UAE Derby

UAE Derby Race Facts

  • Location: Meydan Racecourse, Dubai
  • Inaugural Race: 2000
  • Current Distance: 9.5 Furlongs
  • Track Type: Left-Handed Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: 3-year-olds from the Northern & 4-year-olds from the Southern Hemisphere
  • Status: Grade 2
  • 2024 Purse: $1,000,000
  • 2024 Race Date: Saturday, March 30th

At $1,000,000, the UAE Derby is one of the richest races in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series and is one of the most important in terms of qualifying as well, with the first five getting points on a 100-50-25-15-10 basis. That means the winner will certainly earn a start in the Derby, and it’s likely the second-place horse will earn enough points as well.

2024 UAE Derby Results

Forever Young (JPN)
Ryusei Sakai / Yoshito Yahagi
Auto Bahn (ARG)
Mickael Barzalona / Julio Olascoaga
Dylan Davis / Christophe Clement
Mendelssohn Bay (USA)
Patrick Cosgrave / Bhupat Seemar
Navy Seal (IRE)
Wayne Lordan / Aidan O' Brien
Ballon D'or (JPN)
Norihiro Yokoyama / Mikio Matsunaga
Rock Walk (URU)
Joao Moreira / Julio Olascoaga
Guns and Glory (USA)
Jamie Spencer / Bhupat Seemar
Oasis Boy (ARG)
Christophe Soumillon / Julio Olascoaga
George Tesoro (JPN)
Yuga Kawada / Takayuki Kato

Watch the 2024 UAE Derby

UAE Derby Race History

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) Derby is held each year in March as part of the Dubai World Cup Night. It is held at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is a group two flat (level racecourse) horse race held on a dirt surface, left-handed track at a distance of 1 3/16 miles (or 9.5 furlongs). It has also run at distances of nine and ten furlongs. Three-year-olds from both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere are free to compete in the UAE Derby.

There is one proviso: the race is open to southern hemisphere-bred 3-year-olds, who are about six months older than their northern hemisphere counterparts and thus not eligible for the Kentucky Derby. So if they finish in points-earning positions ahead of their northern hemisphere-bred opponents, the points won’t count towards the First Saturday in May.

The inaugural UAE Derby winner China Visit finished sixth in the 2000 Kentucky Derby, but no subsequent winner of the UAE Derby has finished any closer at Churchill Downs. However, horses like Discreet Cat, Toast of New York, and Mubtaahij distinguished themselves in the U.S later in their careers, and Lani subsequently finished third in the Belmont Stakes.

The best performance by a runner came from 2011 runner-up Master of Hounds, who finished fifth in 2011. Two of the UAE Derby winners that started at Churchill Downs – Daddy Long Legs and Thunder Snow – failed to finish, with the latter refusing to join the race in 2017. The race has been dominated by Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor, who has won the race eight times, and by South African trainer Mike de Kock, who has won it six times. Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien has won it three times, while other victories have gone to Britain’s Jamie Osborne (Toast of New York) and Japan’s Mikio Matsunaga (Lani).

The largest field size for the race is 16 (2000 & 2022) and the smallest field size is 9 (2004).

UAE Derby Records

The biggest margin of victory is 12 lengths, which was set by Blues and Royals in 2005.

The record for fastest time at the race is 1:47.04, set by Express Tour in 2001 at the shorter 9-furlong distance. The fastest recorded time at its current 10-furlong distance is 1:55.18, set by Mendelssohn in 2018.

The record for most wins by a jockey is three, held by Christophe Soumillon (2010, 2015, 2017). The record for most wins by a trainer is eight, set by Saeed bin Suroor (2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2017). The horses he trained in each of those victories were owned by Godolphin Racing, and they held that record in tandem with bin Suroor until 2021 when Charlie Appleby guided Rebel's Romance to victory, giving Godolphin a total of nine wins. The 2017 race, won by Thunder Snow, was the first and only time Soumillon, bin Suroor, and Godolphin Racing won the race as a tripod.

UAE Derby Winners

With the race existing only since 2000, the list of notable winners is quite short. A couple of noteworthy UAE Derby winners includes Discreet Cat (2006 Jerome Breeders’ Cup Handicap winner and 1996 Co-World Champion Three-Year-Old), and Thunder Snow (2016 Top-Rated British Two-Year-Old).

Jockey / Trainer
Forever Young
Ryusei Sakai / Yoshito Yahagi
Derma Sotogake
Christophe Patrice Lemaire / Hidetaka Otonashi
Crown Pride
Damian Lane / Koichi Shintani
Rebel's Romance
William T. Buick / Charlie Appleby
Race Cancelled
Plus Que Parfait
José Ortiz / Brendan Walsh
Ryan Moore / Aidan O'Brien
Thunder Snow
Christophe Soumillon / Saeed bin Suroor
Yutaka Take / Mikio Matsunaga
Christophe Soumillon / Mike de Kock