10/25/2014 2:08PM

Salutos Amigos wins Bold Ruler, targets BC Sprint

NYRA photo
Salutos Amigos, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, wins the Bold Ruler Handicap by 3 1/4 lengths Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Maybe it wasn’t an either/or situation after all for Salutos Amigos.

After dominating Saturday’s Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap by 3 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park, David Jacobson, part-owner and trainer of Salutos Amigos, said he wants to wheel the horse back in next Saturday’s $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Salutos Amigos was pre-entered for the Sprint and did make it into the body of the race.

"My plan is to run,” Jacobson said. “If I feel he's not 110 percent to run against the best sprinters in the country, I can decide not to run and come home."

Jacobson plans to ship him out to Southern California on Sunday. He will need a new rider since Cornelio Velasquez is committed to ride Palace in the Sprint.

Jacobson said it was in the back of his mind to run in both races, but he said Friday he was choosing the Bold Ruler over the BC Sprint because it was a much easier spot.

“I just didn’t expect such a big performance today. You always hope for it,” Jacobson said. “Right now, with this kind of performance, knowing the way I trained him coming up to this race, he’s going to be ready to run next Saturday.”

It was only the fifth win from 22 starts for Salutos Amigos, a 4-year-old gelding by Salute the Sarge. He won a starter allowance April 4 and came back eight days later to win a first-level allowance race.

In stakes company, Salutos Amigos had finished third in the Grade 2 True North and Grade 3 Belmont Sprint and fourth in the Grade 1 Vosburgh before winning the Bold Ruler.

In the Bold Ruler, Salutos Amigos was sitting behind the pace established by River Rocks, who ran a quarter in 22.94 seconds and a half-mile in 45.99.

At the five-sixteenths pole, Velasquez was going to try to swing outside but was beaten to the punch by Romansh and Confrontation, who both passed him.

After allowing them to pass, Velasquez sent Salutos Amigos on the chase and swung him six wide in the stretch, and he outfinished both Confrontation and Romansh to get the win.

Salutos Amigos covered the seven furlongs over a good Belmont main track in 1:21.87 and returned $9.10 as the second choice. Confrontation outfinished Romansh by a neck for second.

“He was in a lot of trouble,” Jacobson said. “He was blocked in behind horses. There were some real nice horses in here – River Rocks, Sage Valley – they all had him blocked in there, and Cornelio had to swing him to the outside. It was a legitimate time.”

Meanwhile, River Rocks was a big disappointment in the Bold Ruler, fading to fourth as the even-money favorite after setting a modest early pace.

“I was cruising, and turning for home, I thought he was going to find another gear and keep on going, and he just stayed the same pace,” said jockey Joel Rosario.