Thoroughbreds in line for Turkey’s Gazi Derby
ISTANBULTurkey’s most prestigious horse race, the Gazi Derby, will run for its 89th time on June 28 at the Veliefendi Hippodrome in Istanbul.
Twenty-two Turkish three-year-old thoroughbreds will be competing for the 1.35 million Turkish Lira prize at 5:15 p.m. at the 2,400-meter grass track. The pride of owning a Gazi winning horse is invaluable.
The race, organized by the Turkish Jockey Club (TJK) is dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, who was a supporter of horse racing in the country.
“Horse racing is a social need for modern societies,” Atatürk once said.
Among the favorites this year is Hulusi Taşkıran’s My Başkan, who won the 2,000 Guineas with one time Gazi winner, jockey Selim Kaya.
Filly Bıcı Bıcı, the winner of the 1,000 Guineas with jockey Özcan Yıldırım and owned by Baran D. Cemiloğlu, will not run.
The 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas are considered to be most distinctive trials where colts compete to prove their mettle prior to Gazi Derby.
Five-time Gazi Derby winner Halis Karataş is expected to ride Oğlum Berat, while another favorite will be Victory River, which was sold for 700,000 liras 20 days before the race to its new owner Talip Öztürk.
Legendary thoroughbred Bold Pilot, who died in April, holds the record for the Gazi Derby. Karataş rode Bold Pilot to victory on June 30, 1996, with a time of 2 minutes 26.22 seconds.