08/07/2008 11:00PM

Two good ones in Strong Ruler


AUBURN, Wash. – Burgundy Road and Enumerator head a field of five 2-year-olds in Sunday’s $50,000 Strong Ruler Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Burgundy Road is the only maiden special weight winner in the field and may be a slight choice in the wagering, especially because he was more fortunate at the draw for posts. Burgundy Road will start from post 3 and Enumerator will break from the inside, a post that contributed to a rough trip for him in the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda on July 19.

Enumerator, a son of He’s Tops from the barn of trainer Doris Harwood, was bet down to 2-1 for the Premio Esmeralda on the strength of his authoritative score over $40,000 maidens on May 26, when he drew off to score by more than four lengths after 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.40. He broke a step slowly from the rail post in the stakes, however, and never seemed comfortable when racing in traffic en route to a sixth-place finish in a field of seven. Consequently, Harwood wasn’t pleased to see Enumerator again draw the inside post for Sunday’s race.

“I felt kinda sick when I heard the draw,” she said. “I’m getting rid of his blinkers for this race, though, and I think that will help. I think he’ll be more comfortable if he can see more.”

Burgundy Road, a Cahill Road gelding trained by Ben Root, has raced only once. He made a very positive impression in that 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race on July 13, moving from fourth to first with a quick burst of speed at the top of the stretch before drawing off to score by 2 1/2 lengths over Dress Code in 1:04. Dress Code flattered that performance by coming back just four days later to run a good fourth in the Premio Esmeralda.

It may be worth noting that Juan Gutierrez, who rode Enumerator in both of his starts and Burgundy Road in his lone outing, has opted to ride Enumerator on Sunday. Ricky Frazier will take over the mount aboard Burgundy Road.

lso dangerous is Fast Tactics, who ran second in both career starts. Fast Tactics, a son of Delineator, got second after breaking slowly in his June 12 debut against $20,000 maidens, then came back to get second on the $40,000 level on July 10. He was claimed out of that race by trainer Howard Belvoir for himself and Tice Ranch.