Plans Being Made For Johannesburg's Derby Prep

The new race at England's Lingfield Park in which champion Johannesburg will have his lone Kentucky Derby prep on April 6 will be sponsored by Australian brewer Foster's, according to an announcement from Arena Leisure.

The race will have a £50,000 purse and will be run over Lingfield's Polytrack all-weather surface. The race will be named the Foster's-International Trial Stakes.

"Trainer Aidan O'Brien's decision to give unbeaten champion Johannesburg his lone Kentucky Derby prep race over the all-weather Polytrack surface at Arena Leisure's Lingfield Park has heightened the already keen interest in the colt's Derby preparations among American racing fans," said Karl Schmitt, senior vice president of communications at Churchill Downs. "Observers on these shores are following Johannesburg's training schedule with great enthusiasm and, in some quarters, a good bit of scepticism. But there's no doubt that Mr. O'Brien's decision to prep the colt on the all-weather course at Lingfield is an intriguing new factor for American fans to consider as they assess his chances for a successful return to the United States for the May 4 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs."

Arena Leisure said it is unknown which other horses will contest the race that has drawn unbeaten Johannesburg.

Owned by Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier, Johannesburg is undefeated in seven career starts and has earned just over $1-million.