ELMONT, N.Y. – No Dozing, True Timber, and Petrov are a combined 0 for 24 in graded stakes. Coal Front, a multiple graded winner, has not raced in 13 months. Delta Prince, a graded winner on turf, is trying dirt for the first time in two years. Bon Raison is seeking his fourth straight win, a streak that began in a $16,000 claiming race two months ago.
That’s the sextet assembled for Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap, a seven-furlong race at Belmont Park that could be used as a stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Dec. 1.
True Timber, a 4-year-old son of Mineshaft, chased the Triple Crown trail most of last year, running in two-turn races that simply were too far for him. This year, he’s run in all sprints, winning three allowance races from five starts. He missed most of the summer when a fire extinguisher fell on him, cutting his leg.
He returned with a neck victory in a third-level allowance here on Sept. 16, running six furlongs in 1:08.65.
“Now it’s time to step up,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “I always thought seven-eighths might have been better than six.”
There is rain in the forecast for Saturday, and True Timber won an allowance at Aqueduct in the slop in February.
No Dozing also chased the Triple Crown trail in 2017, but wound up performing better in one-turn races. He finished second to Wild Shot in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile in the slop at Churchill and won the Concern Stakes in the mud at Laurel that summer. He began this year with a sharp allowance win going seven furlongs at Saratoga before running fifth in the Grade 1 Forego and fourth in the Grade 2 Kelso.
“Last time he broke a touch slow and we had to use him,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said. “Maybe the pace scenario going seven-eighths is a little better for him.”
Petrov is 0 for 13 in stakes and 0 for 9 in graded events. He did win an allowance going seven furlongs at Saratoga in August, earning a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.
Coal Front has not run since winning the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx 13 months ago. He suffered a condylar fracture to his right foreleg in that race. He has a steady work tab leading to his return.
Delta Prince, beaten a neck in the Grade 1 Fourstardave on turf in August, is now returning to dirt for the first time since a runner-up finish in a one-mile maiden race at Aqueduct on Nov. 12, 2016. He was third on dirt in his debut at Belmont on Oct. 2 of that year. He is a half-brother to champion Royal Delta, a six-time Grade 1 winner on dirt and an earner of $4.8 million.
“Once he got some more experience, we always wanted to try [dirt] again,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “He breezes so well on it, and his half-sister was a champion on it.”
Jerkens is adding blinkers to Delta Prince’s equipment.
“He runs kind of spotty,” Jerkens said. “Cutting back to seven, he might need to be on the bridle all the way.”
Bon Raison was claimed for $16,000 by Gary Contessa. The 3-year-old has won a $35,000 claimer and a starter allowance since. He is 2 for 3 on an off track.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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