01/17/2012 2:31PM

Gulfstream Park: Eternal Ruler gets a fresh start in turf allowance

Barbara D. Livingston
Eternal Ruler will make his first start since Oct. 6 on Thursday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Eternal Ruler did not win his 3-year-old finale. But considering what the two horses that defeated him accomplished in their next starts, it bodes well for Eternal Ruler’s chances when he finally returns against a full and well-matched field of first-level allowance horses going one mile on the turf in Thursday’s $53,500 feature at Gulfstream Park.

Eternal Ruler finished third, beaten a neck and a nose by Dynafortwo and Humble and Hungry, going 1 1/16 miles under similar allowance conditions Oct. 6 at Belmont Park. Dynafortwo returned three weeks later to finish second, beaten inches by Clement Rock, in the Shady Character overnight stakes. Humble and Hungry did even better, shipping to Churchill Downs to win the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes while numbering Silver Medallion among his victims. Silver Medallion has since won two Grade 3 races of his own, including last Saturday’s Fort Lauderdale.

Eternal Ruler is trained by Robert Ribaudo for owner Marc Keller. He began his career in Great Britain, where he won his maiden at first asking going a mile, despite a slow start. Eternal Ruler joined Ribaudo’s stable in April and was stakes placed over a yielding course this summer at Saratoga. He makes his local debut Thursday off a 3 1/2-month layoff with four works under his belt, including a half-mile in 47.88 seconds on Jan. 11.

“We knew we were coming down here for the winter, and we’re hoping to have a big 4-year-old season with him, so I sent him to Fair Hill for a couple of months after his last start,” Ribaudo said when asked why Eternal Ruler had been idle since early October. “We kept the tack on him most of the time he was at Fair Hill, he was never really stopped on up there, and he’s trained better than expected since he’s come back. If we can get some pace in this race, it would help us, and from looking over the past performances, it appears like we have some.”

Eternal Ruler is one of at least a half-dozen logical contenders in Thursday’s headliner, along with Corporate Jungle, Nine O Wonderful, Trend, Quantity, Blimey, and Dream Man.

Corporate Jungle and Dream Man are both coming off career-best efforts when winning their maidens in their 3-year-old finales. Corporate Jungle rallied to a 2 1/2-length victory going a mile over the Saratoga turf course on Aug. 13, but has been idle since. Dream Man overcame a wide trip to graduate in his local debut Dec. 23, rallying from last to a convincing 2 1/4-length triumph.

Nine O Wonderful finished willingly, but fell three parts of a length shy of beating similarly conditioned first-level allowance rivals here Dec. 17 and has now hit the board in each of his last three starts.

Trend has not finished worse than second in his last five outings dating back to July 16 at Woodbine, but has not raced since his runner-up finish at Keeneland on Oct. 12.

Quantity finished less than a length behind Nine O Wonderful, despite having to take up at the top of the stretch when the pair met here last month, while Blimey switches to the turf for the first time after finishing third behind the well-regarded Troilus going a mile on the main track Dec. 8.

Grande Shores and Normal Practice both stretch out off a series of sprints and should provide the early pace in their turf debuts.