Plus Que Parfait wins UAE Derby; Kentucky Derby next?

AP Photo

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Plus Que Parfait went to the lead in the stretch and won the $2.5 million UAE Derby on Saturday.

The win was worth 100 Kentucky Derby standings points for Plus Que Parfait. That would be more than enough to get him into the May 4 race at Churchill Downs if his connections choose to ship in for the start of the Triple Crown season.

The winning jockey was Jose Ortiz, who was riding at Gulfstream Park earlier in the week and passed up opportunities for Saturday’s Florida Derby.

The 2017 Eclipse Award winner found himself behind a pack of four other horses as the field settled into the stretch. Ortiz guided Plus Que Parfait between them, then ran away in the final strides to get to the line ahead of Gray Magician and Manguzi.

Heavily favored Divine Image, a filly who went off at 9-5, was never a factor.

Plus Que Parfait returned $19.60, $7 and $6.40. Gray Magician paid $8 and $6.80, and longshot Manguzi showed at $16.40.

The UAE Derby capped a big day Ortiz, who rode Coal Front to victory in the earlier $1.5 million Godolphin Mile.