Kentucky Derby Profile: Crown Pride

Crown Pride is a fascinating entrant for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday
Crown Pride is a fascinating entrant for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday

Unlike the runner-up of the UAE Derby, the winner is an intriguing prospect. Will the bettors take a liking to Crown Pride or will they shun him because of his lack of exposure on US soil? JN Campbell passes on his thoughts...

The debate is raging out there in Horse Racing Twitter … is this colt from Japan ready for one of the biggest stages in the world? You have already seen advocates and detractors making their case quite ardently. The former say that Japan’s rise over this past year at the Breeders’ Cup was their coming-out-party.

Some like to add that the Japanese were already competing at the highest levels, and this was just another step. As for the latter, when it comes to colts that are part of preps outside of the U.S., the track record is not at all inviting. Where do you fall? I am on the fence, but what I do know is that this Japanese entry is special, and he could prove to be very tough. Can he hit-the-board? Certainly … Bred by Shadai Farm, this colt impressed in Dubai, stamping his ticket to Louisville by winning the UAE Derby (G2) on WC Night.

If you are not familiar with the colors of Yoshida, then you will get a reminder on Derby Day. By Reach the Crown, a grandson of Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence, the Japanese are out to prove that they belong across the globe in every G1 contest. “Silence” was truly a game-changer for their program, and I do not use that phrase lightly. With 4 career starts to his credit, trainer Koichi shipped his prize runner to Churchill early, so he could get used to his surroundings.

Watching his unique workouts, which look like a combination between dressage and pieces of art in motion, this one will be conditioned and ready to go. Last week, he ejected his exercise rider after exiting the gate during training, but was caught by one of the seasoned outriders. All was well … Use that as a sign of energy and excitement. After winning at the Breeders’ Cup, Saudi Cup, and the Dubai World Cup, I would not underestimate these connections. They have a major fan base behind them too, and isn’t it great for North American horse racing to have accomplished runners come to our greatest race? One to use underneath … in my estimation.

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Kentucky Derby 2022