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UAE Derby 2024 | Meydan Dubai Picks [Kentucky Derby]
Pandagate (NYRA)

UAE Derby 2024 | Meydan Dubai Picks [Kentucky Derby]

New York-bred Pandagate worked five-eighths in 1:03.20 Sunday in company with maiden Military Road at Payson Park Training Center in Florida in his final preparation for a start in the UAE Derby (G2) on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse. 

The about 1 3/16-miles UAE Derby offers 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

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Trained by Christophe Clement for Adelphi Racing Club, Madaket Stables, Corms Racing Stables, and On The Rise Again Stable, Pandagate has been overseen through much of his preparations by Clement’s son and assistant, Miguel.

“It was a good work and, as of now, we’re on course for Dubai,” said Miguel Clement. “He went in company and it was an easy maintenance work by design as he is leaving for Dubai on Tuesday. He’s moving well and came back in good order, so it’s time to be ambitious.”

The Arrogate gray ridgling has won two of three starts, graduating by nine lengths on debut in October here in a state-bred maiden special weight traveling a one-turn mile. Pandagate followed with a troubled third in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming route in December at Laurel Park before a successful seasonal debut in the one-mile New York-bred Gander Stakes on Feb. 25 at the Big A.

The Dylan Davis-piloted Pandagate was bumped and squeezed at the break in the Gander and trailed in last of through the opening quarter-mile before making a wide move through the turn to take command at the stretch call. He drew off impressively inside the final furlong to score by 5 1/2-lengths and garner a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure.

Miguel Clement noted that Davis will retain the mount in Dubai.

“I’ve never been there, so I’m super excited that the connections want to take me there. I’m just going to take it all in, watch some replays and hope for the best,” Davis said. “He is very easy to ride. You just break him well and he does whatever you want him to do. It takes him a little bit to get running, but once he does, he is really tough. I mean he drew away both times here. I really think that if he had a challenger, he would show a lot more, so I’m excited. I’m really hoping for the best for him and the team.”

Clement said the son of the 2017 Dubai World Cup (G1) winning Hall of Famer Arrogate, should appreciate a stretch out in distance at Meydan.

“He’s a big horse and a very imposing physical — his sire handled it quite well,” said Clement, with a laugh. “It’s a long stretch which is probably beneficial for us and the added distance is a big appeal, not to mention that it’s a million-dollar race.”

A $130,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale, Pandagate is out of the Clement-trained stakes-placed Sky Mesa mare Kitty Panda.

The field for the 2024 UAE Derby: