While trainer Saeed bin Suroor did not commit to pointing the UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) winner Thunder Snow to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), Godolphin's Dubai-based trainer said the Louisville classic will get a long look when he meets with Sheikh Mohammed.
Should Thunder Snow start in the Kentucky Derby, he would be the 10th Godolphin starter in the 1 1/4-mile race and eighth trained in Dubai. The past two Godolphin Derby starters were based in the U.S. with trainer Kiaran McLaughlin: Alpha (12th in 2012) and Frosted (4th in 2015).
Frosted secured the top Kentucky Derby finish to date of any Godolphin horse. The top Derby finish for a Dubai-based Godolphin horse was the sixth-place finish by China Visit in 2000.
Thunder Snow won first time out last year and closed his juvenile campaign with a victory in the Criterium International (G1) as he finished with two wins in six starts and two other group stakes placings.
Switched to dirt this season, Thunder Snow has been perfect. He delivered a 5 3/4-length victory in the UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by District One Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City (G3) before edging the previously undefeated Japan-based dirt horse Epicharis in the UAE Derby. Master Plan, a stakes winner for trainer Todd Pletcher who ran second to eventual Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Tapwrit in a stakes at Gulfstream Park, finished third in the UAE Derby.
While Thunder Snow is already a group 1 winner, his trainer believes he has a bright future. Godolphin submitted a late nomination payment of $6,000 to make the son of Helmet eligible for the U.S. Triple Crown races.
"These are very hard races to win on Dubai World Cup night but Thunder Snow is a true champion. When he won his group 1, it gave us the confidence that he was going to be something special for the future," the trainer said after securing his eighth UAE Derby win. "He is a nice horse, who is always improving, and a big, strong horse. You saw tonight that he is also something for the future."