Lani's form in the UAE Derby is difficult to read, given that the early pace in the race was a near-crawl. Polar River, clearly the class of the locally based horses, lost some ground looking for racing room on the outside but seemed unable to make up ground on Lani after she had a clear run. American hopeful Frank Conversation, a Grade III winner in the U.S. but clearly the second-stringer to Nyquist in his own barn, finished last, which may mean that he was beating up on weak competition in California, that he simply doesn't like dirt (his previous wins were on turf or all-weather surfaces) or that Lani is very good.
The last conclusion may be questionable, but if Lani fails to give a good account of himself in the Kentucky Derby---Presented by Yum! Brands, lack of stamina at least isn't likely to be the issue. Not only has the colt gone further than any of the U.S.-based contenders, but he did so racing wide throughout. He is also bred to go a distance. A half brother to two Japanese stakes winners over routes, he is out of a solid winner by 1989 American Horse of the Year Sunday Silence, whose wins included that year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (USA-I). His second dam, Irish-bred First Act, is by the great sire and notable stamina source Sadler's Wells and is a half sister to Dark Lomond, winner of the 1988 Jefferson Smurfit Irish St. Leger Stakes (IRE-I). Lani's third dam, Arkadina, placed in three European Classics and is a daughter of another strong stamina source in the great Ribot, and the colt's fourth dam, Natashka, won the 1966 Alabama Stakes.
The main weakness Lani displayed in the UAE Derby is an apparent lack of foot. One-paced grinders have won the Kentucky Derby before, but the fact that the colt took as long as he did to wear down what looked to be rather moderate competition isn't promising. Nonetheless, his presence in the mix adds another dimension to Tapit's chances for scoring a win in America's most coveted Classic, as the stallion now has three colts with varied running styles heading to the starting gate. Wonder what the odds would be for a Tapit trifecta?