06/27/2010 11:00PM

Regal Ransom starting year in Suburban


ELMONT, N.Y. - With Desert Party having made a successful return to the races last Saturday at Philadelphia Park, the connections of Godolphin Stable will hope for a similar result this Saturday when stablemate Regal Ransom makes his first start of 2010 in the Grade 2, $300,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.

Regal Ransom, who at 3 won the UAE Derby, defeating Desert Party, in Dubai and the Super Derby in Louisiana, has not run since finishing eighth behind Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic last Nov. 7 at Santa Anita.

Regal Ransom wintered in Dubai but wasn't training well over the newly installed Tapeta surface at Meydan, so the decision was made not to point to races like the Dubai World Cup.

"We just kept him in light training," said Rick Mettee, the New York-based assistant for Godolphin. "When he got back here, he got right back on the work tab."

Since May 1, Regal Ransom has breezed nine times over Belmont's main track, including a six-furlong move in 1:11.05 on June 19 and a five-furlong breeze in 58.97 seconds last Saturday. He has never run in a race at Belmont.

"Nine furlongs off the bench is not an easy spot," said Mettee, who eschewed shorter races in order to run at Belmont. "At least here you're running over a track you know he likes [training on]."

As a 2-year-old, Regal Ransom was trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and won his debut at Saratoga by three-quarters of a length. Regal Ransom shipped to Santa Anita for the Grade 1 Norfolk, where he finished eighth as the 7-5 favorite, a race that was used to see how he would handle the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita, where the Breeders' Cup was being held.

Regal Ransom was held out of the Breeders' Cup and was sent to Dubai, where at 3 he twice finished second to Desert Party in races at seven furlongs and a mile before turning the tables on that horse in the nine-furlong UAE Derby. Regal Ransom finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby run over a sloppy track.

Regan Ransom came back to win the Super Derby, beating Blame, who himself came back to win the Clark last year and who is 2 for 2 this year, including a victory in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster.

In the Suburban, Regal Ransom will be reunited with Alan Garcia, who was aboard for the colt's maiden and UAE Derby victories.

Regal Ransom was assigned 118 pounds for the Suburban, which has been cut back to 1 1/8 miles from its traditional 1 1/4 miles. He will carry one pound fewer than I Want Revenge (119), who is expected to make his first start since the 2009 Wood Memorial. Entries for the Suburban will be taken on Wednesday, and those expected to run include Convocation (115), Hold Me Back (115), Tizway (115), Timber Reserve (115) Land of the Giants (114), and Eldaafer (114). Haynesfield (115) is possible.