Dominguin Ready to Strut Stuff in UAE Derby

Peruvian champion Dominguin will look to his keep record unblemished when he takes the gate for the $2-million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.

A lucky field of 13 will line up for the nine-furlong race, including Winstar Farm's Well Armed and the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Invasor. Godolphin will send out Discreet Cat.

Dominguin will break from post five under jockey John Velazquez.

Velazquez' agent, former jockey Angel Cordero Jr., was on the colt March 20 when he got his first tour of the racetrack, getting a half-mile breeze in :49.70. Dominguin returned to the track Wednesday night for a jog and to become better acquainted with the lights.

The UAE Derby will mark the first start for Dominguin under the care of trainer Dante Zanelli Jr., who took over conditioning duties of the 2005 Peruvian champion 2-year-old who was privately purchased by Dr. Kurt Jaenicke's Ocean Breeze Stable.

Coming into the UAE Derby, Dominguin is riding a five-race win streak, including a 4 3/4-length score in the Clasico Luis Olaechea Du Bois (Per-III).

"He was the real deal in Peru, and the goal when we bought him was to come to Dubai," Jaenicke said. "I'm trying to stay even keel and not get my hopes up. I just want to get through the day with the horse in good condition and I can say it was a good day."

Jaenicke, who lives and practices medicine near Ashland, Ky., recently purchased Evergreen Training Center near Camden, S.C, where Dante Zanelli Sr., is the farm manager.

Peruvian-bred Dominguin was purchased on the advice of Dante Zanelli Jr., whose uncle Juan Suarez Jr. conditioned the horse in his native land.

"Dante's uncle said Dominguin was the best horse he has ever trained and he has had several good horses over the years," the owner said. "Hopefully this is my get lucky horse. So far he's done everything right."

The Zanelli family has quite the reputation on the racetrack in Peru. Dante Zanelli's maternal grandfather, Juan Suarez Sr., conditioned Peruvian champion Santorin II, winner of the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini in 1973. His racetrack ties extend even farther; another uncle, a former jockey, is the father of California-based rider Jose Valdivia Jr., and an aunt is married to former jockey Fernando Toro.

The field for the $2-million UAE Derby (UAE-II) includes:
1--Flamme De Passion (Yutake Take)
2--Invasor (Richard Hills)
3--Gaburin (Olivier Peslier)
4-- Gold For Sale (Mick Kanane)
5--Dominguin (Velazquez)
6--My Royal Captain (Eddie Ahern)
7--Testimony (Garret Gomez)
8--Unification (Kerrin McEvoy)
9--Discreet Cat (Frankie Dettori)
10-- Where's That Tiger (Weichong Marwing)
11-- Well Armed (Ryan Moore)
12--Simpatico Bribon (Johnny Murtagh)
13-- Jackson (M. Almeida)

Most Popular Stories