Songster and Edgar Prado capture fhe Bold Ruler Stakes Saturday at Belmont.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Songster and Edgar Prado capture fhe Bold Ruler Stakes Saturday at Belmont.
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Songster Belts Overmatched Rivals in Bold Ruler

Odds-on favorite Songster, making his first start since being transferred from Darley Stable to Godolphin last winter, made short work of his four rivals in the $105,400 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) {VIDEO} in his first start of the year at Belmont Park Saturday.

The rare black 4-year-old colt was among the top sprinters on the East Coast last season when he won the Hirsch Jacobs (gr. III) by 10 lengths and the Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup (gr. II) by two before a fifth-place finish in the King's Bishop (gr. I) at Saratoga in August.

He did little to dispel the notion he'll be tough to handle again this year with a gate-to-wire romp by 2 1/2 lengths as the 1-2 choice under regular pilot Edgar Prado in the six-furlong Bold Ruler, which he completed in 1:08 4/5. Saeed bin Suroor is the listed trainer for Songster.

Songster broke on the lead, taking a one-length advantage over Anew through an opening quarter mile of :21 3/5 and a half-mile in :44. Songster shook loose of Anew in upper stretch and opened up a five-length lead at the furlong pole. Despite lugging in during the final eighth, he won as much the best and paid $3, $2.30, and $2.10.

“Looks like he’s come back in old form," Prado said. "He just had another gear. I think he is coming back to the races great. He’s just more mature. He used to be really crazy in the post parade; today he was very relaxed. Mentally, he grew up a lot.”

Dashboard Drummer, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez from the rail, was outrun early and rallied for second, returning $4.60 and $2.60. Dark Cheetah also closed mildly to get third, paying $2.50. Pavo finished fourth and Anew, a grade II winner last year also making his first start since last August, faded to last.

The son of Songandaprayer went to the sidelines after the King's Bishop, when he was 7 1/2 lengths behind Henny Hughes. He began a steady pattern of works for his new connections in January at Payson Park and was ready to go after a :47 2/5 four-furlong sharpener for Godolphin assistant conditioner Rick Mattee at Belmont May 4.

Songster has four wins and three seconds in eight lifetime starts with earnings of $367,740 after collecting Saturday's winning purse of $64,440.

“It was good to see him come back that way," Mettee said. "I was kind of hoping we would lay off Anew, but when he broke a half-length in front, I knew there was really nothing Edgar could do. I was a little worried about the pace being fast and setting it up for a closer, but at the eighth-pole, we were still four or five in front.

"This is a horse (Godolphin) would like to make a stallion out of. Winning a grade one this year would, obviously, be very important."

Mettee said Songster could come back in either the True North (gr. II) at six furlongs on Belmont Stakes day June 9 or wait for the Tom Fool Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) over seven furlongs on July 4.

Richard Giacopelli bred Songster, who is out of the French Deputy mare Peppy Lapeau, in Florida. He was purchased for $200,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July Kentucky sale in 2004.

(Chart, Equibase)