As the attention this
week centers on the rubber match between Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom
and Preakness winner Shackleford in the Belmont, there will be plenty of other
horses looking to spring an upset.
One of those horses is Ruler
On Ice, owned by George and Lori Hall and trained by Kelly Breen. Last seen
running second as the favorite in the $65,000 Federico Tesio at Pimlico Race
Course, the gelded son of Roman Ruler is remaining at Breen’s Monmouth Park
base until Saturday.
“We have a lot of
aspirations for this horse,” Lori Hall said. “He’s still a little immature, and
a little crazy. I think [jockey Jose Valdivia Jr.] is probably one of the only
jockeys that will ride him.”
Valdivia has been aboard
for each of Ruler On Ice’s past four starts, including a February allowance win
and a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Sunland Derby on March 27, his only
previous graded stakes try.
“He’s a little green,
but he has this amazing close,” Hall said. “He might be one to watch here, kind
of one that’s not on anyone’s radar screen but might really surprise people.”
The Halls were
represented by Pants On Fire in the Derby, and resisted the temptation to bring
Ruler On Ice back to Pimlico for the May 21 Preakness.
“He just wasn’t quite
ready to get into the Preakness, so we just pointed him to the Belmont,” Hall
said. “We think he’s really coming around.”