Americans to join the fray this week include a member of 'Team Gun Runner,' Winchell Thoroughbreds' Steve Asmussen-trained Reride. Like Gun Runner, a son of Candy Ride, the game colt has two consecutive stakes wins and impressively took the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park last out in the desert of New Mexico.
Reride may be joined by fellow U.S.-based colts All Out Blitz and Machismo. The former is multiple graded stakes-placed with the latter just finished a respectable fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2), a historically high-class Kentucky Derby prep over 1700m at Gulfstream Park.
Last week, much of the racing world had its eyes on an unexpected place, Dundalk Stadium in Ireland, as blueblood Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn began his Kentucky Derby (G1) trail in the 1600m all-weather event.
Closing well on the inside, the half-brother to Beholder led home a 1-2-3 for Coolmore partners and trainer Aidan O'Brien, with all three –including runner-up Threeandfourpence and third-placed Seahenge– aiming for the $2 million UAE Derby sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) over 1900m on March 31st.
Locally, Satish Seemar-conditioned Yulong Warrior dismantled the field in the Listed $250,000 Al Bastakiya over the UAE Derby's course and distance. The son of Street Cry has continued to improve as the distances have increased and looms a danger in the big event if he continues on his current trajectory.
Interestingly enough, the second-place finish by Norway's Nordic Defense in the Al Bastakiya could add yet another nation to a global event that already likely has representatives from the USA, UAE, Ireland and Japan.
Meanwhile Gold Town awaits in the wings as the possible race day favourite day on the strength of unchallenged romps in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial and UAE 2000 Guineas (G3).
Current UAE Derby Possibles (not necessarily invitees): Mendelssohn, Taiki Ferveur, Machismo, Reride, Ruggero, Gold Town, Seahenge, Threeandfourpence, Gotti, Masar, All Out Blitz, Yulong Warrior, Last Voyage, Nordic Defense
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