UAE Champion Trainer Bhupat Seemar chases a major slice of racing history when he saddles UAE Derby (G2) runner-up Summer Is Tomorrow in Saturday’s 148th running of the Kentucky Derby.
No horse with a Dubai connection has ever won the 10 furlong contest, often referred to as the Run for the Roses because of the beautiful blanket of 564 red roses which are given to the winning horse after the great race.
Seemar’s quest assumes greater significance because Summer Is Tomorrow is also the first runner to represent Dubai at the Churchill Downs showpiece.
In fact, the Kentucky-bred son of Summer’s Frost has raced exclusively on the dirt at Meydan Racecourse, where he has also recorded a pair of exciting wins from seven starts.
Summer Is Tomorrow, who will be ridden by French ace Mickael Barzalona in the Kentucky Derby, will break from the favoured No 4 gate where he can get to use his natural speed to secure a good running position in the 20-horse field.
Assessing Summer Is Tomorrow’s preparation, Seemar said: “The first day, of course, he was looking at everything — so many people around, a new place, and so many horses on the track.
“But he’s a pushbutton kind of horse who can do anything you want, it’s this horse’s mind. He soaks it all in and adapts so well.”
Summer Is Tomorrow faces some of America’s best three-year-old dirt specialists led by the Steve Asmussen-trained Epicenter, the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, and the well-travelled Zandon, winner of the Grade I Blue Grass at Keeneland for trainer Chad Brown.
“Nobody knows what will happen ’til you get there,” Seemar said of the Derby. “The Derby is Derby.”
Reflecting on the importance of having a genuine Derby contender in a debut year that saw him win the UAE Trainer’s title Seemar said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s every trainer’s dream to be here. For me personally, in my first year as a trainer, it’s a great feeling.
“I wake up every day and thank the Lord or whatever that great force is up there and whoever is behind me with all those good wishes.
“To have a season as I had in the UAE, in my first year as a trainer, is phenomenal. I feel that I’m in a very privileged position to have a Kentucky Derby runner.”
Owned by Michael Hilary Burke and Negar Burke, Summer Is Tomorrow was a smart purchase at the Arqana 2021 Breeze Up Sale at Doncaster, before he was dispatched to Seemar’s Zabeel Stables in the heart of Dubai.
Bred in Kentucky by former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones, the Summer Front colt needed three tries to get his first win before he delivered his best performance when trouncing his rivals in the Al Karama Stakes on February 25 for an 8 1/4 length victory.
Summer Is Tomorrow punched his ticket to Louisville when he finished second behind Japanese raider Crown Pride in the Group 2 UAE Derby.
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.
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