x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Trainer O'Brien to get the dirt on Lines Of Battle in Kentucky Derby

Trainer Aidan O'Brien is about to find out of Lines Of Battle can handle the dirt as he has the three year old ready to run for the roses at the Kentucky Derby, says Geoffrey Riddle.

Lines of Battle, left, with Ryan Moore aboard,  handled Meydan just fine winning the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night.
Lines of Battle, left, with Ryan Moore aboard, handled Meydan just fine winning the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night.

Aidan O'Brien may not know whether Lines Of Battle will handle the dirt surface in Saturday's Kentucky Derby but Ryan Moore has flown over to Churchill Downs to find out.

Moore, who will be in action back at Newmarket with five rides on Sunday, is in Louisville to be reacquainted with the UAE Derby winner.

The jockey had Lines Of Battle positioned prominently throughout the Derby at Meydan Racecourse in March and the American-bred colt kicked off a slow pace to deny Elleval by just over a length.

O'Brien's record in the Kentucky Derby is mixed from five runners, although Master of Hounds, who came within a whisker of beating Khawlah in the 2011 UAE Derby, subsequently finished fifth to Animal Kingdom in the race known as the Run for the Roses.

"He's in good form," O'Brien said. "Obviously, nobody knows about the dirt until he runs on it. We were very happy with him in Dubai and he came out of it very well.

"He's usually a fast breaker, he travels well and he's usually tough at the end. We're looking forward to the race."

Animal Kingdom won the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in March under Joel Rosario, who will break from Gate 16 aboard Orb. The Florida Derby winner is trained by Shug McGaughey, a Kentucky native who has not had a runner in the ten-furlong contest since 2002 when he saddled Saarland to finish 10th.

Animal Kingdom's previous riders hold the key to the contest because John Velzaquez, who was on board two years ago in the Derby and will be in the saddle when the Dubai World Cup winner runs at Royal Ascot in June, rides Verrazano, one of five challengers for trainer Todd Pletcher.

 

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