Harty Holds Ruler's Court in Hollywood

(from Hollywood Park notes)
The brief history of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's experiment with a North American division of young horses with trainer Eoin Harty has been an up-and-down proposition for all involved.

After an inaugural learning year in 2000, Harty enjoyed a banner 2001. Tempera, who broke her maiden at Hollywood Park, went on to win an Eclipse Award after capturing the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, a race in which stablemate Imperial Gesture finished second.

Last year proved to be a disaster as illness decimated his stable at Del Mar.

But in 2003, Harty, with the addition of a couple of new wrinkles, has gotten off to his best start.

Sheikh Mohammed has allowed Harty to add a few Darley Stud Management horses older than 2 to his American arsenal. Also, he purchased four 2-year-olds in training this spring in addition to the 2-year-olds that begin their training in Dubai before being shipped to California in April.

One of those is Ruler's Court, who broke his maiden at first asking at Hollywood June 11 and rules as the probable favorite in the $100,000-added Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III), the meet championship for 2-year-olds at six furlongs on Saturday.

Ruler's Court was purchased in April at a Florida sale and will be ridden back by David Flores. He was shipped here Monday after working five furlongs at Santa Anita, where Harty is based.

"His winning time (:57 2/5) was the fastest of the meet, and he's improved off that race and trained well," said Harty.

Ruler's Court could also make up for one of the few disappointments of the 2001 meet for Harty. Sleeping Weapon, one of the Juvenile favorites, was forced to miss the race because of illness.

In addition to Ruler's Court, Harty has unveiled two other promising 2-year-olds that won at first asking – the colt Flushing Meadows and the filly Tizdubai, a full sister to Horse of the Year Tiznow and multimillionaire Budroyale.

"Tizdubai grabbed a quarter in her race but has recovered and worked this morning," said Harty, weighing future options with the prize filly, a $950,000 yearling purchase.

"Tiznow and Budroyale did not start until later in their careers because they were big and backward horses," said Harty. "Tizdubai is not a very big horse, but with her pedigree I'm hoping she will go longer."

Ruler's Court will probably face four rivals in the Juvenile: Blairs Roarin Star (Mike Smith), Dave The Dude (Victor Espinoza), Perfect Moon (Patrick Valenzuela) and Tricky Flash Flood (Felipe Martinez).

Dave The Dude, third-place finisher in the Haggin Stakes June 21, blew out three furlongs in :37 1/5 at Hollywood Wednesday for trainer Mike Harrington.