American interests He's Had Enough and Dice Flavor take on top Godolphin contender Secret Number in the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) March 30 at Meydan, three of 12 sophomores entered for the 1900-meter (about 1 3/16 miles) Tapeta event.
He's Had Enough and Coolmore's Lines of Battle are the only Triple Crown nominees in the field for an event worth 100 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The former, a 3-year-old son of Tapit trained by Doug O'Neill for Reddam Racing, ran his best effort when missing by a head to Shanghai Bobby in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) but was fifth last time out in the Feb. 23 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II). The latter, by War Front , starts for trainer Aidan O'Brien for the first time since a seventh-place finish in the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT).
He's Had Enough's only win thus far came on an all-weather surface, when he broke his maiden last summer at Del Mar. He will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, who piloted I'll Have Another to victory for the same connections last year in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Lines of Battle also turned in a solid performance on a synthetic track, taking the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F Star Appeal Stakes last October at Dundalk in Ireland. Ryan Moore gets the mount.
Dice Flavor comes off a strong 3 3/4-length score in the Feb. 16 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields over the same Tapeta surface he will traverse in Dubai. The Scat Daddy colt is trained by Paddy Gallagher for Oda Racing Stablae and US Equine and will have Jose Valdivia Jr. in the irons.
Secret Number won the March 9 Al Bastakiya Sponsored by Emirates Skywards over the track going the UAE Derby distance, making his first start of the year for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The son of Raven's Pass is undefeated in just two outings.
In the Al Bastakiya, Secret Number overcame a slow break and wide trip to win by two lengths drawing away and overpowered fellow UAE Derby contenders Zahee, a son of Dylan Thomas trained by Mick de Kock, and the Raven's Pass colt Snowboarder, both of whom had earlier placed in the UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-II).
Also coming back from that race into the UAE Derby are Damian Lavelle's fourth-place finisher Elleval, a son of Kodiac trained by David Marnane, and the Giant's Causeway filly Emotif, who ran fifth for de Kock. The two de Kock trainees, owned by Sheikh Mohd bin Khalifa Al Maktoumare, are Northern Hemisphere 4-year-olds and are therefore ineligible for the Kentucky Derby.
Emotif is one of two fillies in the field. The other is UAE Oaks Sponsored by Al Dana Wealth Management (UAE-III) victress Shuruq, trained by bin Suroor for Godolphin, who will attempt to complete the Oaks-Derby double as Khawlah did for the same connections in 2011. Shuruq, by Elusive Quality, was a close second in the UAE One Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Gulf News, and in the Guineas itself, before breaking through with a four-length romp in the Oaks.
Mahmood al Zarooni, who trains Snowboarder for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohd Al Maktoum, will also send out Godolphin's Hard Spun colt Now Spun, winner of the Meydan Classic Sponsored by Shahrazad Ladies Banking on turf in February last out. Completing the field are Mohamed Saeed Al Shahi's Law Enforcement, a son of Lawman who won Italy's group I Gran Criterium last October for trainer Richard Hannon, and Keiai Leone, Kazuhiro Kameda's Henny Hughes colt who was winner of three straight in Japan before finishing ninth last time out in the Feb. 17 Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo.
$2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II), 3YOs, 1 3/16 miles (all-weather track)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Law Enforcement, Richard Hughes, R. Hannon
2. Elleval, Fergal Lynch, D. Marnane
3. Now Spun, Mickael Barzalona, M Al Zarooni
4. Lines Of Battle, Ryan Moore, A O'Brien
5. Dice Flavor, Jose Valdivia Jr, P Gallagher
6. Emotif, Patrick Cosgrave, M de Kock
7. Secret Number, Silvestre De Sousa, S bin Suroor
8. Zahee, Christophe Soumillon, M de Kock
9. Shuruq, Paul Hanagan, S bin Suroor
10. Keiai Leone, Hideaki Miyuki, K Nishiura
11. Snowboarder, William Buick, M Al Zarooni
12. He's Had Enough, Mario Gutierrez, D O'Neill