In one of the best performances of the year in the handicap division, Rock Hard Ten crushed a solid field that included probable champion older male and Horse of the Year candidate Saint Liam by 1 3/4 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile Big 'Cap. He got the classic trip in 2:01.20, earning a 107 Beyer.In his final start, the Goodwood, Rock Hard Ten easily cruised past Roman Ruler in the stretch, earning a career best 112 Beyer.While being prepared for a run at the Breeders' Cup, Rock Hard Ten was scratched the day before the race after a minor foot ailment was detected.
Rock Hard Ten, a multiple grade I winner and impressive winner of the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Oak Tree Oct. 1 in what would be his final race, will stand the 2006 breeding season at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky. The son of the late leading sire Kris S. will stand for $50,000, it was announced Friday morning.The classic-placed Rock Hard Ten is out of the champion Mr. Prospector mare Tersa. Mr. Prospector is currently the leading broodmare sire in North America with more than $11.8 million in progeny earnings. Tersa was named champion 2-year-old filly in France in 1988 after winning two stakes including the Prix Morny (Fr-I).Rock Hard Ten was bred in Kentucky by Madeleine A. Paulson, who has since married T. Boone Pickens. The dark bay or brown colt raced for Ernie Moody's Mercedes Stable and Madeleine Pickens.A winner of seven of 11 starts, Rock Hard Ten earned $1,870,000 and won or placed in seven graded stakes including the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He won the seven-furlong Malibu and 10-furlong Santa Anita Handicap (both gr. I) in the same season, joining Spectacular Bid and Round Table as the only horses to pull off that feat.Perhaps known best for his strapping size, he had a star-crossed racing career, missing the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) last spring at three and missing this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). He was initially trained by Jason Orman, and then later by Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.He won his first two starts in the winter of 2004 at Santa Anita, then tackled the nine-furlong Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), where he finished second, beaten a head, but was disqualified and placed third for drifting in. Shipped to Churchill Downs for the Derby, he was unable to run due to his lack of graded earnings, the main criteria for entry. He did make it into the Preakness field two weeks later and ran second behind Smarty Jones . He then ran fifth in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I).Rock Hard Ten bounced back to take the nine-furlong Swaps Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Hollywood Park before traveling back across the country to run sixth in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park.Given time, he came back on the opening day of the Santa Anita meeting Dec. 26 and won the Malibu by a half-length over Lava Man in 1:21.89. Stretched out to nine furlongs, he won the Strub Stakes (gr. II) in dramatic fashion by a nose over Imperialism, earning a 109 Beyer Speed Figure in the process.