Roman Ruler best in Norfolk Stakes
ARCADIA, Calif. -- Roman Ruler will go to Lone Star Park as a probable favorite for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 30 and the full confidence of trainer Bob Baffert.
After finishing second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 8, Roman Ruler rebounded on Sunday posting an easy win in the $196,000 Norfolk Stakes. Making his first start around two turns, Roman Ruler scored by 4 1-2 lengths over Boston Glory, finishing 1 1-16 miles in 1:44.27.
Corey Nakatani gave Roman Ruler a little more than a hand-ride.
Baffert's only concern was the way Roman Ruler stayed close to pacesetter Littlebitofzip through early fractions of 23.02 and 46.05 seconds before taking the lead on the final turn.
"We'll have to work on slowing him down a little," Baffert said. "Horses like him, they'll go quick, and they'll keep going anyway.
"I think it would have been disappointing if he'd gone out fast and then fallen apart. It worked out great. They went a little fast early but he kept going. I feel good coming out of the race."
Roman Ruler paid $2.10, the lowest payoff in the 35-year history of the Grade 2 Norfolk. He was the subject of $751,896 of the $793,280 bet to place, creating a minus place pool of $130,038.05. There was no show betting.
Boston Glory finished 13 lengths clear of Littlebitofzip. Forever Foxy was last in the four-horse field. Compulsive was scratched.
The Norfolk was Roman Ruler's second stakes win. In August, he won the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes by seven lengths. Owned by Bill Bianco and David Shimmon, Roman Ruler has won 3 of 4 starts and $285,800.