Horse Racing

2024 UAE Derby Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

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numberFire Racing
2024 UAE Derby Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The Road to the Kentucky Derby visits the Middle East on Dubai World Cup night, Saturday, March 30. The UAE Derby (G2) offers a $1 million purse as well as 100-50-25-15-10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points for the top five finishers, assuming they are Northern Hemisphere three-year-olds. (This is worth noting, as three runners are Southern Hemisphere three-year-olds, meaning they are too old to qualify for the Run for the Roses.) The points mean that an eligible UAE Derby winner punches their ticket to Churchill Downs, the second-place finisher likely qualifies as well, and even other horses who run well can make it to the Kentucky Derby if they ran well in other prep races.

The UAE Derby drew a field of 13 horses to go 1900 meters, about 1 3/16 miles, on the Meydan dirt. However, only 11 are expected to run, as Killer Collect and Satono Phoenix have already been declared non-runners. Leaders among the field include impressive Saudi Derby winner Forever Young, Gander Stakes winner Pandagate, and UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) winner Mendelssohn Bay.

Though no UAE Derby winner has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby yet, winners of this race have won other major races around the world on both turf and dirt. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn went on to win the 2018 UAE Derby. Thunder Snow, who won the UAE Derby in 2017, went on to win the Dubai World Cup (G1) each of the next two years. Rebel’s Romance, who won this dirt race in 2021, went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) the next year.

2024 UAE Derby Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, March 30, 2024
  • Track: Meydan Racecourse
  • Post Time: 9:50 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
  • Distance: 1900 meters / 1 3/16 miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-olds
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV, Fox Sports 2
  • Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

UAE Derby Odds

These are the 13 entrants for the 2024 UAE Derby, including betting numbers, post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds. In the United Arab Emirates, unlike in North America, betting numbers and post positions are not the same, so keep that in mind when placing your wagers.

Though the Dubai Racing Club does not offer on-track betting due to local customs and regulations, there is World Pool betting on the UAE Derby, and a morning line has been set in the contest of that international wagering.

ML Odds
111Auto BahnJulio OlascoagaMickael Barzalona25-1
24Oasis BoyJulio OlascoagaChristophe Soumillon30-1
32Rock WalkJulio OlascoagaJoao Moreira16-1
45Ballon d’OrMikio MatsunagaNorihiro Yokoyama40-1
513Forever YoungYoshito YahagiRyusei Sakai9-5
68George TesoroTakayuki KatoYuga Kawada8-1
79Guns and GloryBhupat SeemarJamie Spencer10-1
View Full Table

UAE Derby Prep Results

The eleven expected to run in this Kentucky Derby prep race come out of ten different races around the world. The only race with more than one last-out runner was the Saudi Derby last month at King Abdulaziz in Riyadh. Impressive winner Forever Young comes here to secure some Kentucky Derby points, while Oasis Boy tries to bounce back from an 8th-place finish.

Three runners come out of races at Meydan. Mendelssohn Bay won the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3), an early-season race, and has freshened up since then. Auto Bahn was a close second behind the scratched Killer Collect in the Al Bastikiya, a local prep in late February. Guns and Glory won a conditions race at Meydan on March 8 and steps up in class for this.

The other six come out of different races from all over the world. Two last raced in Japan: Ballon d’Or was sixth in the Hyacinth at Tokyo, a Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby race, while George Tesoro was last seen finishing second in the Shoryu Stakes at Chukyo. The Aidan O’Brien pair each last raced in different European spots: Navy Seal was third in a weight-for-age on the all-weather at Dundalk on March 1, while Henry Adams makes his first start since a fourth in the Dewhurst (G1) at Newmarket last October. Rock Walk comes out of a second-place finish in the Gran Premio Jose P. Ramirez (G1) at Maroñas in Uruguay. Pandagate, the only horse to prepare in the United States, was last seen winning the Gander at Aqueduct.

UAE Derby Contenders

These are the contenders in the UAE Derby, organized by wagering numbers:

Auto Bahn: One of the Southern Hemisphere three-year-olds, he is a little older than most of his foes. However, he is a little less class-proven as well, though it is worth noting that the Al Bastakiya was his first try at a distance beyond seven furlongs, and he is a few months older than most of his foes in this spot. He needs his best, but there is some upside.

Oasis Boy: A Grade 2 winner in Uruguay last year, he has yet to get back into top form in two starts this year, including a fifth-place finish behind Mendelssohn Bay in the UAE 2000 Guineas. Perhaps the extra ground may help this son of Dubai World Cup winner Asiatic Boy, but this is probably too much, too soon.

Rock Walk: The only horse turning back in trip for this race, he was last seen finishing second in a Grade 1 in Uruguay back in January over a 1 ½-mile trip. Those longer races may have built him a bottom that some foes in here lack, and he is another who (like Oasis Boy and Auto Bahn) is a bit older than the rest. His consistency and proven stamina make him interesting for exotics.

Ballon D’Or: The one-mile Hyacinth may have been a little short for him, and there is a good pattern of horses who disappointed in the Hyacinth showing more in the UAE Derby. He will need to run his best race yet, but the distance should help him along. Watch the track profile: a speed bias spells disaster for him, but a fair track gives him longshot potential.

Forever Young: He did just enough to deny proven American sprinter-miler Book’em Danno in the Saudi Derby, and this son of Real Steel should be able to find plenty more now that he stretches out to a better distance. He has the tactical versatility to win from close up or from well off the pace, and second off the lay he will be in a good spot of his form cycle. He is the horse to beat.

