Ruler on Ice has only raced once at Belmont Park and on that day he was the upset winner of the 2011 Belmont Stakes. On Saturday, trainer Kelly John Breen sends him back to New York with high hopes that history will repeat itself in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“So far, so good. He’s one-for-one at Belmont,” said Breen, who trains the gelded son of 2005 Haskell winner Roman Ruler at his Monmouth Park base for owners George and Lori Hall.
“It’s a very tough race. It should be. This race is the prep for a $5 million race- the Breeders’ Cup Classic, “said Breen. “He’s training very well.”
Ruler on Ice, third in the 2011 Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, blazed four furlongs in :48 flat in a workout at Monmouth on September 22 and the move was the fastest of 54 horses at the same distance.
Breen got the luck of the draw on Wednesday. Ruler on Ice will break from post three, the identical post he drew when he won the Belmont.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed,” he said. “That’s a good omen.”
MULLIN TO TAG TEAM THE JERSEY JUVENILE
They were foaled at the same farm six weeks apart, raised together, broken and given their early lessons together, and then sent to the same barn at the track together. Billyscrystalball and Shesfromboston even train and race together and that’s not about to change any time soon.
“Those two have been nose to nose since day one and that’s what makes it fun. Usually one will advance more quickly than the other but that hasn’t been the case,” said Michael Mullin, who trains the 2-year-old fillies bred by David and Doris Wilkinson at their Hidden Acres 4-D Farm in Allentown, New Jersey. “They are never apart. They even breeze, gallop and school together. Normally, I would never do it this way, but it’s worked out well with them. But I did have to separate them from adjoining stalls in the barn just recently because they had bonded too much. Still, they holler for each other and nicker at one another in the barn.”
Billyscrystalball, who is owned by Kristen Lomasson, and Shesfromboston, who races in the colors of her breeder, even hit the board together. Their first time out on August 25, Shesfromboston placed in a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight at Monmouth while her best friend was third after being steadied early. In their only other effort in another maiden special on New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival day on September 15, Billyscrystalball was the winner at five furlongs while her stablemate almost got second before being overtaken in the lane by the fast-closing PJ’s Superego and finishing third.
Mullin has nominated both fillies for the $60,000 Jersey Juvenile at six furlongs on October 6 and he hopes that they can hit the wire together while beating the boys. The race is open to juveniles of either sex..
“Billy is a blue collar girl and a work horse, and she’s got a big heart,” said Mullin. “She won that race in hand and Joe Bravo rode her brilliantly, but it remains to be seen if she can stretch out. Shesfromboston is bred to stretch out so going longer is better for her. They have both been consummate professionals in everything they do. You could not have nicer two-year-olds in the barn.”
PICK 5 AND PICK 4 CARRYOVERS ON SATURDAY
Everybody into the pool. Since longshots came in when Monmouth Park last raced on Sunday, there will be carryovers of $19,996 and $18,571, respectively, into the pools for the Pick 5 and Pick 4 when live racing resumes on Saturday.
The Pick 5, comprising races five through nine, is a 50 cent base wager with a takeout rate of only 15 percent. The early Pick 4, which will be on races two through five, is also a base wager of only 50 cents and has the same low takeout rate.
BLUEGRASS MINIATURE GOLF COURSE OPENS SATURDAY
Bluegrass Miniature Golf, located at Monmouth Park, is set to open on Saturday, September 29 and golfers can choose to play either of two 18-hole courses. The Monmouth Course and the Triple Crown Course come complete with individual horse racing themes.
Bluegrass Miniature Golf will be open seven days per week, weather permitting, through October 31. For details, hours of operation and fees, call 732-222-5100 or visit http://www.monmouthpark.com.