Ransom the Moon after his win in the 2017 Kona Gold Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Ransom the Moon after his win in the 2017 Kona Gold Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Ransom the Moon Seeks Repeat Win in Kona Gold

Son of Malibu Moon earned his first graded score in the sprint last season.

After some minor foot issues delayed the start of his season, Agave Racing Stable and Jeffry Wilke's grade 1 winner Ransom the Moon will get back on the track in a familiar spot April 21 at Santa Anita Park.

In last year's Kona Gold Stakes (G2), the Ontario-bred son of Malibu Moon  went from allowance winner to graded stakes victor with a 2 1/4-length score in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint. He'll look to kick off his 6-year-old campaign with a similar performance in Saturday's $200,000 race.

The Phil D'Amato trainee, who also won the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) last season before he finished fourth in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G1) and fifth in the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), will only have to face four opponents in the Kona Gold, but the field is not bereft of talent.

BALAN: Ransom the Moon Wins Wild Bing Crosby

The only other graded winner in the field is Richard Pell's Calculator, who won the Sham Stakes (G3) in 2015 but has had his share of quality performances on grass and dirt since, including a win in the Jan. 28 Clocker's Corner Stakes on the Santa Anita hillside turf course two starts back.

BALAN: Calculator Speeds to Victory in Clockers' Corner Stakes

Grade 1-placed challengers Bobby Abu Dhabi and Ten Blessings have run well in recent starts on the dirt and could be on the upswing in the West Coast sprint division.

Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen's Bobby Abu Dhabi—who, along with Calculator, is trained by Peter Miller—put in the top effort of his career last time out March 10, when he set a blazing pace and finished a clear second to multiple grade 1 winner City of Light in the Triple Bend Stakes (G1).

Patti and Hal Earnhardt's Ten Blessings, a 5-year-old son of Smart Strike trained by Bob Baffert, earned his top-level placing in the 2016 Malibu Stakes (G1) but spent all of 2017 on the sideline. He got back into the winner's circle last time out March 30 at Santa Anita, where he won a seven-furlong allowance/optional claimer by 1 3/4 lengths.

The longest shot in the field, Blameitonthelaw, is also grade 1-placed—he finished third in the 2015 Del Mar Futurity (G1)—but has yet to cross the wire first in a stakes. The 5-year-old son of Blame  trained by John Sadler got his best shot last time out March 25, when he was just a neck away from first in the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes at Sunland Park.

Entries: Kona Gold S. (G2)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, April 21, 2018, Race 5

  • Grade II
  • 6 1/2f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 2:08 PM (local)
11Blameitonthelaw (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Talamo122John W. Sadler8/1
22Bobby Abu Dhabi (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Espinoza122Peter Miller2/1
33Ten Blessings (KY)Drayden Van Dyke122Bob Baffert3/1
44Calculator (FL)Kent J. Desormeaux122Peter Miller7/2
55Ransom the Moon (ON)Flavien Prat124Philip D'Amato9/5