Donativum may be back for Kentucky Derby

ARCADIA, Calif. -- There are three continents on which Donativum, the winner of Saturday's $1,130,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, could make his next start.

A gelding, Donativum could return to England and be pointed for major stakes in that country, though not the 2000 Guineas, which is restricted to fillies and colts. He could be sent to Dubai and race there for owners Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya of Jordan. Or, Donativum could be sent back to the United States in 2009 for a crack at the Kentucky Derby.

"He's a gelding, which means that every option is open," said John Ferguson, an adviser to Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable. "He's a horse to have fun with. I wouldn't rule out anything."

Nothing involving Donativum was much fun last spring. He was a colt at the time, prone to bad behavior, trainer John Gosden said.

Since being gelded, Donativum is unbeaten in three starts, including the $1.7 million Tattersalls Timeform Million at Newmarket, England, over seven furlongs. The victory justified a trip to the BC Juvenile Turf.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Donativum ($13.60) won the BC Juvenile Turf by a half-length over Irish invader Westphalia, the 3-1 favorite. Coronet of a Baron, who made his turf debut, was third in the field of 12. The first three finishers all led in the final furlong.

Dettori was concerned about traffic but found room at a pivotal time in early stretch.

"I was concerned just before the straight of finding a way out," Dettori said. "I took no chances and angled him out when I could.

A winner of 3 of 6 starts and $1,581,895, Donativum ran a mile on turf in 1:34.68. It was the longest race of his career and suggested that longer distances would not be a problem.

"He'll stay further," Gosden said.

Other issues could surface, however, if the Kentucky Derby becomes a focus. Donativum, by Cadeauz Genereux, has yet to earn any prize money in graded stakes, which is a determining factor if the Kentucky Derby has more than 20 entries.

One option for Gosden is the newly created $150,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes over 1 1/8 miles at Kempton Park, outside London, on March 18. The race offers an automatic berth for the winner to the Kentucky Derby.

Gosden was non-committal Sunday, but indicated that the Kentucky Derby was not a far-fetched idea.

"You need to plan for it," he said. "He'd need to be here for two months.

"It's a definite possibility."