AGOS Horses to Watch: UAE Derby Won by Crown Pride | Arkansas Derby

Will Japan Be a Threat in the Kentucky Derby?

After a wildy successful 2021 Breeders’ Cup, Japan could be back to make a big splash in the Kentucky Derby.  Crown Pride (Jpn) debuted at 9 furlongs (1 1/8 miles) winning by 6 lengths last fall in Japan.  He won again at that distance before receiving a short winter break.  He returned in a one mile race where he got demolished at the start and then raced wide on the backstretch into the far turn. This was a sneaky great performance.  Off that troubled trip, he scored in the UAE Derby on the World Cup undercard, a card dominated by runners from Japan.

This sophomore colt was much the best in the UAE Derby and won with his ears pricked up in the final 50 yards.  Crown Pride will love the stretch out to 10 furlongs and he has won on both right-handed and left-handed courses.  The runner-up had a perfect trip and no excuse for not holding on.  I don’t like his chance if he comes to the U.S.A.

2022 Arkansas Derby

Cyberknife, trained by Brad Cox, unseated his rider in the post parade but that wasn’t an issue when it came time for the gates to open.  The son of Gun Runner sat a great trip behind the early leaders, made a move into the far turn and then held sway in the lane.  The filly Secret Oath ran a big race.  She got bounced around at the start.  She was in traffic on the backstretch and at about the 4 furlong pole, she dropped back to last.  Jockey Luis Contreras then asked her to run and she swept by the field with ease to move into third, then into second while charging at the leader down the lane.  The jock got lacksidiscal late and she got run down for the place spot.  Trainer D. Wayne Lukas was hardly pleased and he has named a new rider for the filly.

Barber Road was green in the lane, made a nice, inside run late and galloped out well.  He hasn’t had a break since early last fall.  Favorite Doppelganger didn’t have the best of trips but ran a disappointing race as a distant 4th.


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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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