Roman Ruler Impressive in Gate Work

Roman Ruler Impressive in Gate Work
Photo: Benoit
Roman Ruler works toward sophomore debut in Gotham Stakes.
Multiple grade II winner Roman Ruler, now targeted for the March 19 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 2/5 from the gate under jockey Gary Stevens over Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday morning.

The move was the best of 12 who went six furlongs on Sunday.

The dark bay son of Fusaichi Pegasus  , who hasn't raced since a fifth-place finish as the favorite in the Oct. 30 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), was scheduled to race in Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II). But due to the heavy rains that hit the Southern California area over the last couple of weeks, he was forced to miss training and will instead ship out of town for his first start as a sophomore.

Assistant Jimmy Barnes oversaw the work for trainer Bob Baffert, who was at Calder Race Course for the Fasig-Tipton 2-year-olds-in-training sale.

"It was good, just what we wanted," Barnes said. "Bob was listening to it on the radio. They always get something more from a gate work than they do from a regular work. He galloped out (seven-eighths) in 1:25, so everything looks good.

"Now we just have to find a spot. With the weather and the missed training, the Gotham is the most likely spot."

Owned by Fog City Stable, Kentucky-bred Roman Ruler won last year's Best Pal (gr. II) and Norfolk (gr. II) and was second in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II). From five starts overall, the $500,000 Keeneland Sept. yearling has three wins and a second for earnings of $330,800.

Also working Sunday was Bienstock, Winner, Papiano and Noctis LLC's Wannawinemall, a four-length winner of a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight event on Feb. 17.

Under Hall of Famer Mike Smith, the black son of Royal Anthem went five furlongs in 1:01 4/5.

Trainer Kristin Mulhall said Wannawinemall will start next in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields on March 12.

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