10/12/2005 12:00AM

BC Sprint: Roman Ruler likely to join the fray as Baffert weighs his options


The presence of the undefeated Lost in the Fog figured to make the Sprint one of the feature attractions on this year's Breeders' Cup card. The six-furlong Sprint could take on additional importance, however, with trainer Bob Baffert's announcement Wednesday that Roman Ruler is now being considered for the race.

Baffert said he was leaning toward the Sprint rather than the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic with Roman Ruler after the 3-year-old worked a half-mile in 47 seconds at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

"He worked good enough today where I would seriously consider the Sprint," said Baffert. "The problem I have with the Classic is that he's not mature enough to run with the older horses. He's got brilliant speed. He's not as quick away from the blocks, but he has speed."

Baffert said another alternative would be to run Roman Ruler in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 26.

Roman Ruler has run in three sprints, all as a 2-year-old. He won two of those three starts, including a 6 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes, and also finished second by a neck to champion 2-year-old Declan's Moon in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity.

If he runs, Roman Ruler would join a field that already figures to include Lost in the Fog, Pomeroy, Battle Won, Taste of Paradise, Lion Tamer, Gygistar, Imperialism, High Fly, Silver Train, Elusive Jazz, Estate Collection, and perhaps I'm The Tiger.

Captain Squire became a potential Sprint candidate after capturing Saturday's Grade 1 Ancient Title Handicap at Santa Anita, while trainer Ben Perkins still remains hopeful he can get his injury-prone Grade 1 winner Wildcat Heir fit enough to compete in the Sprint off a series of workouts. Wildcat Heir will work this weekend at Belmont.

Captain Squire's gutsy win in the Grade 1 Ancient Title was the second in as many starts for the 6-year-old since he returned from a 14-month layoff this summer at Del Mar.

"At the moment we're still up in the air regarding the Breeders' Cup," said his trainer, Jeff Mullins. "He came out of the race well. We'll see how he does and let the horse talk to us before making a final decision."

Mullins said another option for Captain Squire, who finished seventh in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, would be the seven-furlong Sport Page Handicap earlier on Breeders' Cup Day.

Trainer Bobby Barnett confirmed Wednesday that Elusive Jazz, upset winner of Saturday's Grade 3 Phoenix Breeders' Cup at Keeneland, would definitely be pointed for the Sprint.

"He came out of the race great, and we're going to the Breeders' Cup if he can get in," said Barnett.

Trainer Chuck Simon said Battle Won remained on target for the Sprint despite his fifth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in Sunday's Woodford Stakes on the Keeneland turf.

"He got stuck behind some horses who unfortunately did not stop," said Simon. "But he got what I needed out of the race, and it didn't take much out of him."

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen

Sprint Contenders
3-year-olds & up, 6 furlongs. Purse: $1 million.

1Battle WonC. Simon15-1
Turf loss means little; big win this year came turf to dirt; upset potential
2Lost in the FogG. Gilchrist4-5
As light as this race is coming up this year, he has never met this kind
3Taste of ParadiseG. Mandella10-1
Showed a definite liking for Belmont in his Vosburgh upset; that helps
4Lion TamerT. Pletcher6-1
Fast-closing third in Vosburgh off four-month layoff; eligible to improve
5Silver TrainR. Dutrow Jr.15-1
Won Jerome in fast time; must respect everything this barn sends out
6ImperialismK. Mulhall15-1
Best as a closing sprinter, but will have to come from way back here
7Elusive JazzB. Barnett20-1
Beat softies in the Phoenix, but the Beyer Figure he earned was good
8Captain SquireJ. Mullins12-1
Hard-fought Ancient Title win made him 2 for 2 since his comeback
9PomeroyP. Biancone8-1
Showed no zip in Vosburgh after sluggish start; does best at Saratoga
10Wildcat HeirB. W. Perkins Jr.20-1
Has worked, and is still a candidate despite one August race this year
The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.