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Jun 17, 2011

Ruler On Ice settled back at Monmouth Park


Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Belmont Stakes surprise winner Ruler On Ice took the short van ride from Belmont Park to his home at Monmouth Park and awaits his next assignment. The three-year-old gelding won the final jewel in racing's Triple Crown as a 24-1 longshot in the field of 12.

"It's like he never even ran," said winning trainer Kelly Breen, who picked up his first Triple Crown race win along with owners George and Lori Hall. "It's amazing how good he's doing. He just ran a mile and a half like it was nothing.

"It's hard to describe winning the Belmont. I did lose my voice, but it was well worth it."

Ruler On Ice pressured Preakness Stakes champ Shackleford who set the pace in the $1 million Belmont. The gelding took over the lead coming out of the last turn and went on to post a three-quarter length victory over another longshot Stay Thirsty.

"At the half-mile pole, I was hearing whips cracking behind me and I could hear guys chirping to their horses," said winning jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr., "and all I'm doing is picking up the tempo. With a half-mile remaining, I still felt like I have a lot of horse under me. Turning for home, everything started going in slow motion. At the sixteenth pole, I thought, 'This is the true Test of the Champion.'

"It's a great feeling. I have to thank the connections, George and Lori Hall and Kelly. I started working this horse this winter. I told Kelly that I liked him so much, I was going to freeze my butt off to come and work him every morning. He acts like he's something special, and I don't think we've gotten to the bottom of him yet."

While stabled at Monmouth Park, Ruler On Ice is a well traveled horse who has never started at the same track twice. In seven career races the gelding has visited the same number of tracks.

With several big races ahead for three-year-olds, the Halls and Breen have options on where and when to next start Ruler On Ice.

"I really don't know," Breen said. "The people over there in New York were so gracious and everything. Right away, George said he'd love to see this horse running in the Travers ( at Saratoga Race Course, August 27). We'll take it one day at a time and see how he is and how he's acting and how everything comes about. When he's ready, that's when we'll run him again."

Along with the Travers, other major stakes for three-year-olds are Monmouth's $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, July 31 and the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing in late September.

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