Tipsheet: UAE Derby 2023

March 24th, 2023

A deep field of 13 sophomores will travel 1 3/16 miles on the Dubai dirt in the $1 million UAE Derby (G2) on Saturday. The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series contest will reward the top-five finishers with qualifying points on a 100-40-30-20-10 basis.

UAE Derby Selections

  • #3 Cairo
  • #11 Perriere
  • #13 Worcester
  • #6 Dura Erede

UAE Derby Wagers

  • $1 trifecta: 3 with 6, 11, 13 with all
  • $1 trifecta: 6, 11, 13 with 3 with all
  • $2 exacta: box 3, 6, 11, 13

UAE Derby Contenders

#1 ES-UNICO: A Group 2 hero who has run a pair of solid races in the desert this season and has to be given a chance on this occasion. The Brazilian-bred son of War Secretary stayed on to be a solid fourth in the Saudi Derby (G3) most recently and could be any kind with the added ground in this spot, though he gives away weight as a southern hemisphere-bred. 

#2 AH JEEZ: The first of two from the Doug O’Neill shedrow was a listed winner at Meydan last time out and rates a chance with improvement on this occasion. The bay will likely be forwardly placed from the start with Tyler Gaffalione in the controls.

#3 CAIRO: This Coolmore homebred has been first or second in each of his five lifetime tries to date for Aidan O’Brien. The Quality Road colt is bred to love the distance and will be a major contender if he takes to the dirt in his first try on the surface. Ryan Moore coming in to ride is a major positive.

#4 CONTINUAR: The $700,000 son of Drefrong was an even fifth in the Saudi Derby most recently and will appreciate the extended trip on this day. Yoshito Yahagi's pupil is already proven at nine panels and could be the best value play in the heat with Sakai riding.

#5 DERMA SOTOGAKE: The Saudi Derby third had won three straight prior to his first desert venture for trainer Hidetaka Otonashi. The chestnut grandson of Posse has shown obvious improvement since moving to the dirt and gets a big rider change to Christophe Lemaire for Saturday.

#6 DURA EREDE: The Japanese Group 1 victor makes the turf-to-dirt move for Manabu Ikezoe. The $910,000 yearling purchase came out on top in his lone try on the dirt in his career, and the son of Duramente has definite appeal while making his 2023 debut. Christian Demuro will be in the stirrups.

#7 GO SOLDIER GO: The Dubai-based colt gamely bagged the Al Bastakiya S. here most recently but will need a forward move in order to upset this deep field. The son of Tapiture will do his best running from off of the early pace with regular pilot Adrie de Vries in the stirrups.

#8 GORAIKO: Fifth in the Hyacinth S. at Tokyo in his latest offering, this Japanese colt will need a lifetime best to challenge in this race. The talented bay retains the services of Yuga Kawada. 

#9 LAHRESH: The bay colt was outrun in the Al Bastakiya most recently and would be a major surprise on Saturday. The colt performed well in his first two outings at Meydan but looks outclassed in this run.

#10 MR RAJ: Finished a game second on the oval last time out and has some exotics appeal for Ahmad bin Harmash. The Bolt d'Oro colt showed early interest most recently and will be put into the race from the break by Ray Dawson.

#11 PERRIERE: The Henny Hughes colt has been well backed in each career run to date and looms a major chance while making his local debut for Yoichi Kuroiwa. The Hyacinth S. victor is three-for-four in his career and seems poised to thrive going beyond one-mile. Oisin Murphy will be in the silks.

#12 TALL BOY: Broke his maiden in the UAE Guineas (G3) in his most recent offering for O'Neill. The improving son of Lookin at Lucky took to the surface in his 2023 bow, but he will need to prove it against a field of this capacity prior to being backed by me. William Buick gets the repeat assignment.

#13 WORCESTER: The Empire Maker maiden has run into some fine foes in advance of this assignment and makes sense for a potent barn with this kind of runner. The bay finished a solid third at Santa Anita last time out and will be a serious player with any kind of forward move off that showing. Frankie Dettori will take the reins atop the contender.