Roman Ruler, retired to Hill 'n' Dale Farm.

Roman Ruler, retired to Hill 'n' Dale Farm.

Barbara D. Livingston

Millionaire Roman Ruler Retired to Hill 'n' Dale

Millionaire Roman Ruler, a leading member of his generation at two and three, has been retired for stallion duty at John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms near Lexington. The grade I-winning son of Fusaichi Pegasus  was scheduled to contest the Oct. 29 TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), but was scratched from the race because of lameness in his right front foot about a week after working four furlongs in :46 1/5. He will stand for $30,000.

Roman Ruler, who registered two of the highest Beyer Speed Figures--a 106 and 103--as a juvenile in 2004, won the Norfolk (gr. II) and Best Pal (gr. II) Stakes and came within a neck of subsequent champion Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) in a runner-up effort. Although he finished fifth in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), he was beaten only 3 3/4 lengths. Roman Ruler's 124-pound assignment on the Experimental Free Handicap for males was two pounds below co-topweights Declan's Moon and Wilko and equal with Afleet Alex.

"Roman Ruler was brilliant from the word go," said Bob Baffert, who trained him for the Fog City Stable of David Shimmon and William Bianco. "I've been fortunate enough to train some very fast 2-year-olds, and Roman Ruler was definitely the fastest 2-year-old I've ever trained. He combines the three main ingredients you need in a great sire: brilliant speed as a 2-year-old, awesome good looks, and a blue-blooded pedigree. When we ran him first time out, we knew he was something special."

Placed on the Triple Crown trail, Roman Ruler missed the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) because of a quarter crack problem. Following some time off, he won the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park and the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park. He then ran third in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga and ran a close second to Rock Hard Ten in the Oct. 1 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita in his final Breeders' Cup prep. A $500,000 Keeneland September yearling, Roman Ruler retired with five wins from 10 starts and earnings of $1,220,800.

"He brings all the prerequisites of a serious sire to stud with him," said Sikura. "He was a brilliant 2-year-old, he was precocious, he can carry speed a distance of ground, he is a grade I millionaire, a great-looking horse, and his half-brother El Corredor is off to a brilliant start at stud."

El Corredor, who stands at Hill 'n' Dale, is second on the freshmen sire list and sire of grade I winner Adieu. Roman Ruler, who was bred by Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds, Liberation Farm, and Ashford Stud, also is a half-brother to grade III winner Silver Tornado. His dam, Silvery Swan (by Silver Deputy), is a half-sister to two stakes winners.