Baffert Mulls Options as Roman Ruler Moves on to Saratoga

Edited Monmouth Park release
Just 12 hours after posting a 1 1/2-length win in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, Roman Ruler was on a van headed for Saratoga as trainer Bob Baffert weighs his options with his now grade I winning colt.

Baffert said the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) is the ultimate goal.

"He came out of the race just fine," said Baffert, who scored his third Haskell win with Roman Ruler. "I'm not sure what his next race will be -- maybe the Travers (gr. I, Aug. 27), maybe something else. I haven't made up my mind yet. The ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Classic, and we'll map out a plan to get there."

Roman Ruler and jockey Jerry Bailey sat fourth down the backstretch before moving around the far turn and powering past pacesetter Sun King in the final eighth to win the 1 1/8-mile Haskell.

Prior to his Haskell score, Roman Ruler won the Dwyer (gr. II) on July 4 in his second start of 2005. As a 2-year-old, he won the Norfolk (gr. II) and the Best Pal (gr. II).

Earning $600,000 for his Haskell win, Roman Ruler became racing's newest millionaire with lifetime earnings of $1,020,800 for owner Fog City Stable. The son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus  from the Silver Deputy mare Silvery Swan now has a lifetime record of 8 5-1-0.

Sun King, the Haskell runner-up, is also being sent to Saratoga. Trainer Nick Zito, however, suggested that the Tracy Farmer-owned colt will not likely be a candidate for the grade I, $1 million Travers for 3-year-olds on August 27, but would train up to the grade II Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 5.

"The Travers may be too long for him," said Zito, who won another of Saratoga's major races, the Grade 1 Whitney, on Saturday with Commentator. "It's also too quick to bring him back in three weeks for a race like the Travers."

He was impressed with the way Sun King set the pace and tried to stay with Roman Ruler late in the race.

"He ran his guts out," Zito said. "But Bob (Baffert) had his horse cranked up for this race. Roman Ruler is a really good horse. I thought it was worth taking a shot running Sun King in the Haskell. That's what this game is all about."

Also exiting the Haskell in fine shape was the New Jersey-bred Park Avenue Ball, who finished third in Sunday's race. Trainer Jim Ryerson indicated that the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) on Sept. 5 may be the next start for Park Avenue Ball.