Trainer Todd Pletcher had a busy Saturday morning leading up to Kentucky Derby 136, sending five potential Derby starters to the track for works with another pair going out for gallops over a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs. Rule, Mission Impazible , Super Saver , and Discreetly Mine worked, as did the filly Devil May Care, who may run in the Derby or the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Larry Melancon was aboard WinStar Farm’s homebred Rule, winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Tampa Bay Downs and third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Ice Box and Pleasant Prince in the Florida Derby (gr. I) (VIDEO).
“It was my first time on him,” Melancon said after the drill. “He went nice.”
The son of Roman Ruler was clocked in 1:00 for five furlongs. His splits were :12, :24, :35 3/5, :47 1/5. He galloped out six furlongs n 1:15 4/5.
“I don’t know that he loved the wet track today,” Pletcher said. “He went OK. It wasn’t brilliant, but he’s a horse that’s really done nothing wrong his whole career; he’s pretty much run well every time. I think we may need to adjust his tactics a little bit. (Jockey) John Velazquez thought he did a little bit too much, too early with him and was closer to the pace than he needed to be and that may have compromised his finish in the Florida Derby.”
Velazquez has been aboard Rule in all but one of his starts and was aboard when Rule took the Boyd's Gaming Delta Jackpot Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Delta Downs. Velazquez will ride Eskendereya in the Derby and Ramon Dominguez will ride Rule in the Run for the Roses.
In all, Rule, who is out of the Personal Flag mare Rockcide, has a 4-1-2 record from seven starts and has earned $791,700. Breaking his maiden in his third start, and first at a mile, last Oct. 8 at Belmont, he prepped for the Delta Jackpot with a nine-length score in the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs under Corey Lanerie.