George Tesoro: He has looked good in many of his efforts in Japan, though distance is the major question: he has been running sprinter-miler trips, and now he stretches all the way out to 1 3/16 miles. Especially against horses who are far more proven over route distances, he will probably be an underlay, especially since Japan-based horses now get bet so heavily on international race days.

Guns and Glory: He broke his maiden at third asking over course and distance earlier this month, romping by 12 lengths—not to mention turning the tables on Elyabri, who had beaten him in his previous start. However, now he faces winners for the first time. The key may be in the break: he came away well and showed speed in his win, but was off slow in his previous two starts.

Henry Adams: One of two for Aidan O’Brien, he hasn’t raced since last October, but the presence of Ryan Moore suggests that he is the “A” entry from the barn. Dirt is a question as well: though O’Brien won this race on dirt with Mendelssohn, that one had clearer dirt pedigree than Henry Adams, who is bred top and bottom for the lawn. The distance is also a question: the Galileo underneath is a plus, but sire No Nay Never leans sprint.

Killer Collect: This horse has been scratched.

Mendelssohn Bay: This horse has yet to go longer than a mile, but being by 2018 UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn out of a Curlin mare, distance may be exactly what he needs. He has not raced in two months, but his debut win suggests he may be able to find another good effort off the bench for high-percentage local connections. His last-out win also suggests tactical versatility.

Navy Seal: The “B” stringer from the Aidan O’Brien barn, he finished last of three in a mile race at Dundalk earlier in the month, but he still was not well beaten and it was his first race since October. If a speed bias emerges the early pace he has shown in his last two may be an asset, and his pedigree suggests 1 3/16 miles may be within his ability.

Pandagate: The only American shipper coming out, he started the year with a romp in a minor stakes over the one-turn mile at Aqueduct. It is a concern that his only defeat came in his only two-turn start last year, but he has had some time to improve and both time and distance have tended to help the progeny of Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate. He is another, though, who could be in trouble if a speed bias emerges.

Satono Phoenix: This horse has been scratched.

UAE Derby Past Winners Past Performances

When figuring out prep race trends, focus on runnings of this race since 2015, as that was the first year Meydan switched to a dirt track from synthetic. In the eight runnings since the switch back to dirt, only three of the winners came out of a victory in their last start, and none since 2018, so don’t fear the need to rebound from a last-out dud.

Both the Saudi Derby and the Hyacinth have produced two next-out UAE Derby winners in the last eight runnings. Derma Sotogake (2023) was third in the Saudi Derby, while Rebel’s Romance (2021) was fourth. Crown Pride (2022) rebounded from a sixth in the Hyacinth at Tokyo in this spot, while Lani (2016) won this after running fifth in the Hyacinth.

Two other dirt-era winners won the UAE Derby off a victory in a local prep at Meydan. Thunder Snow (2017) won the UAE 2000 Guineas before winning this race, while Mubtaahij (2015) prepared with a win in the Al Bastikiya.

Mendelssohn (2018), shipping in for Aidan O’Brien, came out of a win in the Patton Stakes at Dundalk, a European Road to the Kentucky Derby race. Plus Que Parfait, the only recent UAE Derby winner to come out of a start in the United States, improved off of a 13th-place outing in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

UAE Derby Card

The UAE Derby is the fifth of nine races on Saturday’s blockbuster card at Meydan. Every single race on the card is a group stakes with a seven-figure purse, making it one of the richest race days of the year.

The centerpiece is the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1), run as the ninth and final on the card. Other major features include the Dubai Turf (G1) for middle-distance turf horses, the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) for turf routers, the Dubai Gold Cup (G2) for marathoners, the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) for dirt sprinters, the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) for turf sprinters, the Godolphin Mile (G1) for dirt milers, and the Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1) for purebred Arabians.

With such important races at Meydan earlier in the day, and major cards at Gulfstream Park and Oaklawn into the afternoon, it is a great weekend to watch on FanDuel TV and wager through FanDuel and TVG!

About Meydan

Across the city from Dubai International Airport, the Meydan track opened in 2010 and was built to replace the less modern Nad al Sheba. The UAE Derby experience features some of the most glamorous accommodations in world horse racing. The sprawling venue includes a golf course, five-star hotel, and a horse racing museum. There are 285 rooms at the hotel, which overlooks the racetrack. The Meydan meeting runs from November through March each year, with the Carnival portion of the meet running from January through March, and then trainers go off to places like the United Kingdom, Germany, and South Africa to pursue the rest of the season.


Q: When and where is the UAE Derby?

A: The 2024 UAE Derby will be run on Saturday, March 30, at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the fifth race on the card and is scheduled to start at 9:50 a.m. EDT.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the UAE Derby?

A: Saeed bin Suroor leads all trainers with eight wins, most recently in 2017 with Thunder Snow. He does not have an entrant this year. Among trainers with horses running in 2024, Aidan O’Brien leads with three. He can win his fourth if either Henry Adams or Navy Seal wins the race.

Q: Who is the favorite for the UAE Derby?

A: Off a victory in the Saudi Derby, the undefeated Forever Young is the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the UAE Derby. With a consistent record and plenty of upside over this longer trip, he should be the betting choice at post time.

Q: Who is the best UAE Derby jockey?

A: Christophe Soumillon leads all jockeys with three victories in this race. He can extend his record if Oasis Boy springs the upset.

Q: Who won the 2023 UAE Derby?

A: Derma Sotogake won the 2023 UAE Derby for trainer Hidetaka Otonashi and jockey Christophe Lemair. Neither return to the field in 2024.

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