Under Alan Garcia, the 4-year-old son of Lucky Roberto settled in fourth on the rail, following a pace set by Man of Danger. That one went straight to the front and led through early fractions of :21.95 and :45.06, tracked by favored Executive Fleet and Gold and Roses.
Angling out on the turn, Lucky Island made his bid at the eighth pole and drew clear against a five-wide move from Forefathers.
"He’s a very nice horse," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "The first time we ran him, he bled. We were thinking of sending him to Dubai, which is why he ran without Lasix. Now, he is 3-for-3 for us on Lasix. This was a big step up...(but) he proved he belonged. He looked great in there. By the fall, we could stretch him out. We’ll keep him sprinting for now."
Lucky Island covered the six furlongs over Belmont's dirt surface in 1:09.14, finishing 2 1/4 lengths ahead of his competition when asked to draw off with a few strokes of the whip.
"Kiaran (McLaughlin) did a great job with this horse," Garcia said. "I thought he was the best horse coming into the race, and the race set up for me really, really good. My horse was a little slow early, but I managed to save ground. Turning for home, I knew I had the best horse.”
It was the fourth win from five career starts for the lightly-raced Lucky Island, who was bred in Argentina by Arroyo de Luna out of the Equalize mare Ebrolize. He broke his maiden by nine lengths at first asking in his native country, covering six furlongs on the turf in 1:09.21, and was purchased by Shadwell following that impressive score.
In his first U.S. start, Lucky Island stumbled badly at the start of a Dec. 29 allowance race at Calder and, as McLaughlin mentioned, also bled while not racing on Lasix. Given a fair chance at each of his following races, however, he scored convincingly by 2 1/4 lengths in a Feb. 15 allowance at Gulfstream, and by 4 1/2 lengths in an April 5 allowance at Aqueduct.
Lucky Island earned $65,460 for the Bold Ruler victory and nearly doubled his earnings to $134,942.
Sent off as the third choice, Lucky Island returned $9.20, $6, and $4.60, while Man of Danger paid $8.20 and $5.50 under John Velazquez and Forefathers brought $4 with Kent Desormeaux. Council Member, Callmetony, Executive Fleet, and Gold and Roses completed the order of finish.