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Bunny's Belmont Brigade Bombs!
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Read more at Bits N' Bunny

 

I have been spotlighting some of my favorite Belmont Stakes in history over the past few weeks leading up to this year’s edition.  Animal Kingdom, Shackelford, Nehro, Master of Hounds, and Brilliant Speed were all poised to add another favorite to my list.  They failed.

Unpredictability can make this sport so exciting, not predictability.  However, there is a difference between the longshot winning a great race against great horses ie: Mine That Bird’s 2009 Kentucky Derby, versus a longshot winning a mediocre race against great horses that ran an ordinary race.

Animal Kingdom’s unfortunate stumble early in the race, instantly dealt him out of the game.  Shackelford confirmed that 1 ½ miles is not his distance.  Nehro’s chipped ankle handed him a lackluster fourth place finish.  The poorly managed Master of Hounds’ frequent flyer miles did not earn him an upgrade, landing him in a dismal tenth place.  After Brilliant Speed’s third place finish, his owners may want to rethink a name change to Lil Bit O’ Speed.  To add a little perspective, Secretariat would have finished approximately 35 lengths ahead of first place finisher, Ruler On Ice.  Ok, I’ll deduct a few lengths for track condition.  But you get the point.

On the upside, Shackelford proved that he is not a one style wonder with his pacesetting speed, but that he can slow it down anytime.  I would love to see this boy shoot it out in the Breeders’ Cup Mile with Goldikova.  Dale Romans are you listening?

In goat show terms, the judge verbally explains his placings, and by the time he reaches the last place goat, your goat is basically “commended” for showing up.  I “commend” Ruler On Ice for crossing the wire first.  I don’t consider this horse’s win an accomplishment of “overcoming” his circumstances, ie; Being a gelding and being shipped on the morning of the race.  I would simply summarize the race by saying that he won at the hands of the others’ losing.

However, this race gives me the opportunity to spotlight an impressive stallion who I have been following since I was eleven years old, Ruler On Ice’s sire, Roman Ruler.

Roman Ruler, was highly successful at both two and three years of age.  As a juvenile, he showed great promise by crossing the wire first in the Norfolk Stakes, and the Best Pal in a romp.  Even after training horses such as Silver Charm, and Real Quiet, Bob Baffert called Roman Ruler his best two year old.  He carried on his talent throughout his three year old year, finishing first in the Haskell Invitational, Dwyer Stakes, and third in the Travers.

Roman Ruler’s lineage backed him up when he entered his stud career.  Being by Fusaichi Pegasus alone brought plenty of distance into his pedigree. The 2001 Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness second placer is not only by the largely influential Mr. Prospector, but is also out of Angel Fever, who has distance orientated bloodlines.

Angel Fever is a product of the strong Danzig-Rowdy Angel, by Halo breeding.  Though Danzig’s perfect three for three racing career was cut short due to a knee injury, he excelled as a stallion.  Out of his two hundred individual stakes winners, he sired a remarkable twenty-one champions, four of which were Breeders’ Cup winners.  Danzig still remains the leading sire by stakes winners in all of North American breeding history.  His sire, Northern Dancer, won the Kentucky Derby in 1964, and his broodmare sire, Admiral’s Voyage traces back to War Admiral, who won the Triple Crown in 1937.  Fighting Fox, a successful full brother to 1930 Triple Crown winner, Gallant Fox; can be found twice in Danzig’s fifth generation.

Halo’s second dam, Almahmoud, is also the dam of Northern Dancer, which makes Rowdy Angel a strong match for Danzig.  Halo, known for his wild disposition, sired two Kentucky Derby winners during his stud career. 

Roman Ruler’s dam, Silvery Swan, was a proven broodmare, foaling GI winner, El Corridor, and the GI placed Maimondies.  She is by Silver Deputy, who is by Deputy Minister, an outstanding broodmare sire.  Deputy Minister is by Vice Regent, who is by Northern Dancer, creating more interesting line breeding.  Silver Deputy’s broodmare sire is Mr. Prospector, which I believe makes Silvery Swan a perfect match for Fusaichi Pegasus.  Her second dam is by Never Bend, and her broodmare sire’s broodmare sire is Princequillo (IRE), who was a spectacular broodmare sire, holding the title of leading broodmare sire in North America eight times, and once both in Britain and Ireland in 1971.

In his first year at stud, Roman Ruler was the leading sire by mares bred, with his brother, El Corridor in second.  His progeny such as Rule, who won the Delta Downs Jackpot by nine lengths; and Homeboychris, who ran away with an imposing Champagne Stakes win, show that Roman Ruler is off and running as great sire, only standing stud for five years.  In those five years, he has sired nineteen stakes horses, but has yet to sire a millionaire (Though Ruler on Ice won the Belmont Stakes, his earnings only reach $766,500.  He is not Roman Ruler’s leading earner; Rule received $877,700 on the racetrack).  His offspring’s winning percentage is forty-one percent.  This is something I consider remarkable, bearing in mind his foals’ winning percentage is ten percent greater than the Afleet Alex progeny, and eleven greater than the Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) offspring.

This excellent horse is built beautifully, with a substantial chest, and a gorgeous neck.  Roman Ruler’s withers and shoulders are not lacking in strength, and he has impressive depth through the heart girth, powerful hindquarters, and solid legs.

Roman Ruler is off to an outstanding start at Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm, and I greatly anticipate seeing more from this exceptional horse in the years to come.  He has it all: pedigree, looks, and talent both on and off the racetrack.

 
 

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