by John Mucciolo
Speedway Stable, LLC’s Roadster saved ground early along the rail in Saturday’s $1,000,351 Santa Anita Derby (G1) on Saturday. The gray colt was well behind on the backside, then was eased out for the stretch run and wore down a pair of ultra-talented colts en route to a half-length tally for conditioner Bob Baffert.
The Quality Road colt clocked nine furlongs on the fast main surface in 1:51.28 under the guidance of Mike Smith. In the process, he earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and punched his ticket to Louisville on May 4.
Grade-2 victor Instagrand broke best and went right to the front as the 3-1 third choice. He led to midstretch while enduring splits of :23.34, :47.84, 1:12.20 and 1:38.34 for the opening mile. Game Winner put his head in front of the pacesetter inside the final furlong, but he could not hold off the winner.
Game Winner, the 1-2 favorite, was valiant in defeat. The Baffert trainee was widest every step of the way, took a short lead in late stretch and finished a clear runner-up, 1 ¾-lengths ahead of Instagrand, who was third.
Roadster improved his lifetime mark to 4-3-0-1, $706,200. The colt was a winner on debut in the summer and finished third in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) to conclude his juvenile campaign. He was a sharp allowance winner in his three-year-old bow prior to the Santa Anita Derby.
The winner was bred in Kentucky by Stone Farm, and he brought the gavel down at $525,000 to his current owners at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is out of the stakes-winning Silver Ghost mare Ghost Dancing, and was preceded in stakes glory by his full-brother Ascend, who bagged the 2017 Manhattan S. (G1). 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) victor Hootenanny hails from the same female line as Roadster.