Thursday, June 09, 2011


OCEANPORT, N.J. * Trainer Kelly Breen says Ruler on Ice is the best he’s ever been * bloodwise, that is * which could make the Monmouth Park-based runner a longshot threat in Saturday’s $1 million Belmont Stakes, final jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.

The gelded son of Roman Ruler, who finished third in the Sunland Derby (G3) in March, and then ran second in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico as a prep for the Preakness, has not run since that May 7 race because of “poor blood,” according to Breen.

“We were pointing him for the Preakness,” the trainer said, “and then he disappointed us in the Tesio, which I thought he should have won. It turned out his blood count was very bad, and he needed time to build up.

“He’s never been off the board this year, and he was always gaining in his races, so a mile and a half race was always in our thoughts,” Breen said. “Once we knew he wouldn’t make the Preakness, we started pointing him for the Belmont.

“I’m glad we gave him time, because his blood count has never been better, and he’s been showing us in the morning that he’s ready to run with the top caliber horses.”

Ruler on Ice, who was purchased for $100,000 from the 2009 Keeneland yearling sale, has turned in two straight bullet works over the Monmouth track. He went five furlongs in 1:00 flat on May 27 (best of 10 works at the distance), and confirmed that with five furlongs in 1:01 flat (best of 23) on June 4.

Jose Valdivia Jr., who has been aboard Ruler on Ice in all his four starts this year, has the call again as they go from Post 3 in the field of a dozen 3-year-olds that includes Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and Preakness winner Shackleford.

Monmouth will offer advance wagering on the Belmont Stakes on Friday, June 10, beginning at noon. On Saturday, Monmouth’s gates will open at 10:30 a.m. for simulcast betting on the entire Belmont Stakes Day card, which gets underway at 11:35 a.m. with the first of 13 races.

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