Classic winner Ruler On Ice and multiple graded stakes victor Pants On Fire are to make their next starts in the $1 million Resorts Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, trainer Kelly Breen confirmed July 17.
The Haskell is July 31.
“Fire” and “Ice”, as they’re known, stepped on the Monmouth track just after 7:30 a.m. in the morning. Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pants On Fire worked four furlongs in :49 4/5. Shortly thereafter, Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Ruler On Ice was caught in 1:02 3/5 for five furlongs over the fast main track.
“They both went perfectly,” said the 42-year-old Breen, a resident of Farmingdale, N.J. “Nice, easy works this morning, just what we were looking for.”
Both owned by George and Lori Hall, of Rumson, N.J., the 3-year-olds enter the Haskell off victories. Ruler on Ice, the gelded son of 2005 Haskell winner Roman Ruler --Champagne Glow, by Saratoga Six, captured the Belmont Stakes June 11. Pants on Fire, a colt by Jump Start out of the Cape Town mare Cabo de Noche, took the Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth June 18.
With Pants On Fire’s regular pilot Rosie Napravnik on the sidelines with an injury, Breen has found himself a new rider that is no stranger to the Monmouth Park winner’s circle.
“Elvis (Trujillo) will be aboard Pants On Fire,” the trainer said. “(Jose) Valdivia rides Ruler On Ice. All systems are go for us.”
With 49 victories thus far, Trujillo leads all riders at the current Monmouth Park meet. He was top rider at Monmouth in 2009.
Fire and Ice will be the second and third Haskell starters for Breen, who in 2006 finished second with Praying for Cash.
In addition to the Breen duo, the Haskell is expected to draw Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford , Rattlesnake Bridge, Astrology , J J's Lucky Train, Concealed Identity, and either Coil or Prayer for Relief from the Bob Baffert barn.
The Haskell has produced five year-end champions and a pair of Horse of the Year winners over the past four runnings: Curlin , Big Brown , Rachel Alexandra, Summer Bird, and Lookin At Lucky .