By Dick Downey
Updated 11:17 a.m. ET
Daddy Long Legs took the lead at the top of the stretch and maintained it to the finish to win the Group 2 UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday.
Timed in 1:58.35 for the 1 3/16 mile on the synthetic Tapeta surface, the son of Scat Daddy was ridden by Colm O'Donoghue and is trained by Aiden O'Brien. He and stable mate Wrote, who finished third, both appear to be Kentucky Derby-bound, according to comments made by O'Brien after the race.
"Yeah, that was the plan," O'Brien said. "Let the two of them come here and see if we have a Kentucky Derby contender. We're looking at them at the moment."
Daddy Long Legs and Wrote both have plenty of earnings for the first Saturday in May. Daddy Long Legs came away from the race with a prize of $1,200,000 from the $2 million UAE Derby purse. That pushed his total graded stakes money to $1,294,030.
Wrote won $200,000 in the UAE Derby and now has $756,630 in graded earnings.
Running second, beaten 1 1/4 length, was the French 3-year-old Yang Tse Kiang. Report is that he'll be aimed to Classic races in his homeland. His share of the purse was $400,000.
Wrote finished three parts of a length behind Yang Tse Kiang.
Mickdaam, the Al Bastakiya winner trained by Mike de Kock, finished fourth.
Daddy Longs Legs was sent off at 10-1 odds at TwinSpires.com. Yang Tse Kiang was 23-1; Wrote was 7-2; and Mickdaam was 4-1.
Lucky Chappy, the American-based 3-1 favorite at post time, was shuffled back after the start and didn't show his usual punch. He finished seventh. Lucky Chappy was all but ruled out of Kentucky Derby consideration on March 24 by Barry Irwin of Team Valor International.
It was the first race of 2011 for both Daddy Long Legs and Wrote. Last time out, Daddy Long Legs finished twelfth of 13 in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, while Wrote won the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf the same day.
Daddy Long Legs was washed out at the gate in Dubai. Wrote reportedly has grown and filled out since last November.
Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor own Daddy Long Legs. Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC, Daddy Long Legs is out of Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake.
Colm O’Donoghue (Daddy Long Legs, 1st) – “Had a dream run in second. He quickened really well. It’s a great training effort by Aidan to win this in his first run of the season against horses who were already primed and at their best. Hopefully he can keep improving from this. I think he can.”
Thierry Jarnet (Yang Tse Kiang, 2nd) – “They went a good pace. My horse followed easily, travelling all right and coming into the straight, I slowly took him to the outside and he did everything he could. It’s like a victory for us and I’m very happy for the trainer.”
Ryan Moore (Wrote, 3rd) – “I had a decent position. Just felt like he might have been forward a bit better in the straight. I suppose it was a decent third.”
Christophe Soumillon (Mickdaam, 4th) – “He wasn’t ready when the starter let them go. The horse next to him came over and crashed into him. He lost any chance.”
Tom Queally (Red Duke, 5th) – “It went OK. We are happy enough with our run.”
John Quinn (trainer, Red Duke, 5th) – “He ran well and was there at the head of the stretch but it may just be that he wants to come back to a mile.”
Christophe Lemaire (Balada Sale, 6th) – “She went well but maybe she needed the race, she hasn’t run for a long time. I had to give her a chance around the last turn but she stayed in 6th or 7th place. She should improve.”
Alan Garcia (Lucky Chappy, 7th) – “I expected him to pick up but the horse wasn’t himself today. It was not the surface.”
Graham Motion (trainer, Lucky Chappy, 7th) – “He didn’t have that punch that he had at Golden Gate. He came steady but didn’t have that kick that he had back home. I thought if he ran back to the race at Golden Gate, he’d have a chance to hit the board. I’m disappointed.”
Kieren Fallon (Burano, 8th) – “The race went well and turning for home I was getting excited but he didn’t finish. He didn’t act on the surface as well as he would have on grass.”
Frankie Dettori (Kinglet, 9th) – “He wasn’t good enough. It’s been a long season and perhaps he was a bit tired.”
Glyn Schofield (Martimer, 11th) – “The race went perfectly. I had a good spot just on the outside of the winner. He travelled sweetly and ran his race.”
Kerrin McEvoy (Helmet, 12th) – “Just disappointed. He didn’t switch off 100 percent in front. Therefore just tired on his finishing.”
Richard Hills (Entifaadha, 13th) – “He over-raced early and didn’t finish.”
Craig Williams (Genten, 14th) – “He got a position and found his rhythm. The distance is a bit long for him and he got a kick back from the different track.”