30 March 2014

Toast of New York Earns Cheers in UAE Derby

Bursting down the stretch to the wild cheers of his owner and trainer, Toast of New York upset the $2 million UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group in dominant fashion, prevailing over more highly heralded runners from Coolmore and Godolphin.

“In my wildest dreams I didn’t expect him to win like that,” said a beaming trainer Jamie Osborne, a former National Hunt jockey in England who trains Toast of New York for Michael Buckley, also better known for his winners in jumps racing.

“I could believe it because I am a believer,” Buckley said with a laugh as well-wishers gathered around him to offer congratulations. “I was nervous, shaky and it got worse from there (while watching the race), but when I saw him hit the front, I thought he would be very tough to pass. He’s got a high cruising speed.”

Another longshot, Safety Check, set the early pace in the 1900m concluding event of the UAE Triple Crown, establishing fractions of :27.05, :51.27 and 1:15.85. Coolmore’s Sir John Hawkins was forwardly placed early on, with highly-fancied stablemate Giovanni Boldini further back in the 12-horse field.

When the field hit the home straight and Toast of New York surged to the lead with Jamie Spencer in the irons, he was never in danger, romping home by two and a half lengths over Asmar, who had won the second jewel in the UAE Triple Crown, the Al Bastakiya. Godolphin’s Emirates Flyer finished another 1 ¼ lengths back in third.

The time for the race was 1:57.92

Jockey Richard Hughes praised Asmar and Toast of New York for their efforts. “He ran a blinder but he got beaten by a very good horse. Turning for home, I was hoping (the winner) couldn’t stay. It was a very good run.”

The performance by Toast of New York on the all-weather track was so good that Osborne did not rule out a run in the Kentucky Derby in America. The UAE Derby is a qualifying race for the American classic and Toast of New York earned enough points to make the Kentucky field.

“It’s not impossible,” Osborne declared, “but I haven’t thought about it yet.”

The one person at Meydan who was not in the least stunned by Toast of New York’s scintillating run was Spencer.

“I am not at all surprised,” Spencer said. “This horse has been doing good things all along.”

Completing the order of finish in the UAE Derby were Giovanni Boldini, Cooptado, Long John, Paxiadia, Sir Jack Layden, King Rubi, Safety Check, Jallota and Sir John Hawkins.