Baffert Gives Roman Ruler Nod for DM Futurity

(from Del Mar notes)
Trainer Bob Baffert cleared up the questions surrounding three promising 2-year-old colts Friday when he announced that his flashy Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) winner Roman Ruler would run in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) in the track's traditional closing-day feature Wednesday.

Roman Ruler, a son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus , was being considered for a two-turn race elsewhere in New York or Kentucky.

But the the seven-furlong Futurity became a better option when Roman Ruler turned in a sharp :46 four-furlong workout last week. Baffert, who has two other candidates for the race, spelled out the plan, saying Roman Ruler will run at Del Mar. Fusaichi Rock Star is to run in the Futurity (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 19, and Compulsive would opt for the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) Sept. 18 at Turfway Park, he said.

The Futurity is a one-turn mile and the Turfway race is at 1 1/16 miles.

Roman Ruler is undefeated in two career starts, winning a maiden outing at Hollywood Park by four lengths and blasting the Best Pal field by seven lengths.

Jockey Corey Nakatani gets the call, taking off an earlier assignment with triple stakes winner Chandtrue, trained by Bob Hess, Jr.

Chandtrue, who worked five furlongs this morning in :59 4/5, will get the returning Gary Stevens in the irons. Stevens, who said he was glad to be home from France, was up for Friday's work.

"I got up this morning and worked a real nice colt for Bob Hess that it looks like I'll ride in the Futurity, and he worked great. That was the first time back on the track so that was a nice one to start things out with."

As for getting the ride aboard Chandtrue, Stevens said, "I found out about a week ago there was going to be a conflict and we sort of figured which way they were going and Bob figured which way it was going, and we actually had the call a few days ago."

Also committed to the race are Declan's Moon, a maiden winner trained by Ron Ellis to be ridden by Victor Espinoza, and the Jeff Mullins-trained Swiss Lad, also a maiden winner here, who will be ridden by Tyler Baze.