Sometimes, the class of a race is the horse who has earned the most money. Other times, it might be the horse that has simply kept the best company.
By either of those two evaluations, the class of Saturday's Super Derby is clear: it is Regal Ransom (by Distorted Humor). Easily the leading money earner in the field with a bankroll of nearly $1.3 million, Regal Ransom also happens to exit undisputedly the toughest and deepest 3-year-old race of the year - the Kentucky Derby.
Yet Regal Ransom is not the favorite in the Grade 2 Super Derby, at least on the morning line, suggesting he looms a rewarding wager.
Granted, Regal Ransom could be at a fitness disadvantage in the race, not having raced since the first Saturday in May, but based on his workouts, and the performances of other runners in his stable this year, it seems unlikely this horse is anything but 100 percent fit.
Based in New York with Godolphin's operation, he has worked lights out leading up to his return, capped by a couple of sparkling workouts earlier this month for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Additionally, a quick check of Daily Racing Form's Formulator software shows just how hot that stable has been in graded stakes over the past month and a half. Seventh Street won the Grade 1 Go For Wand on Aug. 2, Flashing the Grade 1 Test on Aug. 8, Music Note the Grade 1 Ballerina on Aug. 29, Sara Louise the Grade 3 Victory Ride on Aug. 29, and Pyro the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 5.
And perhaps more significant than those victories was that Vineyard Haven crossed the wire first in the Grade 1 King's Bishop on Travers Day, only to be disqualified and placed second for drifting out and bumping Capt. Candyman Can in the race.
Vineyard Haven, it should be noted, was not able to get close to Regal Ransom when they met in their one start in Dubai this winter. Vineyard Haven, who ran fourth, finished 7 1/4 lengths behind Regal Ransom, the runner-up, in the UAE 2000 Guineas (Desert Party won the race).
Following the UAE 2000 Guineas, Regal Ransom would win the Grade 2 UAE Derby over his more highly regarded stablemate Desert Party, and then ran eighth, beaten 14 3/4 lengths in the Kentucky Derby after pressing the early pace.
After competing in recent starts against Desert Party, Mine That Bird, and Vineyard Haven, he is facing horses of lesser quality such as Soul Warrior, Uno Mas, and Blame in the Super Derby. Despite the time away, expect him to return in winning form.