ELMONT, N.Y. -- Thus far, Plan B is working out nicely for Bribon.
After his connections decided against supplementing to next weekend's Breeders' Cup Sprint, the new plan for Bribon became a two-race series beginning with Saturday's Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park and next month's Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.
Saturday, Bribon passed the first step smoothly, taking the lead outside the sixteenth pole under John Velazquez and drawing off to a 1 3/4-length victory over Jersey Town in the $100,000 Bold Ruler. It was a neck back to Half Metal Jacket, who got third by a neck over favored Tahitian Warrior.
The win was the 11th from 36 starts for Bribon, and his fourth graded stakes victory - all four at Belmont Park.
Bribon usually is at his best when he has a fast pace in which to close. Such a pace did not exist on Saturday.
Bribon was only 3 1/2 lengths off the pace behind Jack On the Rocks, who ran a half-mile in 46.05 seconds while being chased by Temecula Creek.
Velazquez adeptly moved Bribon off the rail, from where he broke, and raced in the three-path down the backside. Velazquez moved Bribon four-wide around the far turn and five-wide at the eighth pole. Jersey Town and Tahitian Warrior had moved to the lead outside the eighth pole, but Bribon pounced on them and took command outside the sixteenth pole.
Bribon, owned by Derrick Smith and trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.36 and returned $6.90 as the second choice.
"For me to be this close and I'm not even asking him to be where he was, that was good because I don't have to ask him until the quarter pole," said Velazquez, who was riding Bribon for the first time. "Sure enough at the quarter pole, I got after him and he was right on it."
Bribon will now set his sights on the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 27.