Bribon Favored in Bold Ruler Handicap
A field of eight was drawn for the Bold Ruler, which shared top billing with the $100,000 Turnback the Alarm (gr. III) for fillies and mares.
Owner Derrick Smith and trainer Todd Pletcher weighed the merits of supplementing Bribon to the Sprint for $180,000 before deciding to point the 7-year-old toward the seven-furlong Bold Ruler and the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 27.
“Part of the decision had to do with the supplemental factor, and part of it was his prior history in New York,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to Pletcher. “He’s also a come-from-behind sprinter, and there’d be some obstacles at Churchill for him. It just seemed like a better avenue here.”
Winner of the 2009 Shadwell Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), Bribon added to his tally with a victory in the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont June 5. The gelding enters the Bold Ruler race off two starts at Saratoga; a third in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I) on Aug. 8 and a sixth in the Forego (gr. I), having shed the frog on his left front foot during the latter race.
“Everything has gone real smooth since that race and his foot hasn’t been a problem,” said Thomas. “It’s a prep for the Cigar Mile, but it looks like we are coming in with a good horse.”
John Velazquez has the mount aboard Bribon, installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite and who will break from the rail as the 120-pound highweight.
Tahitian Warrior, purchased privately by Godolphin Racing following an impressive debut victory at Gulfstream Park in January, will make his first start stakes start.
Tenth on the turf at Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse in March, Tahitian Warrior chased home Trappe Shot when second in an allowance at Belmont June 5. The sophomore posted easy victories in seven-furlong allowance races respectively held at Belmont and Saratoga July 10 and Aug. 16, and enters this race off a second to Birdrun in a one-mile optional claimer Sept. 22.
“He ran into a hot older horse in Birdrun, who, when he’s good, is usually very good, and is probably better than him at a mile” said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “This will be a good chance to see how he fares against older sprinters.”
Tahitian Warrior, the 5-2 morning-line second choice, drew post 2 and will carry Cornelio Velasquez and 113 pounds.
Wildcat Brief has hit his best stride this year as 4-year-old, earning his first stakes victory in the Icecapade at Monmouth Park Sept. 5 and finishing third in the Vosburgh (gr. I) at Belmont Oct. 2.
“He got a little stronger as he was a little weak in behind when he was three,” said Ben Perkins, Jr., who trains the colt for his father, Benjamin Perkins, Sr. “I also think the Monmouth track has played a little more in his favor this year. He doesn’t have a lot of speed, and last year he had a hard time making up ground.”
Elvis Trujillo will ride.
Repole Stable’s Roaring Lion defeated Wildcat Brief twice this summer at Monmouth when he won the Mr. Prospector July 5 and the Teddy Drone Aug. 1. Favored at 1-2 in the Maryland Million Sprint, the gelding finished third after breaking a step slowly and steadying with a half-mile to go. Roaring Lion, 12-1 on the morning line, will leave from post 5 under Jose Lezcano.
A field of nine was entered for the 1 1/16-mile Turnback the Alarm, with Mrs. C. Wilson McNeely III’s Funny Moon pegged as the 8-5 morning-line choice. Funny Moon, winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) as a sophomore at Belmont, comes into the race off of a fifth-place finish in the Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) Oct. 10 at Keeneland when returning from a three-month layoff. She has won once in five starts as a 4-year-old for trainer Christophe Clement.
$100,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III, Race 6, 3:39 p.m.), Fillies & Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)
$100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:15 p.m.), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs (Dirt)
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