08/07/2005 11:00PM

Roman Ruler stud deal set

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Breeding rights to Roman Ruler, winner of Sunday's Haskell at Monmouth, have been secured by John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farm, which will stand the Fusaichi Pegasus colt when his racing days are over.

Roman Ruler's retirement does not appear imminent. In announcing the stud deal, Hill 'n' Dale said that he might retire this year or next, a decision that will be made by owners David Shimmon and Bill Bianco, who campaign the 3-year-old colt under the nom de course of Fog City Stable. Bob Baffert trains him.

Roman Ruler was bred by the partnership of Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds, Liberation Farm, and Ashford Stud. A $500,000 yearling at the 2003 Keeneland September sale, Roman Ruler immediately gained a big reputation by winning his first two starts, a maiden special weight at Hollywood followed by the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, by a combined 11 lengths. He then ran second, beaten a neck, by Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity before bouncing back with a 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Norfolk.

After a fifth-place finish behind the winning Wilko as the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October, Roman Ruler returned in 2005 for an anticipated run at the Triple Crown. But his bid ended in March after he finished eighth in the Grade 2 San Felipe and came out of the race with an aggravated quarter crack. Before defeating Sun King to win the Haskell, Roman Ruler beat Flower Alley in the Grade 2 Dwyer.

"Roman Ruler is a special horse," Shimmon said. "He has been from day one. We feel his potential at stud is limitless, and we have full confidence that Hill 'n' Dale will develop him to the ultimate capability as a sire."

Roman Ruler is by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner and hot young sire Fusaichi Pegasus and out of the unraced Silver Deputy mare Silvery Swan. He is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner El Corredor, who also stands at Hill 'n' Dale and is North America's third-leading first-crop sire.

Roman Ruler has won 5 of 8 starts, with earnings of $1,020,800.