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Monday, March 9, 2020 3:56 PM
  • Spiral Stakes


Florence, Ky., (March 9, 2020) – The field for the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park is coming together, with 10 to 12 horses expected to seek the race’s points toward the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). Entries for the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds will be drawn Wednesday, March 11. The Jeff Ruby Steaks is the highlight of Turfway’s most important day of racing, set this year for Saturday, March 14.

The winner of last year’s John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, Somelikeithotbrown, went on to win the Jeff Ruby, and Wesley Ward hopes to repeat that sequence with Invader. The War Front colt dominated the listed Battaglia Memorial, exploding from the three-eighths pole to win by 6 1/4 lengths. The Battaglia’s show horse, Toma Todo, is also expected for the Jeff Ruby. Trained by Mike Maker, Toma Todo broke his maiden on debut at Churchill Downs and was second in the Texas Turf Mile at Sam Houston Race Park two starts back.

Banged around out of the gate and racing wide, Finnick the Fierce rallied to be 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner of the Risen Star (G3) in his last outing while finishing seventh. Trained by Rey Hernandez, the gelded son of Dialed In first showed stakes promise in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill in November. He was second in that race over a sloppy sealed track, beaten less than a length by eventual Southwest Stakes (G3) winner Silver Prospector. ‘Finnick’ has since discovered an affinity for Turfway’s Polytrack; on February 27 he breezed four furlongs in a bullet :46.60.

“His last work, he went well,” said Hernandez. “The breeze may have been a little quicker than I like, but he came back fine. He seems to have taken to the Polytrack nicely. He's a really good horse to be around. I've always liked him from his early days of running. He has a lot of balance. I thought he ran well in New Orleans. He does his best running from off the pace.

“I'm stabled in Lexington and didn't want him running too far away, so we chose this race,” Hernandez continued. “We're taking things one race at a time with him, seeing how he comes back each time.”

Finnick the Fierce lost one eye to infection when he was young.

With two days left before entry, the field for the Jeff Ruby Steaks will continue to take shape. As of mid-afternoon Monday, the probable and possible starters are:





Field Pass

Michael Maker

Three Diamonds Farm

Finnick the Fierce

Rey Hernandez

Arnaldo Monge & Rey Hernandez

Halo Again

Steven Asmussen

Winchell Thoroughbreds & Willis Horton Racing


Wesley Ward

Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables & LNJ Foxwoods


Danny Gargan

Corms Racing Stable and R. A. Hill Stable

The Stiff

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy Racing Stable, Donna and Jim Daniell & Terrence McCarthy

Toma Todo

Steven Asmussen

Bloom Racing Stable


Dallas Stewart

Calumet Farm

Victory Boulevard

Michael Maker

Paradise Farms Corp.







Dack Janiels

Jack Sisterson

Calumet Farm

Fancy Liquor

Michael Maker

Skychai Racing & Sand Dollar Stable


Peter Miller

Rockingham Ranch


Michael Pino

Daniel M. Ryan

Horses nominated to the Jeff Ruby Steaks are also automatically nominated to the Rushaway Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds run the same day. Trainers on the fence about the Jeff Ruby often elect for that race instead.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks is supported by five undercard stakes: the Maxim Crane Works Bourbonette Oaks (listed), a points race for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1); the TwinSpires Kentucky Cup Classic for older horses, the Latonia Stakes for older fillies and mares, the Rushaway Stakes, and the Mayers Electric Company Animal Kingdom Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters. The first of 12 races on Saturday’s card runs at 1:10 p.m. The six stakes run consecutively, starting with the Animal Kingdom Stakes at 3:42 p.m. and ending with the Jeff Ruby Steaks at 6:42 p.m.


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