Godolphin Racing’s Regal Ransom showed his affinity for the Churchill Downs surface when the 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor zipped five furlongs in a bullet :59 1/5 April 25 in his final preparation for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The time was the best of the day for 30 horses working the distance.
The first of a handful of Derby contenders on the track shortly after it opened, Regal Ransom was timed in quarter splits of :12 2/5, :23 4/5, :35, and :47 for a half-mile. He galloped out six furlongs in a brisk 1:12 2/5.
Saying he was pleased with the work, trainer Saeed bin Suroor said Regal Ransom had improved since his arrival in the U.S. after winning the $2-million UAE Derby (UAE-II) in late March.
“I am really happy with the work,” bin Suroor said. “He is going very good. He showed a good turn of foot…plenty of speed. One and a quarter miles should be no problem for him. I think he will stay. The horse is going the right way.”
Bin Suroor said one difference between Regal Ransom and Derby contender stablemate Desert Party and previous Godolphin Derby runners is that the quality of racing has improved in Dubai to the extent they have a better gauge of the horse’s abilities before coming into the first classic in the U.S.
“The Kentucky Derby only comes once in their life and we (decided) to give him a chance,” bin Suroor said. “The horse is doing really well so it is worth a try. You need a horse with class, speed—everything. Racing in Dubai has improved every year. These horses are doing much better than horses we have brought in the past.
Considering Regal Ransom’s speed, bin Suroor said the colt will be close to the pace early in the Derby.
“He has to be close, but it depends on how fast they go. If he sits in the second tier, I will be happy with that.”
Bred in Kentucky by Gerald Ford's Diamond A Racing Corporation, Regal Ransom has won two of five starts with two seconds and converted earnings of $1,297,200. After breaking his maiden at Saratoga, the colt was unplaced in the grade I Norfolk Stakes before shipping to Dubai to prepare for his 3-year-old campaign.
In his first two 2009 outings, Regal Ransom, who is out of the Red Ransom mare Kelli's Ransom, finished second to Desert Party in an allowance race and the UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III). In the UAE Derby, the colt reversed tables and defeated Desert Party by a half-length.