By Bob Kieckhefer
Plus Que Parfait had to come to Dubai to do it, but he punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) with a gutsy victory over an international field in the $2.5 million UAE Derby Sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) March 30 at Meydan.
With Jose Ortiz in command, the Imperial Racing runner split horses as the field thundered down the stretch and shot past local hopeful Manguzi, then turned back the closing bid of American rival Gray Magician en route to a three-quarter-length win.
Jose Ortiz, Jockey, PLUS QUE PARFAIT (1st)—“I have a nice horse. He was running well and around the turn I was trying to find spaces. I was happy that I saved the whole ground in the race. And when I was able to find a way through, he responded really well, so I am very happy and very happy for Brendan. He deserves it. Brendan, he works so hard and he gave me so many shots and we haven’t been lucky and now I was able to deliver for him. To win means a lot. It’s tough to come all the way and win and I have been blessed to have two winners, so I am very happy.”