Roadster looks to regain winning form in Del Mar's Native Diver

November 20, 2019 05:56pm
Grade 1 winner Roadster, who returned from a 4 ½-month layoff to be beaten a nose in the Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, will step back up Saturday when taking on five rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar.

Roadster, who earlier this year won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and was 15th in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Bob Baffert, will be joined by stablemate Leading Score in the 1 1/8-mile Native Diver. Most recently, Leading Score was third in the Comma to the Top Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 behind Midcourt and Two Thirty Five, both of whom are also entered in the Native Diver.

Owned by Speedway Stable, Roadster won three of his first four starts, which includes the Santa Anita Derby, before a disappointing effort in the Kentucky Derby under Mike Smith. The son of Quality Road resurfaced six weeks later to run second in the Affirmed Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita before heading to the sidelines.

Coming off the bench in the seven-furlong Damascus, Roadster and new rider Drayden Van Dyke stalked the pace and then battled gamely in the stretch before losing by a nose over the well-regarded Flagstaff. Van Dyke will be back aboard Roadster, who with a recent race and additional distance looms a major threat.

Midcourt is a lightly-raced 4-year-old for trainer John Shirreffs. The gelded son of Midnight Lute, who was a $450,000 yearling purchase by C R K Stable, is riding a three-race winning streak. Midcourt earned his diploma by a nose at Santa Anita on June 2 and, following a 10-week break, returned to win an allowance race at Del Mar. In the Comma to the Top, Midcourt came from off the pace to prevail by a neck over Two Thirty Five. Victor Espinoza will ride Midcourt for the third straight start in the Native Diver.

Prior to just missing in the Comma to the Top, Two Thirty Five won the Harry Brubaker at Del Mar for trainer Richard Baltas to earn his first stakes victory. Abel Cedillo, who was aboard for both those starts, will be back in the irons.

Extra Hope will get a second chance at Roadster after finishing 1 ½ lengths back of that rival in the Damascus for trainer Richard Mandella. The 3-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby took a big step forward in the Damascus, which was the second start off a six-plus month layoff. He is eligible to keep improving with additional racing and the stretch out to two turns.

Completing the field is Zestful for trainer Mark Glatt. The 4-year-old gelding by Ghostzapper has had a prolific season, tallying seven wins and a trio of seconds in 12 starts, mostly in the starter allowance ranks, for earnings of $178,111.

Glatt red-tagged Zestful out of a $40,000 claiming race at Pleasanton on July 4. After winning another starter allowance, Glatt moved Zestful up to the stakes ranks where he was a prompt winner of the 1 ¼-mile L.A. Special and was then beaten just three-quarters of a length in the 1 ¾-mile Marathon Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

2019 Native Diver Stakes (G3)

 

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