Roadster, under jockey Mike Smith, uncorked a massive late rally to run down Game Winner in the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, securing the colt a spot in the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
Instagrand grabbed the early lead and held it well through a 1/4 mile in 23.34 and a 1/2 in 47.84. But as he hit the far turn, Instagrand seemed to shorten stride and was joined by Nolo Contesto and Game Winner. Instagrand got a second wind as they straightened out for the drive, but he eventually retreated as Game Winner and Joel Rosario rallied in between horses and it looked like they were home. But Roadster, who was still well behind as the field approached the far turn, was silently moving up, and took the lead in deep stretch to prevail by a 1/2 length over stablemate Game Winner.
“I moved a little bit soon because they weren’t putting much pressure on Instagrand,” Rosario said of Game Winner, “but they weren’t going too fast up front so I was comfortable with my position, He got a little bit tired the last part, that’s why Roadster got by me.”
Game Winner raced 3-4 paths wide throughout, yet again, even in a six horse field, and it may have cost him the race.
Instagrand held on for third and Nolo Contesto faded to fourth.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Roadster completed the 1-1/8 mile journey over a fast track in 1:51.28.
Roadster and Game Winner will be moving on to the Kentucky Derby, while Instagrand might come up short and sits at #23 in the standings right now.
Santa Anita Derby Results:
Roadster $8.20 3.00 2.40
Game Winner 2.40 2.10
$1 Exacta $7.00
,50-cent Tri $5.90
.10-cent Super $2.24