01/28/2013 5:23PM

Aqueduct: Ruler On Ice starts over in Wednesday feature

Tom Keyser
Ruler On Ice has gone winless in nine starts since his 2011 Belmont Stakes victory.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After a disappointing 4-year-old season compromised by physical issues, 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice looks to jump-start his career when he makes his 5-year-old debut in a third-level allowance race Wednesday at Aqueduct.

The one-mile race drew a field of six, though Kelly Breen, the trainer of Ruler On Ice, said he will most likely scratch the other half of his entry, Nacho Business.

Wednesday’s nine-race card at Aqueduct also features a pick-six carryover of $31,203, starting with race 4. Ruler On Ice runs in race 3.

Ruler On Ice, owned by George and Lori Hal, has gone winless in nine starts since upsetting the Belmont at 24-1. He went 0 for 4 in 2012, which ended with him being eased in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 29. Ruler On Ice came out of that race with some issues that required Breen to give the gelding some time off.

Ruler On Ice shows five works leading up to this race, including a five-furlong move in 1:00.84 on Jan. 18, the fastest of 18 works at the distance.

“I saw a little bit of a change in him when he got over to New York,” Breen said. “His stride has gotten better, he looks good, and I’m hoping it’s in correlation to how he’s acting around the barn in the cold weather.”

Ruler On Ice won the Belmont over a sloppy track, and there is rain in the forecast for Wednesday, though it may not come early enough in the card to create an off track. Wet conditions or not, Breen just wants to get a race into Ruler On Ice.

“I’m not sure if he’s 100-percent fit,” Breen said. “I’m looking to get a good line on how he’s doing and where he’s going, and this looked like as nice a spot as any.”

Ruler On Ice, who finished second in a first-level allowance race over the inner track in 2011, will break from post 2 under Irad Ortiz Jr.

The competition is modest. Spa City Fever ran several races over the inner track last winter that make him competitive in this spot. He is, however, coming off a fourth-place finish in a high-priced claimer four weeks ago.

“He’s doing well,” trainer Mike Hushion said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how he runs. I love the post position.”

Spa City Fever, one of two horses in for the optional claiming price of $75,000, will break from the rail under Guillermo Rodriguez, who is subbing for the suspended Jose Ortiz.

Joan’s Choice, also in for $75,000, will be making his first start since August. He won twice over the inner track last winter.

Arch Traveler, away since October, and Keep Me Informed, who will be making his first start off the claim for John Toscano, complete the field.