Derma Sotogake put on a front-running show in the UAE Derby (Photo by Dubai Racing Club)
Derma Sotogake led home a Japanese sweep of Saturday’s $1 million UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan, and owner Hiroyuki Asanuma immediately confirmed that the Kentucky Derby (G1) is next.
“Of course!” Asanuma beamed when asked that question in the winner’s circle, after his Triple Crown nominee turned a competitive race into a front-running rout.
While pre-race speculation was whether favorite Cairo could emulate trainer Aidan O’Brien’s conquering hero of 2018, Mendelssohn, Derma Sotogake was the one who delivered that style of performance. His time for about 1 3/16 miles, 1:55.81, was just off Mendelssohn’s track record of 1:55.18.
The son of Mind Your Biscuits, a two-time winner of the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on World Cup night
, had never set the pace in his prior starts. But jockey Christophe Lemaire decided to capitalize on his rail draw, and Derma Sotogake proved that he had the early speed to pull it off.
Cairo was quick into stride, with the intent to lead in his dirt debut, but Derma Sotogake was too fast. Fellow Japanese shipper Dura Erede tracked in second, and compatriot Continuar was well placed in an outside fourth. Cairo wasn’t able to maintain his position stalking on the inside, and the favorite beat a retreat.
Derma Sotogake was still on cruise control turning for home, and he kicked away from Dura Erede and Continuar who boxed on for the minor awards. Crossing the wire 5 1/2 lengths clear, he banked 100 points on the main leaderboard. Derma Sotogake had also scored 20 points on the Japan Road through his victory in the Dec. 14 Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun
. According to the rules, these UAE Derby points can be applied to the Japan leaderboard as well.
The rest of the Japanese superfecta is also Triple Crown-nominated. Runner-up Dura Erede picked up 40 points for finishing 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Continuar, who earned 30 points. Continuar had 10 Japan Road points to his credit as the winner of the Nov. 26 Cattleya S
Fourth-placer Perriere, the Hyacinth S
. winner who had 36 Japan Road points, received 20 points here. That combined total would put him second on the Japan leaderboard to Derma Sotogake.
Go Soldier Go, a Dubai-based sophomore who wasn’t an early Triple Crown nominee, took fifth and its 10 points. Mr Raj, Es-Unico, Lahresh, Tall Boy, Cairo, Worcester, Goraiko, and Ah Jeez rounded out the order of finish.
The Shadai Farm-bred Derma Sotogake has compiled a record of 8-4-0-2. The Hidetaka Otonashi pupil was coming off a third in the Feb. 25 Saudi Derby
Derma Sotogake is out of the stakes-winning Amour Poesie, by the Sunday Silence stallion Neo Universe.