05/23/2013 3:23PM

Monmouth Park: Breen plans to run both Pants On Fire, Ruler On Ice in Majestic Light


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Kelly Breen hopes to saddle both Ruler On Ice and Pants On Fire as a potent one-two punch on Saturday in the $75,000 Majestic Light Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The 12-race card starting at 12:50 p.m. Eastern kicks off the holiday racing weekend on the Jersey Shore. Monmouth will have a live card every day through Monday.

Thanks to the Breen duo of 5-year-olds, the Majestic Light has some unanticipated star power. The two runners are separate betting interests in the 10-horse field going one mile and 70 yards.

The status of Pants On Fire remains up in the air, depending on how he heals from a foot gouge that kept him out of Belmont Park’s Westchester Stakes on April 27.

“I wouldn’t mind running both,” Breen said. “He hurt the foot a little bit. We’ll wait to see how it’s healing. Every day we check to see if he’s okay, or if he needs a little bit more time.”

Pants On Fire has run three times this year, all at Gulfstream Park. He won an allowance race sandwiched between third-place finishes in a pair of Grade 3 stakes: the Hal’s Hope and the Skip Away. His notable wins include the Louisiana Derby and Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes in 2011.

While Pants On Fire progresses through another productive campaign, Breen keeps looking for signs that Ruler On Ice is still serious about running.

The 2011 Belmont Stakes winner ended a nine-race losing streak with an allowance win over Aqueduct’s inner track in January. Breen hoped the victory was a turning point, only to be disappointed in the next two outings.

The gelding was a soundly beaten fifth in the Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct followed by a fourth-place finish in an allowance race at Parx Racing.

“Sometimes he wasn’t feeling well and we didn’t like the way he was striding out,” Breen said. “Then there are his antics, acting up and not wanting to train properly. I’m hoping that we get him back on track. At Parx, he didn’t want to go into the gate, didn’t want to go into the saddling area. That’s what we deal with every day.”

Rain is in the forecast to start the holiday weekend, a prospect that does not faze Breen.

“We’re just trying to run our horses in a decent spot,” Breen said. “If it happens to come up wet, Ruler On Ice seems to like it on an off track.”

Trainer Bruce Brown hopes a successful pattern repeats in the Majestic Light with last year’s winner, Gourmet Dinner.

The calendar position is different. Last season, the race was part of the Haskell Day undercard in summer. Now it sits as an early season feature.

Regardless of the date, Brown is banking on the turf-to-dirt angle working once again.

Last year, Gourmet Dinner parlayed a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont into a narrow 7-1 upset in the Majestic Light.

This time, Gourmet Dinner is back on the main track after running last in the Grade 3 Miami Mile at Calder.

◗ Seats for Haskell Day, July 28, go on sale this weekend at the booth on the second floor of the grandstand, or online at monmouthpark.com/tickets. Reserved seats are $10 to $17, and do not include admission.