2011 Belmont Stakes

Ruler On Ice and jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. win the 143rd Belmont Stakes.

A sealed, speed-favoring sloppy track and bad racing luck endured by the favorite combined to allow 24-1 longshot Ruler On Ice to claim a stunning victory in the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

The race was a disaster for 5-2 favorite Animal Kingdom, who clipped heels after the break and jockey Johnny Velazquez went up over his neck, losing his left stirrup.

Photo: Rick Samuels

Photo: Rick Samuels

Animal Kingdom, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), made a bid with three furlongs to run but tired to sixth.

Photo: Dave Harmon

Ruler On Ice is a gelded son of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms’ Roman Ruler   out of Champagne Glow (by Saratoga Six).

Photo: Skip Dickstein

He was bred in Kentucky by  Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm and is owned by George and Lori Hall, who purchased Ruler On Ice for $100,000 as a yearling in the 2009 Keeneland September sale.

Photo: Chad Harmon

The winner stalked pacesetter and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford throughout most of the 1 1/2-mile race, which started with a moderate quarter-mile in :23.92 then slowed to a leisurely :49. 08 for the opening half, 1:14.51 for three-quarters, and 1:39.95 for a mile.

Photo: Mathea Kelley

Ruler On Ice, on the outside, and Mike Repole’s Stay Thirsty, at the rail, tracked closely behind Shackleford to the top the top of the stretch before Shackleford faded and Ruler On Ice took command.

Photo: Mathea Kelley

Belmont 2011

Photo: Mathea Kelley

Despite a challenge from Stay Thirsty and Brilliant Speed, who had closed through the second turn and was toward the outside, Ruler On Ice held on to win by three-quarters of a length.

Photo: Chad Harmon

The final time was 2:30.88.

Photo: Rick Samuels

It was an emotional Belmont debut for winning jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., who rode the winner for trainer Kelly Breen.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice is the second grade I winner for Roman Ruler, and the sire’s third graded stakes winner. Roman Ruler’s other grade I winner is Homeboykris, who won the 2009 Champagne Stakes.

Photo: Dave Harmon

The Belmont Stakes winner went into the race having finished out of the money only once in six starts and has been knocking on the door in graded stakes and stakes company.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

The winner paid $51.50, $26, and $13.60. Stay Thirsty finished second and paid $19.40 and $10.80. Live Oak Plantation’s Brilliant Speed was third and paid $7.90. A $2 exacta paid $928, the $2 trifecta paid $8,268, the superfecta paid a monstrous $74,052.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Earning $600,000 for the win, Ruler on Ice improved his lifetime purse total to $766,500.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice is out of the stakes winner and grade I-placed Champagne Glow, a daughter of the brilliant runner Saratoga Six and the most talented female runner out of her dam Champagne Ginny, who also produced two grade I winning males—Grand Canyon and Jurado.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice's victory makes it three years in a row a different horse has won each of the Triple Crown races.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice was wearing blinkers for the first time, which trainer Kelly Breen said was important to get the gelding to focus.

Photo: Rick Samuels

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Mathea Kelley

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Mathea Kelley

Javier Castellano, riding Stay Thirsty (right), said he was happy with his mount’s performance. "I have to give credit to the winner," Castellano said. "He was impressive. He never gave up."

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Chad Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Chad Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Dave Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Dave Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Dave Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Dave Harmon

Ruler On Ice was still full of energy after running the 1 1/2 mile race in 2:30.88.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

The rubber match between Shackleford and Animal Kingdom never developed, and you can see the disappointment in the jockey's faces as they head back to the barn.

Photo: Chad Harmon

Animal Kingdom bumped another horse a few strides after the start, causing him to stumble badly and jockey John Velazquez to lose the left iron. Velazquez said he had been forced to ask more from Animal Kingdom than he had wanted particularly between the half-mile pole and the quarter-pole. Animal Kingdom ended up finishing behind Nehro and Shackleford, who were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. receives a congratulatory fist bump from trainer Kelly Breen.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice and his owners head towards the winners circle.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Left to right: Owner George Hall, owner Lori Hall , trainer Kelly Breen, jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. raise the winning trophy.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Chad Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Chad Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Chad Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Chad Harmon

Ruler On Ice wins the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Photo: Skip Dickstein

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