10/28/2017 5:20PM

Tom's Ready surges late to win Bold Ruler

Robert Mauhar
Tom's Ready returned $18 to win the Bold Ruler at Belmont on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler at Belmont Park on Saturday came down to a matter of timing. Stallwalkin' Dude may have moved too soon. Seymourdini didn't find his best stride until too late. And Tom's Ready benefited from a well-judged ride by Joel Rosario to win by three-quarters of a length.

The victory was the third of the day and the second in a stakes for Rosario, who two races earlier coaxed Off Limits to a neck score in the Grade 3 Athenia.

Tom's Ready lagged back in last position in the nine-horse field. He began to advance on the far turn of the seven-furlong race and was kept outside horses by Rosario. He rallied wide into the stretch and finished well to take the lead from Stallwalkin' Dude in the final sixteenth.

"I wanted to try and be in the clear because he doesn't like to have the dirt kicked in his face," Rosario said. "The pace in front of me was good and he gave me a nice run. We were a little wide but it all worked out."

Tom's Ready is now 5 for 20 and a three-time graded stakes winner. He won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont and the Grade 3 Ack Ack at Churchill as a 3-year-old last year.

His only prior win this season came in the Pennsylvania-bred Leematt Stakes at Presque Isle Downs, but that race was really just a prep to get him ready for more prestigious upcoming races.

Tom's Ready has been running hard all year and has finished third in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs in May, the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga in August, and the Grade 2 Kelsoat Belmont in September. The $120,000 he earned in the Bold Ruler pushed him over $1 million in earnings.

A son of More Then Ready, Tom's Ready is scheduled to stand stud next year at Spendthrift Farm. His owner GMB Racing and trainer Dallas Stewart would like nothing better than to get him a Grade 1 win before he is retired.

"He'll come back here to Kentucky and then we'll send him to Aqueduct for the Cigar Mile," Stewart said.

The Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile will be held Dec. 2.

Tom's Ready is now 4-2-0-1 at Belmont.

"He sure loves that track," Stewart said. "I felt mighty good when I saw that 22 go up on the board for the opening quarter."

Stewart's assistant, Bentley Combs, accompanied Tom's Ready on his trip from Kentucky.

"You love to see him win because he's been so honest," Combs said.

Green Gratto outsprinted Awesome Banner for the lead in the Bold Ruler and carved out fractions of 22.05 and 44.79 seconds. Stallwalkin' Dude launched a five-wide bid nearing the stretch and took the lead three-sixteenths of a mile from home. He could not contain the winner's late run and held second by a nose over longshot Beasley.

Seymourdini, who finished fourth, a length behind Beasley, ran an unusual race. He failed to hold his position on the far turn and dropped back to trail the field. In upper stretch, he looked outrun but found his best stride and finished with a late surge up the rail. He was beaten only 1 3/4 lengths.

Divining Rod, who finished fifth, didn't have the best of trips, either. He moved up between horses on the backstretch, and then lacked room behind horses on the stretch turn.

Tom's Ready paid $18 to win and was timed in 1:22.06. The one-turn mile of the Cigar suits him well.