10/08/2003 11:00PM

Ruler's Court passes, too

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Ruler's Court, whose 14-length victory in Sunday's Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita would have made him one of the favorites for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 25, will pass the race, his connections announced on Thursday.

While Ruler's Court ran under Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley Stable colors this year, he will run under Maktoum's Godolphin Racing banner next year.

"Sheikh Mohammed has a well-documented desire to win the Kentucky Derby for Godolphin, therefore he has made the decision that it would be in the best interest of the colt to pass on the Juvenile,'' Jimmy Bell, spokesman for Darley Stable, said in a press release.

Ruler's Court became the latest graded stakes winner to declare from the Juvenile. Birdstone, who won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont on Saturday and Eurosilver, who won the Grade 2 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, also on Saturday, will pass the Juvenile. Silver Wagon, who won the Grade 1 Hopeful in August, is also not running.

After winning his maiden by two lengths at Hollywood Park in June, Ruler's Court lost in both the Hollywood Juvenile Championship and the Best Pal Stakes. After missing the Kentucky Cup Juvenile due to a bout with colic, Ruler's Court, with blinkers added, romped to a 14-length score in the Grade 2 Norfolk. His final time of 1:41.27 for 1 1/16 miles was a Norfolk Stakes record and was faster than any Breeders' Cup Juvenile run at the 1 1/16-mile distance.

According to trainer Eoin Harty, Ruler's Court is perfectly healthy and went back to the track on Thursday. He will remain in light training before entering quarantine at Pomona for the month of November and shipping to Dubai in December, Harty said.

"He'll be campaigned in Dubai over the winter and run in races like the UAE Guineas and the UAE Derby and hopefully the Kentucky Derby,'' Harty said. "Their objective to me was to find them horses for the Kentucky Derby and they felt that this one really fit the bill.''

The defection of Ruler's Court means that Cuvee will most likely be the favorite for the Juvenile. Cuvee has won four of five starts and was the dominant winner of both the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and Grade 1 Futurity at Belmont.

Others still under consideration for the Juvenile are the undefeated Cactus Ridge, Chapel Royal, Consecrate, Grand Reward, Minister Eric, Old Deuteronomy, Pomeroy, Race for Glory, and Siphonizer.