Lines of Battle held off a tenacious Elleval to win the UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse March 30, earning 100 points toward a probable start in the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The victory was the second in a row for champion Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien in the race that he won last year with Daddy Long Legs. A son of War Front —Black Speck, by Arch, bred in Kentucky by Joseph Allen, Lines of Battle races for the partnership of Allen, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
"We wanted the race to be a true test, but it wasn't because of the slow pace, which made it a good win under the circumstances," O'Brien said. "We are very pleased with him and will now go to the Kentucky Derby."
Ridden by Ryan Moore in his first start since finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park last Nov. 3, Lines of Battle improved to 3-1-0 in six starts with his victory in the $2 million UAE Derby.
Shuruq was quickest out of the gate and was on the lead before being passed by Law Enforcement after 400 meters in the race contested at about 1 3/16 miles over Meydan's Tapeta artificial surface.
Lines of Battle, forwardly placed toward the outside, took a brief lead only to be passed at the 800-meter mark by the Snowboarder, a Kentucky-bred son of Raven's Pass owned by Godolphin Racing. As Snowboarder faded, Lines of Battle took charge and withstood the challenge from Elleval to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 2:02.07. Favored Secret Number, another son of Raven's Pass racing for Godolphin, finished third.
The pace was slow, with the first 400 meters (quarter mile) in :27.06 and :52.92 for a half mile.
"It was a farce of a race," Moore said of the set-up. "They only cantered to half way. And my horse was only doing what he needed to. I think he was just the best horse in the race."
He's Had Enough , along with the winner one of two Triple Crown nominees in the field, failed to justify his connections' decision to send the Tapit colt to Dubai in search of points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up competes for Reddam Racing and is trained by Doug O'Neil, the same connections who won the 2012 Kentucky Derby with I'll Have Another . He's Had Enough finished next-to-last in the 12-horse field while breaking from the far outside post.
Snowboarder held fourth, followed by Law Enforcement, Zahee, Dice Flavor, Now Spun, Kelai Leone, Shuruq, He's Had Enough, and Emotif.