The Friday Show Presented By Icon Global: A Closer Look At Japan's Kentucky Derby Contenders - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

The Friday Show Presented By Icon Global: A Closer Look At Japan’s Kentucky Derby Contenders

UAE Derby winner Derma Sotogake at Churchill Downs

Japanese horsemen have made four previous attempts to win the Kentucky Derby going back to 1995 when trainer Hideyuki Mori sent Ski Captain out for a 14th-place finish behind Thunder Gulch. The closest they've come in the Run for the Roses was when Master Fencer closed from last to be seventh (and placed sixth upon Maximum Security's disqualification) in 2019.

A lot has happened since then, including two breakthrough victories by Japanese runners in the 2021 Breeders' Cup world championships and a host of triumphs in major international races in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai. Most recently, Japanese horses scored multiple wins on the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup programs in 2023, including in the world's two richest races.

Japanese runners, led by Derma Sotogake, also finished 1-2-3-4 in this year's UAE Derby, and the UAE Derby winner and third-place finisher Continuar are now at Churchill Downs preparing for Kentucky Derby 149.

Kate Hunter, an American living in Japan who now recruits Japanese horses for major international races, including America's Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup, joins Ray Paulick and bloodstock editor Joe Nevills to discuss the Japanese horses pointing for this year's Kentucky Derby. She also shares some insights on why horses from Japan are beginning to win on the international stage with such frequency.

Watch this week's episode of The Friday Show below:

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