Repeat effort: Ransom The Moon beats Roy H again
Maybe the 2017 Bing Crosby Stakes wasn't a fluke after all.
In the 2018 edition of the Bing Crosby, without any excuses, Ransom The Moon blew past champion sprinter Roy H to win the $300,000 Grade 1 dirt sprint at Del Mar.
As opposed to last season, when Ransom the Moon won after a loose Drefong hampered Roy H late in the turn, both horses had clear sailing in the stretch. Roy H rallied outside of early leader St. Joe Bay and Touching Rainbows, who got first run at the frontrunners, but never seemed to kick in fully.
Agave Racing Stable and Jeffry Wilke's Ransom the Moon, however, had plenty of momentum even farther outside. Under jockey Flavien Prat, who won his fourth straight Bing Crosby, the Phil D'Amato-trained son of Malibu Moon surged to the wire to win by two and a quarter lengths in a final time of 1:10.08 for six furlongs.
"This horse beat this field on the square," D'Amato said. "Roy H is a great horse - hat's off to him - but my horse, since I gave him a freshening a while back, he has kind of become the horse of old."
Roy H held second by a half-length over D'Amato's second entry, Touching Rainbows.
"I was more focused on Touching Rainbows as the race developed, because he was in (contention), but I saw Flavien tip Ransom the Moon out and saw them steadily pick up speed," the trainer said. "By the time they hit the top of the lane, I thought Ransom the Moon was going to run them down."
Ransom the Moon raced in ninth in the 11-horse field early, nine and a quarter lengths behind St. Joe Bay, who set fractions of :21.93 and :44.78 through a half-mile, as American Pastime pressed the leader on the inside. St. Joe Bay still held a length lead with a furlong to run, but Ransom the Moon was in full flight, three lengths back.
"I was thinking I was riding this horse up too close," Prat said of Ransom the Moon's four-race winless streak following last year's Bing Crosby. "I might have been taking his kick away from him, so today I went a different way. We had a big field and I knew there would be some pace, so I sat back with him.
"Then he came running. I had a lot of horse."
Jockey Kent Desormeaux said Roy H's flat finish may have been a side effect of his near four-month layoff, following his third-place run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.
"He's been off for a while, so he might have needed this one," Desormeaux said of the 2017 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner. "(Trainer Peter Miller) will go over him real well and get him figured out."