Concerns about Regal Ransom's readiness coming into the $750,000 Super Derby (gr. II) (VIDEO) proved inconsequential when the well-bred Godolphin colt rolled to a front-running victory at Louisiana Downs Sept. 19.
The 30th running of the Super Derby turned out to be over early when the 13-10 favorite Regal Ransom bounded away to an effortless lead while posting pedestrian fractions. Asked for a bit of run at the top of the stretch, the son of Distorted Humor –Kelli's Ransom (by Red Ransom) was quickly long gone, opening up a five-length lead approaching mid-stretch.
With jockey Richard Migliore wrapped up on him, Regal Ransom galloped out the final eighth while winning by 1 1/4 lengths over the rallying second choice Blame . The winning time was 1:49.63 for the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds.
Winner of the UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Nad al Sheba in March, Regal Ransom had not been out since running eighth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 2.
A planned earlier start in June had to be scrapped by assistant Godolphin trainer Rick Mettee when the dark bay suffered from inflammation of the hock areas in his rear legs. But Regal Ransom returned from that setback with a sharp series of works at Saratoga this summer. He put in a five-furlong move at Belmont in :59 2/5 Sept. 14 prior to shipping to Louisiana. Facing a less than stellar field, he was more than equal to the task in the two-turn Super Derby.
"Coming here to win this race means a lot," Mettee said. "You can tell this is a big event. This is one of our biggest wins in America, especially money-wise."
Regal Ransom broke running with Soul Warrior to his inside and Migliore guided his charge to a comfortable lead while posting fractions of :24.05, :49.03 and 1:13.11. Blame, rallying up on the outside for Jamie Theriot, and Massone, advancing along the inside under Garrett Gomez, appeared they might challenge as the seven-horse field made its way around the final turn. But Regal Ransom spurted away at the head of the lane and was not seriously threatened thereafter.
The tentative plan, Mettee said, was to run Regal Ransom back in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct in November, but after seeing the way the colt galloped out, other races could jump into the picture.
"We thought he might have been tired coming out of this race; giving how easy he won though, we might have to look at some other options," he said.
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Blame, making his graded stakes debut for trainer Albert Stall, raced a bit wide but certainly finished willingly while 3 1/4 lengths clear in second. The Southern California invader Massone held third by five lengths, with West Virginia Derby (gr. II) victor Soul Warrior finishing fourth. Red Lead, Uno Mas and Electric Alphabet trailed. All carried 124 pounds.
Regal Ransom registered his third lifetime win in seven starts and boosted his earnings to $1,747,200 with the winning purse of $450,000. Damond A Racing bred Regal Ransom in Kentucky. He brought $675,000 as a 2-year-old at Florida's Fasig-Tipton sale in February 2008. He is trained by Saeed bin Suroor.
The winner paid $4.60, $3 and $2.80. Blame, winner of the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga in his previous start, returned $3.20 and $2.60, capping a $2 exacta worth $14.20. Massone collected his fourth graded stakes placing for trainer Ron McAnally and was $2.60 to show.