Roman Ruler, Actxecutive in Compact Best Pal

(from Del Mar notes)
Actxecutive and Roman Ruler, a pair of sharp 2-year-olds trained by Bob Baffert, stand out in Sunday's $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The Best Pal drew a small field of five, owing in no small part to the brilliance of the Baffert entrants. James McIngvale's Actxecutive and the highly regarded Roman Ruler, owned by Fog City Stable, should prove to be difficult to beat.

Actxecutive broke his maiden at first asking by 10 lengths, but has fallen short in his past two appearances, Hollywood Park's Haggin Stakes and the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III), both times to the swift Chandtrue. Chandtrue, a smallish son of Yes It's True, won't run in the Best Pal, being held out in favor of the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) Sept. 8.

Roman Ruler, a son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, was a four-length winner in his only outing and has been working smartly.

One of those expected to offer solid competition is trainer William Currin's Wetherly, who broke his maiden in a sharp four-length victory at Del Mar July 24. Currin acknowledged that his colt might not be as fast as the Baffert duo, but he guaranteed Wetherly would be the best looking animal in the paddock.

"He's as black as coal, smooth as silk and he's the best balanced horse I've ever seen," the proud Currin said. "He has a very efficient way of going."

Considering possible distance limitations, Currin said, "I think his best lick will be a mile on the grass. I hope he'll go farther, but he's bred to go a mile. He's by Expelled, who ran on the turf for Bobby Frankel."

As for his prospects on Sunday, the trainer said, "He looks like he belongs in the race."

The Best Pal will be run as the day's second race.

$150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II), 2-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Actxecutive, 118, David Flores
2. Roman Ruler, 118, Corey Nakatani
3. Wetherly, 118, Kent Desormeaux
4. Slewsbag, 116, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
5. Things Happen, 118, Martin Pedroza