Bhupat Seemar's race to Kentucky Derby begins as Summer is Tomorrow eyes glory

Summer Is Tomorrow received a special invitation for the American Classic following his second-place finish to Japan's Crown Pride in the UAE Derby



Summer Is Tomorrow finished second to Japan's Crown Pride in the UAE Derby at the Meydan Racecourse on March 26. (Supplied photo)
Summer Is Tomorrow finished second to Japan's Crown Pride in the UAE Derby at the Meydan Racecourse on March 26. (Supplied photo)

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Wed 6 Apr 2022, 12:41 AM

Recently-crowned UAE champion trainer Bhupat Seemar is in a race against the clock to get stable-star Summer Is Tomorrow to America in time to compete in next month’s Kentucky Derby (G1).

Summer Is Tomorrow received a special invitation for the American Classic following his second-place finish to Japan’s Crown Pride in the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan Racecourse on March 26.

The UAE Derby is the only international race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, which offers qualifying points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to its top-four finishers, once they become a Triple Crown nominee.

Having garnered 40 qualifying points with his second-place effort at Meydan, the pace-setting Summer Is Tomorrow secured his entry into the ace often referred to as the ‘Run for the Roses.’

“We’re working out how to get him across, it’s just that the logistics of sending a horse to America are a nightmare,” said Bhupat.

“It’s an uphill task but we’re doing our best. The owners are very very supportive because it costs a lot of money to get there. But there are willing to do whatever it takes to run in the Derby.”

Explaining the logistics involved in sending a horse across the Atlantic from Dubai in a short time, Bhupat said: “We ship to Arlington, Chicago, where he will remain for three days but will not be able to train as there is no training track there. From there we will ship to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where he will go into a quarantine barn before he can start training.

“If our team can’t go, then we will have to hire a groom and stable staff over there. So there’s a lot to be worked out. It’s not easy. However, my wife, Caroline, will go as my assistant,” added Bhupast.

“It’s all happening too soon we were really not prepared for it. In an ideal world, I would like to be there six days before the Derby because he is set to have a final gallop before the race at Churchill Downs.”

Exciting stuff, but time is not on Bhupat’s side as he attempts to cap a dream first season in the UAE where he won the Championship, with more success in America’s greatest race.

After Summer Is Tomorrow overcomes all the hurdles in his passage to Churchill Downs he will face some of the country’s best three-year-olds in the Kentucky showpiece, the first race in the American Triple Crown series that also includes the Belmont and Preakness Stakes.

The field is starting to take shape with the Ken McPeek-trained Smile Happy, winner of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill in November, and the Richard Mandella-trained Forbidden Kingdom, who won the San Felipe Stakes in his most recent start, vying for the top spot.

Also in the fray are Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Classic Causeway, and two-time Grade 3 winner Messier

“It’s a tough race to win,” acknowledges Bhupat. “But it’s a great honour for a UAE-trained horse to be invited to such a historic and prestigious event.

“It’s great for UAE racing and personally for me, it’s a huge honour. The whole season has been incredible,” added Bhupat who has over 135 horses in training at his state-of-the-art Zabeel Stables in Dubai.

“To have a five-time at Meydan, to be the leading trainer, and to have a big winner on Dubai World Cup night, is the stuff of dreams. But let me tell you there’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes and I have to thank a lot of people for making all this possible. A lot.”

Perhaps, just perhaps, the dream is not yet over for the charismatic Zabeel Stables handler, should Summer Is Tomorrow beat the odds and pull off a victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 7.


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