Derma Sotogake cruised to a UAE Derby triumph Saturday, ensuring the Japan-based colt a spot in the Kentucky Derby 2023 starting gates.
Under jockey Christophe Lemaire, Derma Sotogake covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.81 at Meydan Racecourse. After going off at 6-1 odds, the 3-year-old Mind Your Biscuits colt assumed the lead into the first turn and never surrendered it, returning $14.50 on a $2 win bet.
???? It's a Japan 1-2-3-4 in the UAE Derby! ??
Derma Sotogake takes the glory under @christo68914587 for Hidetaka Otonashi
#?? | #?????????? | @RacingDubai | #DWC23 pic.twitter.com/bXYS9sBVIt— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 25, 2023
The Group 2, $1 million UAE Derby awards Kentucky Derby points to its top five finishers on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale.
“Of course,” owner Hiroyuki Asanuma said when asked on the Dubai World Cup (G1) card world broadcast feed whether Derma Sotogake’s next stop would be the Kentucky Derby.
Hidetaka Otonashi trains Derma Sotogake for Asanuma. The colt also sports two Japan stakes wins on his ledger and was third Feb. 25 on the Saudi Cup (G1) undercard in the Saudi Derby (G3).
??DERMA SOTOGAKE is #KyDerby bound! pic.twitter.com/BEe6Hl6hai— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) March 25, 2023
“I hope he goes to America and I would love to ride him there," Lemaire said. "How could anyone refuse that?”
Following Derma Sotogake was runner-up Dura Erede, 5 1/2 lengths back of the winner. Third-place runner Continuar was followed by fourth-place finisher Perriere.
Those 3-year-olds, who all hail from Japan, are all Triple Crown-nominated and therefore collected Kentucky Derby points with their efforts Saturday.
Cairo won the Patton Stakes on Europe's points-paying Derby trail but was 10th in the UAE Derby as a 2-1 favorite.
"It was his first run on dirt and he just didn't enjoy himself," jockey Ryan Moore said.
Worcester, a Bob Baffert-trained maiden, settled for 11th place. He was ineligible to pick up Derby points in this race due to Baffert's Churchill Downs suspension.
The UAE Derby has been unproductive as a Kentucky Derby prep. None of the 18 Derby starters who prepped in this event have ever hit the board at Churchill Downs.
2022 UAE Derby graduates Crown Pride and Summer Is Tomorrow finished 13th and 20th, respectively, last year in Kentucky. Those Japan-based runners were both part of the rapid early pace that opened the door for Rich Strike’s late-running upset.
Hours after the UAE Derby, two other Kentucky Derby preps will run Saturday afternoon. The $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds and $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park both award Derby points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale.