Daddy Long Legs held off the late challenges of Yang Tse Kiang and Wrote to win the $2 million UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse March 31.
The 3-year-old colt by Scat Daddy was ridden to victory by Colm O’Donoghue. The chestnut was one of two colts in the race trained by Aidan O’Brien for the partnership of Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, along with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) winner Wrote.
After the race, O’Brien indicated that Daddy Long Legs might be pointed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 5.
“Obviously we would have to think about that,” O’Brien said. “He’s American-bred, he’s by Scat Daddy who tend to be all about speed, but the way he has matured physically I think he will get the trip.
“That was the plan, to come here with the two of them and then see if we had a Kentucky Derby contender,” O’Brien continued. “The lads (Coolmore) will speak about it but you’d be looking that way with him at the moment.”
Daddy Long Legs was bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds. He is out of the stakes winning Meadowlake mare Dreamy Maiden.
A field of 14 entered the starting gate for the UAE Derby, with Wrote going off as the slight 3-1 favorite. Team Valor’s Lucky Chappy, who entered the race off a nose defeat to Daddy Nose Best in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) Feb. 18, was the second choice of the bettors at 7-2.
Godolphin’s Helmet broke the sharpest and was sent straight to the front from the outside by Kerrin McEvoy. Daddy Long Legs sat just off them in second, with Maritimer and Wrote just behind the front pair in third and fourth, respectively.
Helmet continued to lead the way throughout the race, with O’Donoghue keeping Daddy Long Legs just off his flank in second. As the field rounded the far turn and hit the top of the stretch O’Donoghue made his move and Daddy Long Legs responded immediately, charging past Helmet to take the lead.
Wrote moved into second under Ryan Moore and briefly looked to be the main threat to his stablemate. But the colt couldn’t sustain his bid, eventually having to settle for third behind the late-closing Yang Tse Kiang.
At the wire it was Daddy Long Legs by 1 1/4 lengths over Yang Tse Kiang, with Wrote three-quarters of a length farther back in third. Lucky Chappy was never a factor and finished seventh.
Final time for the 1 3/16-miles was 1:58.35 over the Tapeta main course.