Roadster’s comeback may begin on Breeders’ Cup weekend

October 16, 2019 09:00am

Grade 1 winner Roadster, who has run once since hampered at the start of the Kentucky Derby, has been given ample time toward a return, which trainer Bob Baffert said could happen on the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Saturday undercard.

“I’m eyeing different races,” Baffert said. “I’d like to give him a start-out race.”

That would be Santa Anita Park’s $100,000 Damascus Stakes, a seven-furlong event for 3-year-olds and up.

Before nine Breeders’ Cup races go, the Damascus will run along with the Twilight Derby (G2) for sophomores on turf and the Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares sprinting on the lawn.

Roadster was beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Mucho Gusto last time in the Jun 16 Affirmed Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. That stablemate used the race as a launchpad to summer features like the Haskell (G1) and Travers (G1), while Roadster, a slim-framed son of Quality Road, headed to the sidelines.

“He just needed a little time off to freshen up,” Baffert said. “He looks really good — looks like he’s coming back into form.”

A winner of three races from six starts, Roadster took his 3-year-old debut back on March 1 in allowance optional claiming company, looking like a Kentucky Derby threat in his first start since diagnosed with a breathing issue that required surgery last season.

From there, Roadster out-dueled Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to punch his ticket to Churchill Downs. There, those two met again when the gates opened for the Derby, brushing as they exited the auxiliary gate looking for position the first time under the wire. Roadster went on to be placed 15th.

The gray has worked off and on since July, finally establishing a consistent pattern over the last month. His most-recent move, going five furlongs, was clocked in a minute flat last Thursday.

An array of options would follow the Damascus for the Speedway Stable runner, with Del Mar carding the Native Diver (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 23 before Santa Anita re-opens Dec. 26 offering the San Antonio Stakes (G2) around two turns and the Malibu (G1) for 3-year-olds at 7/8 of a mile.


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