Strub S. (gr. II)

(gr. II , 9f ,)

ROCK HARD TEN (DK B/ h, 121 lb) $180,000
Kris S. —Tersa , by Mr. Prospector
B—Madeleine A. Paulson, KY.; O—Mercedes Stables LLC and Paulson, Madeleine; T—Richard E. Mandella

Imperialism (GR/RO h, 119 lb) $60,000
Langfuhr —Bodhavista , by Pass the Tab
B—Farnswoth Farms, KY.; O—Steve Taub; T—Kristin Mulhall

Love of Money (DK B/ h, 123 lb) $36,000
Not For Love —Mescalina , by Smarten
B—Milton P. Higgins III, MD.; O—Jay Em Ess Stable; T—Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.

Margins: nose, 3½, 3. Others: Good Reward 123($18,000) , Castledale (IRE) 119($6,000) , My Creed 117 , With Distinction 117 , Hendrix 117 , Diamond Fury 117 . Winning Jockey, Gary L. Stevens.

Rock Hard Ten figured to be one of the top older horses in training. As a 3-year-old last year, he won the Swaps Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. II) in July at Hollywood Park, beat all but Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and closed out the year with a score in the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita. It was no wonder that he went off the 4-5 favorite in the Feb. 5 Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita in his seasonal debut.

Rock Hard Ten didn’t look like an odds-on favorite in winning the Strub, but he won nonetheless, holding on gamely by a nose over Imperialism. The Strub score marked Rock Hard Ten’s second consecutive win since Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella took over the conditioning chores from Jason Orman in November.

Rock Hard Ten races for Madeleine Paulson in partnership with Ernest and Maria Moody’s Mercedes Stables. Paulson’s late husband, Allen Paulson, won the 1994 Strub with homebred Diazo when it was a grade I event.

The Moodys live in Las Vegas, where Ernest Moody is president of Action Gaming. The couple raced three earlier stakes winners, including 2004 graded winners Laura’s Lucky Boy and Twice as Bad. The former was bred by Madeleine Paulson.

Rock Hard Ten’s dam, French champion Tersa, is boarded at Gerald Ford’s Diamond A Farms near Versailles, Ky. The farm occupies part of the acreage that once comprised Allen Paulson’s Brookside Farms. A half-sister to 1982 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Gato Del Sol, Tersa is not in foal for 2005 and has not yet been booked.

Deceased Kris S., sire of Rock Hard Ten, is represented by 87 stakes winners, including additional 2005 added-money winner Sweet Lips. He sired 11 stakes winners last year. Kris S. stood at Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., prior to his death in 2002.—D.S.