godolphin, which saw its top hope in the race, Long John, finish a disappointing sixth.

Toast of New York may or may not be a dirt horse, but he loves synthetics. He won his two starts at Wolverhamptom by 28 lengths combined and was much, much the best among a decent group Saturday. His win was the second straight on the card for jockey Jamie Spencer, who had twice before ridden Toast of New York in England. The winner paid $27.20 in North American wagering and was timed in 1:57.92 for 1 3/16 miles.