Ruler surprises in Belmont Stakes

Ruler On Ice claimed a surprise victory in the G1 Belmont Stakes on Saturday after the favourite Animal Kingdom clipped heels and nearly fell shortly after the start.

The third leg of the USA Triple Crown has a history of rough results and the 143rd running of the classic had its share of hard-luck stories.

Ruler On Ice (3g Roman Ruler – Champagne Glow by Saratoga Six) shadowed Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford through leisurely sectionals before taking command in the straight.

Despite challenges from Stay Thirsty (Bernardini) and Brilliant Speed (Dynaformer) he held on to win by three-quarters of a length.  The final time was 2:30.88s for 2400m on a sloppy surface.

Ruler On Ice was bred in Kentucky by Liberation and Brandywine Farms.  He cost owners George and Lori Hall $100,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Winning trainer Kelly Breen said the addition of blinkers helped Ruler On Ice focus.  “We put them on in a trial and he was still goofing off,” Breen revealed.  “The second time he broke alright.  It’s like that sometimes – the bulb just goes on.”

Ruler On Ice is the second G1 winner for Roman Ruler, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus who stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms.  The first was 2009 Champagne Stakes winner Homeboykris.

The Belmont Stakes winner had been knocking on the door after placings in the G3 Sunland Derby and LR Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.

Ruler On Ice is a younger half-brother of Champagne D’oro (Medaglia d’Oro), a G1 winner of the Saratoga Test Stakes and Belmont Acorn Stakes.

The TKO that Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom received shortly after the break capped a day of upsets at Belmont Park.

All four Group 1 events went the way of long-shots in front of a 55,000 crowd that braved the rain in New York.  It’s Tricky (Mineshaft) defeated odds-on favourite Turbulent Descent (Congrats) in the G1 Acorn Stakes.

C. S. Silk (Medaglia d’Oro) won the G1 Just a Game Stakes at double-digits as did Mission Approved (With Approval) in the G1 Manhattan Handicap.