Comes On Late Under Jose Ortiz
By Dick Downey
The UAE Derby at Meydan produced a United States-based exacta with Plus Que Parfait prevailing over Gray Magician by three-quarters of a length.
Plus Que Parfait and Gray Magician were never far from the pace set by longshot filly Swift Rose, who was most closely pursued by Stubbins around the far turn of the 1 3/16-mile race. Walking Thunder, favored Divine Image and Superior chased the early pace but fell back as the field turned for home.
At that point, Swift Rose was about to surrender the lead. Manguzi, who tracked the early pace after breaking from the disadvantageous outside post 14 under Fernando Jara, came wide and took command about 3/16-mile out. Plus Que Parfait and Jose Ortiz got by on the inside around the furlong marker. Nearing the wire, Gray Magician surged to get up for second. Manguzi was third, beaten a length. Derma Louvre was another 5 1/4 lengths back in fourth.
The winning time was 1:58.41. Jose Ortiz continued to have a very good day with his second win on the card, and trainer Brendan Walsh was rewarded for mapping out the path to Dubai along with ownership group Imperial Racing.
With the victory, 100 Kentucky Derby points were awarded to Plus Que Parfait, running his total to 104.
Gray Magician got 40 points, and his total is now 41. Manguzi would have 20 points if late-nominated to the Triple Crown by the April 1 deadline, which is unlikely. Derma Louvre picked up 10 points.
Plus Que Parfait is a cinch to have enough Kentucky Derby points to make the Derby starting gate.
With 41 points, Gray Magician would be highly like to have enough points as well, but early word after the race was that Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners co-owner Aron Wellman said Gray Magician is "highly unlikely" for the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Peter Miller said from Meydan, "It's not out of the question."
The remaining order of finish after the top four: Swift Rose, Stubbins, Walking Thunder, Superior, Van Beethoven, Razeena, Jahbath, Al Hayette, Divine Image and Golden Jaguar.
In U. S. betting, Plus Que Parfait was sent off at 8-1 odds and returned backers $19.60 to win, $7.00 to place and $6.40 to show. Gray Magician paid $8.00 to place and $6.80 to show. Manguzi paid $16.40 to show.
The result was quite a turnaround for Plus Que Parfait, who was last seen finishing 13th in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. The winner's share of the $2.5 million UAE Derby purse is $1.5 million.
To read more about Plus Que Parfait, his background and connections, click here.
Emirates Racing Chart
POST RACE QUOTES
Brendan Walsh, Trainer, PLUE QUE PARFAIT (1st): “This is huge. Jose gave him such a great ride, and what a night for him with two winners. This has been the plan for quite awhile and his owners are based out here. We said if things didn’t work out to get to the Kentucky Derby, then we would come here. He had a bad day the last time he ran, but we didn’t hold it against him and it has worked out. Brilliant.”
Jose Ortiz, Jockey, PLUS QUE PARFAIT (1st): “I have a nice horse. He was running well and around the turn I was trying to find spaces. I was happy that I saved the whole ground in the race. And when I was able to find a way through, he responded really well, so I am very happy and very happy for Brendan. He deserves it. Brendan, he works so hard, and he gave me so many shots, and we haven’t been lucky and now I was able to deliver for him. To win means a lot. It’s tough to come all the way and win and I have been blessed to have two winners, so I am very happy.”
Peter Miller, Trainer, GRAY MAGICIAN (2nd): “ I thought he’d run a big race and he looked like a winner at the, but maybe Joel didn’t see the horse coming up on the inside because he didn’t use the whip in the last strides. Still, I’m very proud of the horse. It’s not likely that he’ll go for the Kentucky Derby, but he’s got 40 points so it’s not out of the question.”
Joel Rosario, Jockey, GRAY MAGICIAN (2nd): “He’s run his best race. I thought he was moving like a winner in the stretch, and we got momentum when he went to the front, but the other horse has come on strong.”
Fernando Jara, Jockey, MANGUZI (3rd): “From the 14 post, I couldn’t be more happy – doing it from that draw. He has been so good to us this year, he’s so consistent. We’re looking forward to next season, hopefully he’ll keep improving.”
Christophe Lemaire, Jockey, DERMA LOUVRE (4th): “We had a good trip behind the horse who finished third. He was not fast enough out of the gate, and it took time to find his rhythm, but he finished well.”
Patrick Cosgrave, Jockey, SWIFT ROSE (5th): “Super run. We were drawn wide so I had to sacrifice some juice to be up on the pace. With a lower draw we could have waited a little longer and finished closer but she’s a lovely filly with a future.”
Flavien Prat, Jockey, STUBBINS (6th): “He was up on the pace, but the distance is too far for him, and he got tired.”
Frankie Dettori, Jockey, WALKING THUNDER (7th): “I had a good position, but my horse didn’t stay, just faded on me.”
Connor Beasley, Jockey, SUPERIOR (8th): “He travelled very well, but once they quickened away on the bend, he kept on the one pace. It’s only the fourth start of his life. He’s going to be a nice horse for next year for sure.”
Ryan Moore, Jockey, VAN BEETHOVEN (9th): “Missed the break.”
Patrick Dobbs, Jockey, RAZEENA (10th): “She jumped a little bit slow and my race was over from there. She doesn’t like the kickback.”
Jim Crowley, Jockey, JAHBATH (11th): “He didn’t have the gate speed or tactical speed that you need in that sort of race. It is a very different style of racing to what he is used to in England, and he was beaten before the home turn.”
Fabrice Veron, Jockey, AL HAYETTE (12th: "My filly was a filly against the colts and it showed. She had a very bad draw today, and I needed to ask a lot from her. In the straight, she took a breath and then she came again, so that was good. I think she’s a filly that will win a good race, but this was too soon.”
William Buick, Jockey, DIVINE IMAGE (13th): “She just sat back as the gates opened and I had to give her a bit of a squeeze, but we ended up in a good spot. I had to work for it a little bit. She felt OK down the back, but approaching the last turn, about half a mile out, she came underneath me and had kind of ran her race. It was disappointing.”
Oisin Murphy, Jockey, GOLDEN JAGUAR (14th): “I’d love to see him back on turf over seven furlongs or a mile. He’s quite a nice horse, and that won’t have done him any harm, but he just didn’t adapt to the trip and the dirt today.”