10/28/2010 2:24PM

Tahitian Warrior gets opportunity to prove he's a future Godolphin star

Barbara D. Livingston
Tahitian Warrior, winning an allowance at Saratoga in August, takes on older and more accomplished horses in Saturday's Bold Ruler Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Sheikh Mohammed’s current crop of top-caliber, one-turn horses will be headed to Churchill Downs for next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup. His Godolphin Stable’s potential future top rated, one-turn horse will be running Saturday at Belmont Park in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap.

The 3-year-old Tahitian Warrior will be taking on seven older and more accomplished male sprinters in the Bold Ruler, run at seven furlongs. That race would have been an ideal spot for any of Godolphin’s trio of Girolamo, Gayego, or Vineyard Haven, all of whom are running in one-turn Breeders’ Cup races on Nov. 6.

Tahitian Warrior, a gelded son of Maria’s Mon, looked sharp winning two allowance races going this distance in the summer. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in a third-level allowance going a mile here on Sept. 22, Tahitian Warrior took a one-length lead turning for home under Cornelio Velasquez only to be passed by Birdrun, who is a track-record holder going 1 1/16 over Belmont’s main track, in the stretch.

“Cornelio’s been telling us that seven is a really good distance for him to run and it could be that he just ran into a hot horse that’s probably better than him at a mile, especially over this track,” Godolphin assistant trainer Rick Mettee said. “If you were going to run against older sprinters this is the distance you’d want to do it at.”

Tahitian Warrior, who breaks from post 2, will likely get first run on the closing duo of Bribon and Wildcat Brief.

Bribon, who won the Grade 2 True North Handicap over this track in June, is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Forego. But he injured the bottom of his foot in the race and needed some time off. His connections opted not to supplement to Breeders’ Cup Sprint and instead shoot for this spot and the Cigar Mile. Bribon has the rail.

“We’re happy with the foot, I’m not happy with the post position,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Wildcat Brief comes off a fast-closing third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh after winning the Icecapade Stakes going six furlongs at Monmouth on Sept. 5.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez sends out the uncoupled entry of Temecula Creek, who has finished behind Wildcat Brief in his last two starts, and Half Metal jacket, who beat Birdrun in a third-level allowance race over this track on June 18,

Jack on the Rocks, Roaring Lion, and Jersey Town complete the field.