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Ruler On Ice, Pants On Fire Get Final Haskell Drill Sunday

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Ruler On Ice and Pants On Fire, the two 3-year-old stars of George and Lori Hall’s stable, might breeze in company on Sunday as their final serious work for the $1 million Resorts Haskell Invitational (G1) on July 31.

            “I’m thinking about breezing them together,” trainer Kelly Breen said Thursday, “but I haven’t decided yet. I want to work them on Sunday, but we’ll see how the weather is. Maybe it will be Monday. I want to get the work in within a week of the race,” Breen said.

            “I kept them separate last week when they breezed because I didn’t want them to go too fast,” the trainer said. “It worked out well because it put them on their toes without getting them too tired.”

            Both horses drilled at Monmouth last Sunday, with Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice breezing five furlongs in 1:02.3 and Louisiana Derby winner Pants on Fire getting a half-mile in :49.4.

            “The last time I worked them together was in March,” Breen said, “and Pants On Fire came out of that to win the Louisiana Derby.”

            The mile and an eighth Haskell is the centerpiece of Monmouth Park’s summer meeting. It is expected to draw a field of eight, and features a showdown between two classic winners as Belmont Stakes champ Ruler On Ice meets Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford.

            Ruler On Ice has not raced since winning the mile and a half Belmont on June 11, while Pants On Fire, who bled and finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby, came back from that to win the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes here on June 18.

            “They’re both doing fantastic,” Breen said. “We’re sitting right where we want to be coming into the Haskell.”

            In addition to Ruler On Ice, Pants On Fire and Shackleford, this 44th running of the Resorts Haskell Invitational is expected to draw Coil from Bob Baffert (who will be after his fifth Haskell win) and a possible second Baffert entrant in Prayer for Relief; the Steve Asmussen-trained Astrology; Pegasus Stakes second Concealed Identity; and J J’s Lucky Train from Bill Anderson’s barn.