The $500,000 Goodwood Handicap got a boost Wednesday when trainer Bob Baffert said that his 3-year-old, Roman Ruler, would run Saturday at Santa Anita instead of shipping to New York for the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup on the same day.
Roman Ruler will be the biggest threat for Rock Hard Ten in the Goodwood, which may draw only a handful of horses when entries are taken today. Rock Hard Ten, the Santa Anita Handicap winner who’ll be ridden by Gary Stevens, will carry 121 pounds, seven more than Roman Ruler, who’ll be ridden for the first time by David Flores.
This will be Roman Ruler’s first start against older horses. After winning the Dwyer at Belmont Park and the Haskell Handicap at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., this summer, he finished third, behind Flower Alley and Bellamy Road, in the Travers at Saratoga. Flower Alley is one of the probables for the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Roman Ruler, who has won five of nine starts and earned $1.1 million, won the Norfolk at Santa Anita last year, four weeks before he was fifth as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Roman Ruler, who worked a half-mile in 48 1/5 Wednesday at Santa Anita, had been scheduled to be flown to New York today. The Goodwood, an important prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Belmont on Oct. 29, is 1 1/8 miles, an eighth of a mile shorter than the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“I wasn’t thrilled about the mile and a quarter, and I wasn’t crazy about shipping,” Baffert was quoted as saying. “It’s a small field here, plus the weather’s been bad on the East Coast.”
Elusive Diva, a filly who underwent eye surgery for an abscess earlier in the year, won the $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap as the Oak Tree Racing Assn. opened its 31-day meet at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Pat Valenzuela for trainer Mark Glatt, favored Elusive Diva beat Chasethegold by three lengths for her third win in as many tries on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita.
Garrett Gomez, who finished second aboard Chasethegold, rode three winners on the card. Gomez finished second in the Del Mar standings, three wins behind Victor Espinoza, and during the major-track lull he slipped in to Fairplex Park to notch five wins and eight seconds out of 16 mounts.
Julie Krone, the retired Racing Hall of Fame jockey, gave birth Tuesday to an eight-pound, nine-ounce daughter named Lorelei Judith Krone in a San Diego-area hospital. It is the first child for Krone, who is married to Jay Hovdey, executive columnist for the Daily Racing Form.... Bluesthestandard, second in the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint but now an 8-year-old gelding who’s running in California’s claiming ranks, finished third Wednesday to move within about $10,000 of the $1-million purse mark.... Three of Wednesday’s winners were bred by Betty Mabee of Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona.... Shadow Cast, winner of the Personal Ensign at Saratoga, has been retired because of a tendon injury.