If Bob Baffert has his way and the weather cooperates, Roman Ruler's long-awaited 3-year-old debut will take place Saturday in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles."I'm hoping he runs here," trainer Baffert said on a Sunday morning marked by drizzle. "The only way I would change my mind is if it rained here all week. As long as it doesn't rain here we'll be all right. If it rains, we'll run in the Gotham (at Aqueduct the same day). I will not run him on a wet race track."Inconsistent training due to lingering quarter-crack problems and unprecedented rainfall has delayed Roman Ruler's first start on what Baffert hopes is the Triple Crown trail. The $500,000 son of Fusaichi Pegasus has not started since last Oct. 30, when he finished fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) behind 28-1 longshot Wilko. Prior to that, Roman Ruler (gr. II) won the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita by 4 ½ lengths as the 1-20 favorite.San Felipe candidate Wilko worked seven furlongs in 1:28 on Hollywood's fast main track Saturday. "He worked well with Corey (Nakatani) on him," trainer Craig Dollase said. "Everything's all set for Saturday. We missed a work. I'd say we're going into this probably one work short because of the rains, but he came out of this work good and we're looking forward to next week. Our number one goal is the first Saturday in May, so that's our plan."Added Nakatani: "He probably ran better than that (1:28). He went easy in the beginning and then I let him kick like he's going to run in his race. The key is to let him finish like :23 and a tick. That's the way he's supposed to do it. He's on go."
Probable for the 68th running of the San Felipe: Don't Get Mad, Tyler Baze; Consolidator, no rider; Roman Ruler, Gary Stevens; Wilko, Corey Nakatani; Golden Shine, Rene Douglas; and Giacomo, Mike Smith. Consolidator worked five furlongs Sunday in 1:00, while Golden Shine went six furlongs in 1:14 at Hollywood. John Shirreffs said Giacomo is scheduled to work Monday at Hollywood, after which a decision would be made on the San Felipe.