While he finished a much-troubled third to Victory Moon in Saturday's Group II $2 million UAE Derby, Inamorato's trainer said afterward that the colt could still make the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 3.
The Derby is not being considered for the winner, however. Mike de Kock, the trainer of Victory Moon, said after the half-length victory that he was unsure if the South African-bred son of Al Mufti would remain in South Africa or move to Europe or Australia.
Inamorato, a son of Tale of the Cat, was considered Godolphin's best Derby candidate yet after he easily defeated Victory Moon in his previous start, the UAE 2000 Guineas. And he still is, according to trainer Saaed bin Suroor.
He stressed that no decision has been made, but added, "I believe still the horse is good enough to win big races and maybe we will still run in the Kentucky Derby. The horse just didn't have any luck. (Jockey Frankie Dettori) said he was stopped more than once."
Inamorato was 2 3/4 lengths behind his second-place stablemate, Songlark, and 3 1/4 lengths back of the winner.
But he was in extremely close quarters in the run for home and Dettori had to check him on the inside with about two furlongs to run, switching him to the outside while falling back to eighth place, from where he ran on well.
Bin Suroor said that the experience of another race is likely to improve Inamorato. Songlark, whose sire Singspiel won the World Cup on dirt, could also travel to America, bin Suroor said, but is unlikely to be prepared for the Derby.
Victory Moon's trip was also a ragged one. He found trouble on the inside and jockey Wayne Smith switched to the outside for running room, reaching the front while hard ridden in the final 100 yards.
"Things got very tight and I thought the race was over at the top of the straight, but when (he) got clear running I was okay. He is a true champion."