Roman Ruler, winner of the Aug. 7 Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), will stand at John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms near Lexington upon his retirement.
Sikura, who stands Roman Ruler's grade I-winning half-brother, El Corredor
, at the farm, bought a significant interest in the 3-year-old millionaire son of Fusaichi Pegasus
from owners David Shimmon and William Bianco.
Sikura has been a big fan of Roman Ruler since day one. "I saw the horse break his maiden (at Hollywood Park) and was ultra impressed with his ability," he said about the colt who races in the name of Fog City Stable. "In his second start (Best Pal Stakes, gr. II, at Del Mar), he had to jump over a fallen horse and still circled the field and won in hand. He's a big, imposing, captivating horse to look at. To be that good so early at two shows his ability."
Roman Ruler, a $500,000 Keeneland September yearling, progressed nicely from those early days. Later in his 2-year-old season, the Bob Baffert trainee won the Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Oak Tree and just missed to subsequent champion 2-year-old male Declan's Moon by a neck in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II).
On the Experimental Free Handicap for males, Roman Ruler was assigned the second-highest weight, 124 pounds, the same given to Afleet Alex.
Placed on the Triple Crown trail, Roman Ruler fared poorly. Plagued by quarter crack problems, he finished last in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita in March and was given time off. He came back to win the July 4 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) in the excellent time of 1:40.83 for 11<$k-10>/16<$> miles at Belmont Park. His win in the Haskell at Monmouth Park netted him $600,000 and upped his earnings to $1,020,800."We are very appreciative of Bob Baffert and David Shimmon," Sikura said. "Bob got the horse back off the shelf to run back-to-back huge races. Roman Ruler is very credentialed already and, hopefully, his value will continue to be enhanced with performances like the Haskell."Bred in Kentucky by Needham/Betz, Liberation Farm, and Ashford Stud, Roman Ruler not only is a half-brother to El Corredor, but to graded winner Silver Tornado. El Corredor ranks third on the first-crop sire list by progeny earnings.Roman Ruler, who was produced from the Silver Deputy mare Silvery Swan, has won five of eight races."The last thing on anyone's mind is his retirement," Sikura said. "When the horse is retired, it will be the decision of the owners and Bob Baffert."Although they race Roman Ruler, Shimmon and Bianco are no longer partners in Fog City.$>$k-10>