Filly Divine Image Listed as Morning-Line Favorite in Dubai Kentucky Derby Prep Race

Posted on: March 29, 2019, 07:22h. 

Last updated on: March 29, 2019, 07:23h.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes to the air this weekend as one of the two major prep races takes place in Dubai.

Divine Image, seen here winning the Al Bastakiya at Meydan Racecourse earlier this month, is the morning-line favorite in Saturday’s UAE Derby at the same track. (Image: Erika Rasmussen/Dubai Racing Club)

The UAE Derby offers 100 qualifying points to the winner of Saturday’s 1-3/16-mile race at Meydan Racecourse. The second-place finisher receives 40, which should be enough for an entry in the Kentucky Derby. However, it remains to be seen whether the connections for any of these colts or fillies will decide to make to Louisville in May.

The class of field appears to be a filly.

Divine Image drew the sixth gate in the 14-horse field. The Charles Appleby-trained filly has won three of her four starts. That includes her last start in the Al Bastakiya at Meydan three weeks ago, where she beat the boys by more than seven lengths with an outstanding stretch drive.

She is a great finisher,” Appleby said after the dominating win. “She’s very talented, learning on the job.”

She already has enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Oaks, thanks to her win in February’s UAE Oaks. However, according to UPI racing reporter Robert Kieckhefer, Appleby may hold off on bringing her to the States until this summer.

She’s the morning-line favorite with 2-1 odds at

Walking Thunder drew the inside gate and is the second choice at 5-1. Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, the colt won the first three races of his career before finishing second in the 1-mile UAE 2000 Guineas on Feb. 7 at Meydan.

Post time for the UAE Derby is 10:05 am ET. TVG will broadcast the race.

Derby Double Seems Unlikely

Fillies have a long history of racing in the Kentucky Derby, dating back to the first race in 1875. There have been 40 to do so in the race’s 144-year history. Devil May Care was the last, racing in 2010.

Three fillies have ended up wearing the Garland of Roses. The last being Winning Colors in 1988.

That track record is actually better than the winners of the UAE Derby who come over to race.

China Visit won the first UAE Derby in 2000. He went to Louisville weeks later and finished sixth, representing the best finish for 10 who have tried. Mendelssohn, last year’s UAE winner, finished last at Churchill Downs.

Neither William Hill nor list the filly among their futures betting options for the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs did not include her in their Oaks futures pool earlier this month.

Walking Thunder has 100-1 odds at USRacing.

Opportunities for Value

With horses coming from across the world, it may be a little difficult to gauge how they truly stack up against each other. That could open the door for some double-digit odds on quality horses.

Plus Que Parfait comes to Dubai from the States, where he faltered badly in the Lecomte and Risen Star at Fair Grounds Race Course. However, the Brendan Walsh-trained colt finished in the money in the four races before that. His connections also like the way he’s taken to Dubai.

“He’s feeling great and doing absolutely wonderful since he arrived from South Florida,” said Tommy Molloy, an assistant trainer for Walsh. “He’s full of energy. So, we’re over the moon.”

His morning line odds are 15-1, and he’ll race from the fourth gate.

Next to him in the fifth slot is Japanese colt Derma Louvre. Starting at 12-1 odds, he does have three wins in six races. His last five starts include thee wins, a second- and a third-place finish.