By Dick Downey
The Group 2 UAE Derby has drawn 27 nominations from the United States, comprising about a quarter of the 105 names submitted for the race.
The UAE Derby is one of the major races on the new Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule, with 170 points at stake, including 100 to the winner.
The United Arab Emirates tops the list with 38 nominations. South Africa, which has produced five UAE Derby winners all trained by Mike de Kock, is represented with five nominations. Saeed bin Suroor, the longtime Godolphin conditioner, leads all trainers with seven UAE Derby wins. The two men have taken all but one running of the race.
Southern Hemisphere-breds are considered 3-year-olds under Dubai racing rules. However, they are considered 4-year-old in North America and are not eligible to race in the Kentucky Derby.
Bob Baffert tops all U. S. trainers with 14 nominees. Ken McPeek is next with 10, including Frac Daddy, who came out of Saturday's Grade III Holy Bull Stakes with a grabbed quarter. The closing date for nominations was Jan. 18.
Last year, Daddy Long Legs, an Irish-bred, won the UAE Derby for trainer Aiden O'Brien. Daddy Long Legs competed in the Kentucky Derby but did not finish after being eased.
The post position draw for the 1 3 1/6-mile, $2 million UAE Derby will be held on March 25.
Complete List of Nominees by Trainer
Bob Baffert: Carving, Coastal Breeze, Code West, Curly Top, Den's Legacy, Denzel, Manando, Secretsatmidnight, Shakin It Up, Super Ninety Nine, Title Contender, Tiz the Truth, Unbridled Giant, War Academy
D. Wayne Lukas: Channel Isle
Ken McPeek: Bold Challenger, Boundless Heart, Frac Daddy, Java's War, Midas Dancer, Sonofasamurai, Taken by the Storm, Twining Hearts, War Dancer, Winning Prize
Doug O'Neill: He's Had Enough
John Sadler: Demonic
There is a declaration fee of $20,000 to run in UAE Derby.