Derma Sotogake Primed for Victory in Dubai World Cup; Odds, Picks

The only horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups was Thunder Snow (2018, 2019), and Japan’s Ushba Tesoro could match him Saturday at Meydan Racecourse. The 7-year-old favorite enters the 1¼-mile extravaganza in top form, with only the head of Senor Buscador denying him glory in last month’s $20 million Saudi Cup.

Senor Buscador also is in the 28th running of the $12 million classic, and trainer Bob Baffert will go for his fifth Cup win. The white-haired wizard will send out longshot Newgate, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap. Baffert and another all-time great, jockey Frankie Dettori, seek to duplicate their 2022 World Cup score with Country Grammer.

Derma Sotogake at King Abdulaziz RacecourseBut the value bet may be Derma Sotogake, who ran fifth in the Saudi Cup, which darkened his form and will boost his odds. (He’s listed as the 5-1 third choice on some sites.) His entire week was a bad trip, starting with an eye injury on the flight to Riyadh and ending with traffic trouble throughout the race. It was his second dud at King Abdulaziz Racetrack, where he ran third in last year’s Saudi Derby, at a mile around one turn.

Derma Sotogake: Carrying on the Legacy of Meydan Dominance

Not only does the Japan-bred shape up as an overlay, but he also may be a horse for course like his father. Derma Sotogake was brilliant at Meydan in last year’s UAE Derby, leading throughout under Frenchman Christophe Lemaire in a 5½-length runaway. His sire, New York-bred sprint star Mind Your Biscuits, loved Meydan, sweeping the 6-furlong, Golden Shaheen twice on the World Cup card.

As a 4-year-old, Derma Sotogake has plenty of upside and seems likely to improve in his second start off a layoff. The Saudi Cup was his first race since a strong second in the 1¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, when Horse of the Year contender White Abarrio beat him by a length. Derma Sotogake stalked in fourth before gaining two lengths in the final furlong.

Strategizing for Success: Derma Sotogake’s Post Draw and Racing Tactics in the Saudi Cup

Strategizing for Success: Derma Sotogake’s Post Draw and Racing Tactics in the Saudi Cup

The Saudi Cup was 1 1/8 miles around one turn and returning to 10 furlongs around two turns should help Derma Sotogake. He excelled in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby, and the extra sixteenth of a mile won’t be a problem. He got post 8 in a field of 12 at Wednesday’s draw, which was fine with Lemaire and trainer Hidetaka Otonashi.

“Eight is a very good draw in the middle,” Lemaire said. “That allows me to go forward into the first turn without using too much gas.”

Otonashi saw the post as a smile from the racing gods who treated his colt so poorly in Saudi Arabia.

“Eight is considered a lucky number in Japan,” the trainer said, “so that’s pretty good.”

Look for Lemaire to sit behind the speed before taking the lead on the far turn. From there he’ll get first run on the closers and do an encore of his colt’s UAE Derby.

The picks: 1 Derma Sotogake 2 Ushba Tesoro 3 Newgate

The field for the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1), from the rail out, with jockey, trainer, odds:

1 Crupi (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher), 20-1

2 Kabirkhan (Patrick Dobbs, Doug Watson), 4-1

3 Dura Erede (Bauyrzhan Murzabayen, Manabu Ikezoe), 14-1

4 Military Law (Oscar Chavez, Musabbeh Al Mheiri), 40-1

5 Ushba Tesoro (Yuga Kawada, Noboru Takagi), 5-2

6 Newgate (Frankie Dettori, Bob Baffert), 7-1

7 Clapton (Dylan Davis, Chad Summers), 66-1

8 Derma Sotogake (Christophe Lemaire, Hidetaka Otonashi), 5-1

9 Defunded (A Al Furyadi, Abdulaziz Khalid), 66-1

10 Senor Buscador (Junior Alvarado, Todd Fincher), 15-2

11 Wilson Tesoro (Hitoshi Kotegawa, Abdulwahed Ahmad), 20-1

12 Laurel River (Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar), 9-1





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