Thunder Snow, the winner of the March 25 UAE Derby Sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) at Meydan Racecourse, has been confirmed for the May 6 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), Godolphin Racing announced April 29.
"Sheikh Mohammed has made the decision to run Thunder Snow in the Kentucky Derby," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. "The horse is in good form. He is sound, healthy, and working really well, and I am so happy with him.
"It is great to see another horse from Godolphin travel to the Kentucky Derby, as it is one of the best races in the world."
Bin Suroor will saddle his seventh runner in the Kentucky Derby. His best effort came when China Visit finished sixth behind Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. Godolphin's best finish in the Kentucky Derby came when the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Frosted ran fourth behind eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015.
A Godolphin homebred, Thunder Snow prevailed by a short head over Epicharis after a long stretch battle in the UAE Derby. The son of Australian sire Helmet ended his 2-year-old season with a win in the seven-furlong Criterium International (G1) at Saint-Cloud in France Oct. 30 and did not run again until the UAE Two Thousand Guineas Sponsored By District One Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City (G3) over the Dubai dirt course Feb. 23, winning by 5 3/4 lengths.
Godolphin paid the $6,000 late nomination fee for the Triple Crown the week before Thunder Snow's UAE Derby victory.
"He was the leading horse in England last year and he won a group 1 in France," Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock adviser, John Ferguson, said of Thunder Snow after his UAE Derby win. "He's a homebred, so he is very dear to our hearts."
Bin Suroor added that Thunder Snow will quarantine for two days upon his arrival in the U.S. and "then it will be back to his normal routine." The colt is slated to arrive April 30, flying from Dubai to Cincinnati and then vanning to Louisville.
Jockey Christophe Soumillon will have the mount.
"Thunder Snow has improved a lot and it would be brilliant to see him run well," bin Suroor said.