De Kock Set For Kentucky Derby

"We'll be there!"



Already a starter in England and Dubai, it’s hello Kentucky for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Mubtaahij after the son of Dubawi overwhelmed nine rivals in the $2 million Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group UAE Derby (UAE-II) Saturday, March 28 at Meydan.

After Mubtaahij drew off in the stretch to score a the easy victory in Saturday’s race and improve to four wins in five starts on the Meydan dirt, his South African-based trainer Mike de Kock said he’d work on learning the words to My Old Kentucky Home. The UAE Derby is a 100-point race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, ensuring the Irish-bred two-time stakes winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) field.

“This has given us a chance to get to the Kentucky Derby,” said de Kock, who has enjoyed tremendous international success but will be making his Kentucky Derby debut. “We’ll be there.”

Sent off as the favourite in the about 1 3/16-mile race under Christophe Soumillon, Mubtaahij saved ground until he was angled out for the stretch drive, quickly taking command and drawing off to the easy win while geared down late. Godolphin Racing’s well-beaten Maftool edged Hirotsugu Inokuma and Katsumi Yoshida’s Golden Barrows, a Kentucky-bred son of Tapit, for second.

“I was just behind the leaders and the pace was good, so I followed it into the straight,” Soumillon said. “I was going very easily and as soon as I pressed the button it was all over. In the end, I kept some energy for the future, especially if he goes to the Kentucky Derby.”

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