The two horses that represent the Kentucky Derby (Grade I) hopes of Dubai-based Godolphin are settling into new surroundings at Churchill Downs after a late afternoon arrival on Thursday at the historic home of the “Run for the Roses.” Earlier in the day, likely Kentucky Oaks (GI) favorite Rachel Alexandra returned to her home track following an overnight van ride from Oaklawn Park, where she romped in the Fantasy Stakes (GII) on Sunday.
Desert Party, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas and last year’s Sanford (GII) at Saratoga, and Regal Ransom, who upset his stablemate in the $2 million UAE Derby (GII) on March 28 at Nad Al Sheba, arrived by van at the quarantine facility in Barn 45 at Churchill Downs shortly after 5 p.m. (EDT).
The 3-year-old colts trained by Saaed bin Suroor must remain in the U.S. Department of Agriculture quarantine for 24-48 hours. Both horses will join the regular horse population at Churchill Downs after clearing quarantine and are scheduled to stable in Barn 41.
Should one or both horses make the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, they will be the first Derby starters to wear Godolphin’s signature blue silks since 2002.
Essence of Dubai finished ninth in that Derby. The best finish by a Godolphin hopeful was the sixth place finish by China Visit in 2000.
Desert Party has a career record of 4-1-0 in six races with earnings of $688,467. The victory in the UAE Derby lifted Regal Ransom’s record to 2-2-0 in five starts with earnings in $1,297,200.
L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra spent Thursday settling back into comfortable surroundings at trainer Hal Wiggins’ barn, where she spent most of her 2-year-old season. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has won four consecutive races, a streak that started last fall with victory in the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs.
Rachel Alexandra has won six of nine races and $621,440.