Ruler On Ice, winner of the Belmont Stakes (Grade I), has joined the roster of horses that will compete in the 137th running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Friday, Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs.
Ruler On Ice breezed five furlongs on Friday in :48.60 for trainer Kelly Breen over a fast main track at Churchill Downs. It was his first breeze since the Classic and his only major training move prior to the Clark.
Starting two lengths behind stablemate Nacho Friend and finishing even with his workmate at the wire, the Kelly Breen-trained Ruler On Ice recorded fractions of :24.60 and :36.60 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02. The four-furlong time was the 12th fastest of 47 at the distance.
“It was excellent,” Breen said. “It was a textbook work and he seems to really like this track.”
George and Lori Hall’s will be entered in the Clark off a third-place finish behind Drosselmeyer and Game On Dude in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. It was the first start against older horses for the 3-year-old son of Roman Ruler.
“I’m very happy to report that he came out of the race in good order and he’s currently in great shape,” Breen said. “He’s eating well and training well. He’s a lean, mean fighting machine.”
Breen said Ruler On Ice came out of his Classic run in great condition, and the gelding's well-being and the uncertain nature of this year’s Eclipse Awards races were the major factors in the decision to run in the Clark.
“We’re thinking that if he wins this race then he is in the running for champion 3-year-old,” Breen said. “That would give us two Grade I wins and he would be beating older horses (in the Clark).”
Other horses working at Churchill Downs on Friday morning included Clark Handicap candidates General Quarters and Equestrio.
Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters, a multiple Grade I-winner with over $1.2 million in earnings, breezed five furlongs on the main track in 1:01.80. He covered the distance in fractional splits of :12.60, :25, :37.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.40. The work was the 11th fastest of 41 at the distance.
Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable’s Equestrio, third by a head to First Dude in the Alysheba (GIII) on Kentucky Oaks Day, breezed a “bullet” four furlongs in :47 for trainer Nick Zito. A 4-year-old son of Elusive Quality, Equestrio recorded fractions of :12.20 and :24 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.60.