03/02/2017 1:10PM

Owner Mick Ruis goes after trainer's license

Benoit & Associates
Owner Mick Ruis and jockey Martin Garcia talk after winning the Del Mar Debutante with Union Strike.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Owner Mick Ruis hopes to become a licensed trainer this week, after which his 25-horse string – including Grade 1 winner Union Strike – will be transferred to his name, ending a four-month period during which he employed three trainers, including his daughter Shelbe.

Union Strike won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante last summer before Mick and Shelbe Ruis ended their business relationship. Craig Dollase became the trainer for the Ruis stable until late February, when the horses were transferred to Mark Rheinford.

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Later this week, pending results of a trainer examination on Thursday, the 25 runners will be transferred to Mick Ruis; Rheinford will stay on as assistant trainer.

“All the horses will go in my name,” Ruis said Thursday morning while watching workouts and studying for the exam.

Ruis is a San Diego-based entrepreneur with an expanding presence in California racing. In addition to Union Strike and the Grade 1-placed 3-year-old colt Midnight Pleasure, who is nearing a comeback, Ruis has high hopes for Saburo. A 3-year-old colt by Medaglia d’Oro, Saburo is expected to debut this month.

On Saturday at Santa Anita, Ruis-owned, Rheinford-trained runners are top contenders in races 8 and 9. Two Hail Marys will be among the favorites in a California-bred maiden sprint, and Rockport Babe makes her first start in nine months in a first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares.