12/06/2009 12:00AM

Rule to winter in Florida

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Rule picks up his third straight victory in a hard-fought Delta Jackpot.

VINTON, La. - Rule will be freshened in Florida following his gutsy win Friday night in the and is expected to return to action in either February or March, said his trainer, Todd Pletcher. For the victory, Rule picked up $450,000 in graded earnings, which all but ensures him a spot in the starting gate for next year's Kentucky Derby.

"It puts him in a great position where we can manage him any way that we like," said Pletcher, who trains Rule for WinStar Farm. "Should he be good enough to be in the Derby field, we have enough graded earnings to be there. It's a great position, and we're happy for it."

Rule has now won three straight races, beginning with a one-mile maiden special weight around one turn at Belmont Park Oct. 8 in his third start. He then shipped to Delta from Kentucky and won the $175,000 Jean Lafitte on Nov. 6, setting a track record for a mile and earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 97.

Rule earned a Beyer Figure of 95 on Friday, edging Uh Oh Bango by a neck after the two raced as a team for much of the 1 1/16-mile stakes. The race was run over a sloppy and laboring track that had taken some snowfall earlier in the card. Pletcher said jockey John Velazquez felt Rule did not relish the track conditions Friday.

"He showed his class to overcome that and still give us a big performance," said Pletcher.

Pletcher said Rule was to be shipped to the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida. He said the next race for the horse will be determined after he talks with the team at WinStar: owners Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt and racing manager Elliott Walden.

Rule's win in the Jackpot gave WinStar its third graded 2-year-old win in three weeks following scores by Super Saver in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and American Lion in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue.

The Jackpot was one of six stakes worth a cumulative $1.6 million at Delta on Friday.

Quiet Temper bound for Fair Grounds

Quiet Temper became the third graded winner to emerge from a one-mile maiden special weight at Belmont Park on Oct. 4, storming home by more than seven lengths in Friday night's at Delta.

She won her maiden in the race, one start after finishing four lengths back in second in the Oct. 4 maiden race at Belmont won by Ailalea. Following that race, Ailalea won the Grade 3 Tempted at Aqueduct, while The Mailet, who was eighth in that maiden race, came back to win a maiden special weight and the Grade 3 Miesque at Hollywood Park.

The glowing company line was one of the reasons Quiet Temper was shipped from Kentucky to run in the Princess, said Dale Romans, who trains the filly for Mark Stanley.

"She's always trained like she had a lot of talent, and the horses she's been running against - if any those of horses were here they'd be 2-5," Romans said. "So, we thought we can't let these big-purse 2-year-old races get by just because we hadn't won yet. And I felt like we had as good a horse as anybody in the race."

Quiet Temper gave Romans his fourth graded win with a 2-year-old filly in the last month, with his streak starting with Tapitsfly's victory in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 6. He then swept the fall series for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs with Sassy Image, who won both the Grade 2 Golden Rod and the Grade 3 Pocahontas. Now, he has another strong 2-year-old filly in Quiet Temper.

"We're going to try to keep them separate," Romans said. "Quiet Temper is going to go to Fair Grounds and then we'll decide were she needs to run next."

He said she could develop into a candidate for that track's 3-year-old filly series for 2010. In addition to Fair Grounds, Romans has divisions of his stable at Gulfstream Park and a training center in Kentucky.

As for Ailalea, the key maiden-race winner at Belmont, she is trained by Pletcher, who said she could run next in either the Forward Gal or Davona Dale at Gulfstream.

"We think she's an Oaks-quality filly," he said.

A daughter of Quiet American, Quiet Temper earned a Beyer of 85 in the Princess.

* Delta handled more than $2.1 million on its 11-race card from all sources Friday.