Godolphin's Regal Ransom held off stablemate Desert Party by a half-length to post a 13-1 upset in the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) March 28 at Nad Al Sheba.
Ridden by Alan Garcia, Regal Ransom stayed close to the pace set by So Shiny in the 1 1/8-mile contest, which was the third race on the Dubai World Cup program. The son of Distorted Humor came onto even terms with the pacesetter midway through the backstretch and inched ahead by the time they straightened away.
Desert Party, the 1-5 favorite, was in perfect stalking position throughout under Frankie Dettori and had only Regal Ransom and So Shiny in front of him as he entered the stretch. Desert Party methodically closed ground on Regal Ransom but was unable to get by the game winner.
"I am so happy that I got the opportunity to ride and the plan worked perfectly," Garcia said. "He relaxed in front and when the other horse came to him, he dug deep and found a bit more. This is my first experience of the Dubai World Cup and it is awesome."
Also owned by Godolphin, Desert Party was more than 15 lengths better than third-place finisher Soy Libriano. So Shiny was fourth in a field of 12 3-year-olds. The final time on a track rated fast was 1:50.
Both Regal Ransom and Desert Party are trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who also saddled Two Step Salsa and Gayego, the one-two finishers in the Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) one race prior.
Regal Ransom made the first two starts of his career in the U.S. for Kiaran McLaughlin before being shipped to Dubai this past winter. The dark bay colt broke his maiden at first asking Aug. 25 at Saratoga and then finished eighth in the Norfolk (gr. I) in September on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride. He made two starts this season in Dubai, finishing runner-up to Desert Party in both, including his most recent start in the Feb. 12 UAE 2000 Guineas (UAE-III) when nearly five lengths back of the winner.
"We beat Regal Ransom by four and three-quarter lengths in the UAE 2000 Guineas, but he ran flat tonight and I could never get to him," Dettori said. "I was only half a length down at the two-furlong pole, but he had no fizz."
Regal Ransom was bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing and is out of the Red Ransom mare Kelli’s Ransom. He was a $675,000 2-year-old purchase.
Regal Ransom paid $28.20 and $6.80. The exacta (1-5) returned $41.60 for $2.
It possible that both Regal Ransom and Desert Party will make their next starts in the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but Suroor was non-committal immediately after the race.
"I always said this horse could be a surprise horse. I am happy with that, we’ll see (in terms of Kentucky Derby); no plans (yet)."