Making Money Betting Japanese Raiders in UAE Derby

Gambling
Plus Que Parfait, in the red cap, wins the 2019 UAE Derby at Meydan. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Historically, it’s been a smart strategy to bet on American runners when they travel to the Middle East for rich dirt races. The U.S. has long been home to the best dirt racing in the world, so when American horses travel abroad, it’s wise to sit up and take notice.

But a different story unfolds when you specifically analyze the results of the Middle East’s richest dirt races for 3-year-olds, including the $750,000, Grade 2 UAE Derby Sponsored by Emirates NBD at Meydan and the similarly rich Saudi Derby at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. American success has been much less pronounced in these events, presumably because the best U.S. sophomores are too busy preparing for the Triple Crown to travel abroad during the Middle East’s winter racing season.

weekend TV schedule

Friday, March 26: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, March 27:
8 p.m.-1 p.m. ET on FS1; 2:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET on FS2; 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET on FS1; 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 6 p.m.-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, March 28:
1 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Instead, Japanese raiders have been outrunning expectations with impressive consistency. Lani upset the 2016 UAE Derby before going on to compete in all three legs of the U.S. Triple Crown. Epicharis ran too good to lose in the 2017 UAE Derby, finishing second by a short head. Full Flat was a decisive winner of the inaugural 2020 Saudi Derby, and Pink Kamehameha kept the Saudi Derby trophy in Japan with a hard-fought victory in the 2021 renewal.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that the three Japanese entrants in Saturday’s renewal of the UAE Derby warrant serious respect. Their form lines suggest they have the best of the local Dubai runners measured, and since the two American hopefuls (#2 Ambivalent and #5 Lugamo) are questionable over the UAE Derby’s 1 3/16-mile distance, I’m prepared to support the Japanese raiders wholeheartedly.

The most recognizable of the three entrants is #9 Pink Kamahameha, the aforementioned Saudi Derby winner. Trained by Hideyuki Mori, Pink Kamehameha showed impressive tenacity to track the Saudi Derby pace and hold off a late charge from U.S. shipper Cowan to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Notably, Pink Kamehameha finished more than four lengths clear of UAE 2000 Guineas Trial winner #10 Rebel’s Romance and UAE 2000 Guineas winner #14 Soft Whisper, two of the best local runners in the UAE Derby.

Pink Kamehameha is a logical candidate to vie for victory again on Saturday, though he’s never run farther than one mile, and he risks a wide trip while breaking from the outside post in a field of 14. But even if Pink Kamehameha falters under these challenging conditions, his Mori-trained stablemate #4 France Go de Ina can save the day.

Indeed, France Go de Ina appears to be an even brighter prospect than Pink Kamehameha. American racing fans will instantly recognize his pedigree; he’s a son of 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge out of a mare by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, giving France Go de Ina a thoroughly American pedigree geared toward success over classic distances.

Certainly France Go de Ina has shown an affinity for running long in Japan. A fourth-place finish in his sprint debut was followed by a pair of decisive victories racing 1 1/8 miles at Hanshin Racecourse. Facing 12 rivals in a maiden race, France Go de Ina led all the way to crush the competition by four lengths. Then in an allowance race, the chestnut colt employed tracking tactics to trounce eight rivals by five lengths, in the process sprinting the final three furlongs in a rapid :37.20.

France Go de Ina is nominated to the Triple Crown and will be guided on Saturday by Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Joel Rosario, suggesting his connections are serious about snatching victory in the UAE Derby. France Go de Ina looks like a star on the rise, and his tactical speed should serve him well over the Meydan dirt, where forwardly placed runners typically perform well. I’m excited to see what France Go de Ina can accomplish – I think he’ll be tough to beat at a fair price.

The third Japanese raider is also worth betting. #12 Takeru Pegasus hasn’t finished off the board in four starts racing one mile at Tokyo Racecourse, finishing second in the Cattleya Sho and fourth in the Hyacinth Stakes on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. A versatile colt capable of performing well with multiple running styles, Takeru Pegasus ran a deceptively good race in the Hyacinth, rallying wide to finish just 3 ½ lengths behind an impressive winner. He’s eligible to improve in his second start of the season and will be ridden by world-renowned jockey Ryan Moore, setting the stage for a strong showing.

So how should we play the UAE Derby? Let’s bet France Go de Ina on top, favor Pink Kamehameha and Takeru Pegasus underneath, and exclude the local runners entirely. For trifecta tickets, we’ll add the U.S. runners Ambivalent and Lugamo plus #7 New Treasure, who finished third by a length in the Saudi Derby while making his first start of the 2021 season.

Wagering Strategy on a $12 Budget

$6 to win on #4 France Go de Ina

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $6 to win on 4

$3 exacta: 4 with 9,12 ($6)

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $3 exacta 4 with 9,12

Wagering Strategy on a $30 Budget

 $12 to win on #4 France Go de Ina

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $12 to win on 4

$5 exacta: 4 with 9,12 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $5 exacta 4 with 9,12

$1 trifecta: 4 with 9,12 with 2,5,7,9,12 ($8)

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $1 trifecta 4 with 9,12 with 2,5,7,9,12

Wagering Strategy on a $50 Budget

$24 to win on #4 France Go de Ina

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $24 to win on 4

$5 exacta: 4 with 9,12 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $5 exacta 4 with 9,12

$1 trifecta: 4 with 9,12 with 2,5,7,9,12 ($8)

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $1 trifecta 4 with 9,12 with 2,5,7,9,12

$1 trifecta: 4 with 2,5,7,9,12 with 9,12 ($8)

What to say at the betting window: Dubai (Meydan), 5th race, $1 trifecta 4 with 2,5,7,9,12 with 9,12

Good luck, and enjoy the race!

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