09/20/2009 11:00PM

Plenty of options for Regal Ransom

Louis Hodges Jr.
Regal Ransom (right) controlled the pace to win Saturday's Grade 2 Super Derby.

BOSSIER CITY, La. - Regal Ransom opened up a host of next-race options for himself Saturday with his easy win in the , among them the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 7. The Super Derby was Regal Ransom's first start since finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby, and he set a controlled pace to win the 1 1/8-mile stakes in hand for Godolphin Racing and trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

For the effort, Regal Ransom earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

Now, the chess game begins to determine his next start as Godolphin has a number of good horses to separate, including Girolamo, who is to run Oct. 11 in the Grade 2 Jerome at Belmont Park; champion Midshipman, who won his return last Friday; and Pyro, who took the Grade 1 Forego earlier this month at Saratoga. Other next-race options for Regal Ransom are the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, or the Grade 2 Clark Handicap, with a decision not likely to be made for a while by bin Suroor.

"It's really hard to say what we do with him right now," said Rick Mettee, the U.S.-based assistant to bin Suroor. "I look forward to hearing from Saeed. I would say a lot depends on how a few of these others run between now and then, like Girolamo in the Jerome. That could affect where Regal Ransom runs.

"The fact that he won this race means that he's won a couple of Grade 2's, and eventually you've got to take a shot in a Grade 1 with a horse like this," Mettee added. "So, I wouldn't say [the Classic] is completely out of the question. I'm sure Sheikh Mohammed and Saeed and our racing manager, they probably would like to run something in that race, and this horse may give us the best chance."

The Super Derby win may have indicated that Regal Ransom could handle the 1 1/4 miles of the BC Classic, Mettee said.

"There are a lot of decisions to make," he said. "Given this race and the way [Regal Ransom] settled on the lead, it gives us hope that going 10 furlongs, if he switched off like that, he might get the 10."

Mettee said another factor to be weighed concerning a start in either the Classic or the Dirt Mile is the fact that in his lone synthetic start, Regal Ransom was off the board as the favorite in last year's Grade 1 Norfolk at Santa Anita.

"That's not to say we wouldn't take another chance," Mettee said.

Regal Ransom, a son of Distorted Humor, returned to his Belmont base on Sunday night. His other major career win came in March in the Group 2, $2 million UAE Derby at about 1o1/8 miles at Nad Al Sheba.

Next-race plans pending for Blame

Blame, who finished second by 1 1/4 lengths in his graded stakes debut in the Super Derby, returned to his Kentucky base Sunday. Al Stall Jr., who trains the horse, said next-race plans are still to be determined, but at this point a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic has been ruled out for the late-developing Blame.

The horse was making just his sixth career start in the Super Derby. Blame came into the race off a three-quarter-length win in the $80,000 Curlin at Saratoga, an overnight stakes in which he defeated eventual Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby winner Gone Astray. Blame raced in fifth early in the Super Derby and made a bid in the lane to try and catch Regal Ransom, who got away with an opening half-mile in 49 seconds.

"I thought he ran his race, it was just disheartening to see the way the pace developed," Stall said. "I had a sinking feeling when they went under the wire the first time that the race was already over, and it was."

Blame earned a career-best 102 Beyer for his effort Saturday.