The victory earned the New York-bred son of Freud an automatic berth in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. It was the sixth straight win for the 5-year-old horse, who entered off a triumph in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) back in July.
Giant Ryan is owned by Shivananda Parbhoo and trained by Bisnath Parbhoo. Out of the Dayjur mare Kheyrah, he was bred by Thomas/Lakin.
Breaking from post 5 in an eight-horse field that was reduced by one with the scratch of Big Drama, Giant Ryan broke sharply under Cornelio Velasquez and went to the front. His uncontested lead was aided by a troubled beginning for Apriority, Calibrachoa, and Euroears. It appeared that an inward move by Calibrachoa not far after the break caused Apriority to stumble, then impede the path of California shipper Euroears, who was expected to be part of the pace but was never a factor after his bad luck.
Giant Ryan ran the opening quarter-mile in :22.10 and a half-mile in :44.36. Force Freeze, at 7-1, tracked him the whole way under Paco Lopez and was outside of the leader and just in back of him when they straightened away.
Force Freeze drifted further outside and was 1 1/2 lengths back when they hit the eighth-pole. He never could get to Giant Ryan, who was determined in the stretch and hit the wire in front by a half-length. He completed six furlongs in the mud in 1:09.10.
Force Freeze, the Teddy Drone Stakes winner at Monmouth Park last out, settled for second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of the late-closing Caixa Eletronica. Even-money favorite Trappe Shot was a disappointing fourth.
Giant Ryan lost his first two starts of 2011, but has not been beaten since taking an optional claimer March 4 at Aqueduct. He shipped to Calder Casino & Race Course over the summer to win the Ponche Handicap in June before scoring the July 9 Smile Sprint Handicap by a neck.
“This is his home track," Shivananda Parbhoo said. "He loves Belmont Park. I will keep him here for a week or two and then he will ship directly to Churchill Downs. He will leave three weeks before the Breeders’ Cup. This was to see if he could compete with the best horses.”
The bay horse improved to 8-1-1 from 14 starts and increased his earnings to $626,841.
The winner paid $26.40, $10, and $6.70. The exacta (5-2) returned $213.50 and the trifecta (5-2-1) was worth $1,176.
Calibrachoa finished fifth, followed by Justin Phillip , Apriority, and Euroears.