TURFWAY PARK’S JEFF RUBY STEAKS DRAWS 151 NOMINATIONS
Feb. 21, 2019 (FLORENCE, Ky.) – The 48th running of the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park has drawn 151 nominations, Turfway Park racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer announced Tuesday. The 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds is scheduled for Saturday, March 9, and offers 34 points toward the Kentucky Derby: 20 to the winner, eight to the runner-up, four for third place and two for fourth place.
“Scheduling the race a week or two earlier than in previous years gives horses in search of additional points time to continue the hunt on good rest after our race,” said Turfway Park general manager Daniel “Chip” Bach. “We look forward to offering bettors another full, competitive field of Derby hopefuls.”
Seven of the eight horses who contested Turfway’s local prep, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes (listed) Feb. 15, are nominated to the Jeff Ruby Steaks, topped by the impressive winner, Somelikeithotbrown. Trained by Mike Maker, Somelikeithotbrown won the Battaglia in his first start of the year after finishing third, beaten less than a length, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Among the five others Maker nominated, he also trains Dunph, who earned two points while third in the Springboard Mile (listed) in his juvenile season. Maker has won the Jeff Ruby Steaks, formerly the Spiral Stakes, four times: in 2006 with With a City, 2010 with Dean’s Kitten, 2016 with Oscar Nominated and 2017 with Fast and Accurate.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer nominated eight to the Jeff Ruby Steaks, among them Gunmetal Gray, who already counts 18 Derby points from winning the Sham Stakes (G3) and finishing second in both the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) and the American Pharoah (G1) Stakes. Hollendorfer also nominated Rowayton, third in the American Pharoah to earn two points behind buzz-generating Game Winner. Other Hollendorfer nominees include Galilean, with three standout wins in four starts, all in stakes, and Instagrand, decisively undefeated in two starts including the Best Pal Stakes (G2); both seek their first Derby points. Hollendorfer won Turfway’s Kentucky Derby prep race in 1998 with Event of the Year and 2000 with Globalize.
Another nominee with 18 points in the bank is Ben Colebook’s trainee Knicks Go, who won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
Trainer Danny Gargan claimed nominee Tax for Hugh Lynch out of an October race at Keeneland and promptly launched him on the Kentucky Derby trail. The gelding responded by earning 12 points while third in the Remsen Stakes (G2) and first in the Withers (G1). Robert Reid-trainee Maximus Mischief also has 12 points from winning the Remsen and finishing third in the Holy Bull (G2).
Trainer Kenny McPeek nominated three to the Jeff Ruby Steaks, including his Holy Bull upset winner Harvey Wallbanger, who earned 10 points for that effort. In five starts the colt has never been worse than second.
Jeff Ruby Steaks nominees with 10 points include Jerome Stakes (listed) winner Mind Control (trainer Gregory Sacco); Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) winner Well Defined (Kathleen O’Connell); Smarty Jones Stakes (listed) winner Gray Attempt (Jinks Fires); and Risen Star Stakes (G2) show horse Roiland (Tom Amoss).
Doug O’Neill trained last year’s winner, Blended Citizen, and this year has nominated three, including Magnificent McCool, who earned one point with a fourth-place finish in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.
The Jeff Ruby Steaks is the centerpiece of a 12-race card that includes five supporting stakes: the $100,000 Maxim Crane Works Bourbonette Oaks (listed), a Kentucky Oaks points race; the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (BT) for older horses; the $75,000 Latonia Stakes (BT) for older fillies and mares; the $75,000 Rushaway Stakes (BT) for 3-year-olds; and the $50,000 Mayers Electric Company Animal Kingdom Stakes (BT) for 3-year-old sprinters. First post March 9 is 1:10 p.m.