Roman Ruler, Imperialism Tune for Gold Cup

Roman Ruler, Imperialism Tune for Gold Cup
Photo: Benoit
Roman Ruler shipping to Belmont for next Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Roman Ruler and Imperialism, two California-based runners bound for next Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, were put through their final preparations for the 1 ¼-mile event on Friday morning.

Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) winner Roman Ruler went six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes over Santa Anita's fast main track. It was the third fastest of 16 who went the distance on the day.

Trainer Bob Baffert, after considering options for Roman Ruler, confirmed the 3-year-old son of Fusaichi Pegasus   would make his first start against older horses in the JC Gold Cup. With a strong effort, Baffert said, the bay colt would run next in the Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I) over the same track on Oct. 29.

Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey has committed to ride Roman Ruler in the Gold Cup. Bailey was aboard for the colt's third-place finish in the Travers (gr. I) last month.

"He earned a shot," Baffert said. "I don't think he fired in his last race so we're going to see if he can go a mile and a quarter over a track he likes. He's definitely not a sprinter and Bailey said that, if he runs like he did in the Haskell, he could definitely get the distance and deserves a chance to go."

Roman Ruler has banked $1,120,800 for owner Fog City Stables from a career line of 9-5-1-1. In addition to the Haskell, he also owns victories in the Norfolk, (gr. II), Dwyer (gr. II), and Best Pal (gr. II) stakes.

Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) winner Imperialism, who is set to leave for New York Friday night, went six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 across town at Hollywood Park with trainer Kristin Mulhall in the saddle. It was the second fastest three-quarters of a mile work on the morning.

The 4-year-old son of Langfuhr   went in company with stablemate Fantastic Spain, who crossed the wire one tick slower in a final time of 1:12 4/5.

"He worked well," Mulhall said. "He's training great right now. He leaves tonight and then I'm leaving tomorrow."

With a strong effort in the Gold Cup, Mulhall said, Imperialism will most likely start in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Though the colt has never won at 10 furlongs and is undefeated at seven furlongs, Mulhall believes that he's probably better suited to the longer distances.

"He finished third in both the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and the Hollywood Derby (gr. I) at a mile and a quarter," Mulhall said. "And he barely got beat at a mile and an eighth in the Strub Stakes (gr. II). He likes a lot of ground for his late run and he's never been better than he is right now, so we'll just have to see."

Owned by Steve Taub, Imperialism has banked $868,605 from a line of 24-6-5-3. He was considered a top 3-year-old in 2004 after winning the San Vicente (gr. II) and the San Rafael (gr. II) stakes and finishing second via disqualification in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

Baffert said Roman Ruler would leave for New York on Thursday along with multiple grade II winner Woke Up Dreamin, who could face top sprinter Lost in the Fog in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). Mike Pegram's Woke Up Dreamin is set to run in Saturday's Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) while Lost in the Fog has been confirmed by trainer Greg Gilchrest to run in the Bay Meadows Speed Handicap in Northern California on the same day.

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