09/11/2005 11:00PM

Godolphin prospect finally returns


ELMONT, N.Y. - When Ruler's Court left North America for Dubai in the fall of 2003, it was hoped he would have returned the following spring for the Kentucky Derby. Instead, his next North American start comes Wednesday in a second-level allowance race at Belmont Park.

won the 2003 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita by 14 lengths. Though the Breeders' Cup Juvenile was held at Santa Anita that year, Ruler's Court was held out of that race by his owner, Godolphin Racing. He returned to Dubai that winter and suffered an injury that forced him to miss his entire 3-year-old year. In two starts this year, Ruler's Court has been beaten 40 lengths, including a 28 3/4-length drubbing in the Dubai World Cup.

He returned to the U.S. in May and is now ready to return to the races to determine his future. Though Ruler's Court went a month without breezes, his five-furlong move in 59 seconds on Friday indicate he's ready to run in Wednesday's seven-furlong heat.

"When he was in Dubai he was a little bit weak and it took some time,'' trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. "Since he came here, he's getting better all the time. The last piece of work he did very well; we're happy with him. We will learn more after this race. We believe he will be a better horse than what we saw in Dubai.''

Jerry Bailey rides Ruler's Court from the rail.

, a son of Fly So Free trained by Dominic Galluscio, looks like the horse to beat from the outside post under John Velazquez. Freedom Isnt Free won his first two starts - both sprints - before finishing third in his route debut over this track in June. Freedom Isnt Free missed some time with a foot bruise.

"He was entered in a race at Saratoga and I had to scratch him,'' Galluscio said. "He's training very well. I'm looking forward to running him.''

Freedom Isnt Free won his first two races on talent. He raced greenly in both, but still got the job done. In his third start, he was third behind Record Buster.

"The first time I ran him long he was on the inside and he wasn't used to that, and I don't think he ran to his full potential," Galluscio said. "I'm glad we got the outside post."

, a front-running winner of his last two starts, looms the one to catch under Edgar Prado. Royal Moment and Calypso Band may have enough speed to keep Mr. Umphrey entertained early on.