Pat O’Brien: Ransom The Moon Will Not Run, Roy H Also Doubtful

Reigning Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Roy H and Ransom the Moon, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Bing Crosby Stakes, are potential scratches from Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes, their trainers said Friday morning.

If so – and notifications aren’t required until close to post time – the seven-furlong event will lose considerable star power from what gave it “race of the meeting” potential when entries were taken and post positions drawn on Wednesday.

Catalina Cruiser, the unbeaten (3-for-3) impressive winner of the San Diego Handicap, and defending Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile champion Battle of Midway, are still set to run. They will be heavily favored to reap the benefits of a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile even though four other horses of lesser accomplishment are also entered.

Trainers Peter Miller and Phil D’Amato, who respectively map the campaigns of Roy H and Ransom the Moon, cited long-term goals for Breeders’ Cup races in November at Churchill Downs as the reasons for pulling out of the O’Brien.

“Ransom the Moon is not going to run,” D’Amato said. “We’re going to look at either the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (Saturday, October 6) or the DeFrancis Dash (mid-September at Laurel Park in Maryland). I really just want to run him in one (Breeders’ Cup) prep. If I run him now, it’s sitting on him for 10 weeks before the Breeders’ Cup and that’s a long time for the horse.

“The spacing is just so much better for those other races to have him ready to give 100 percent against the best horses in the world.”

Miller cited similar concerns regarding Roy H, runner-up to Ransom the Moon in the Bing Crosby and a career earner of more than $1.7 million. More than $1.2 million of that was produced in a 2017 campaign of five wins in six starts – a mark marred only by a second to Ransom the Moon in the Crosby – that culminated with a one-length victory in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint here last November.

“The horse is doing fine, I think he’d win the race,” Miller said. “But winnng (this) race is not the end game. If it’s going to cost me winning the Breeders’ Cup, that’s not a good trade off. So, I think we’re going to be prudent.

“I’m not afraid of any of those horses. We don’t duck anybody. But seven-eighths of a mile could knock him for a loop, and two months in front of the Breeders’ Cup, I don’t think that’s very smart.”

Via text later Friday morning, Miller said: “The only caveat to all of that is if the race fell apart and tons of scratches.”

The field, currently, from the rail out: Catalina Cruiser (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-5), Vorticity (Tiago Pereira, 20-1), Threefiveindia (Joe Talamo, 15-1), Roy H (Paco Lopez, 3-1), Ransom the Moon (Flavien Prat, 5-2), Horse Greedy (Stewart Elliott, 20-1), St. Joe Bay (Tyler Baze, 10-1) and Battle of Midway (Mario Gutierrez, 8-1).

The post Pat O’Brien: Ransom The Moon Will Not Run, Roy H Also Doubtful appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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