Jeff Ruby Steaks 2022 Entries: Large field with options on April 2

The Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks goes off late Saturday afternoon ... yet another stop on the 'Road to the Kentucky Derby.' With major 'Points' at 'steak,' this might be one of the best betting races of the day. Check out this Preview ...
The Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks goes off late Saturday afternoon ... yet another stop on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby." With major "Points" at "steak," this might be one of the best betting races of the day. Check out this Preview ...
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Race 12: 1 1/8th (Dirt), Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), Purse $600k, 3 (Saturday)

This race seems to always produce a nice set of turf routers that emerge later in the season (i.e. Field Pass/Somelikeitbrown). Certainly, Hard Spun and Animal Kingdom standout as those that were able to transition from the AW surface to the dirt, but their numbers are few and far between. Having made these rather disparaging remarks, they do not mean that the ’22 Edition will be lackluster or unproductive. Turfway is a unique track that sets up differently from any dirt cousin. Therefore, runners that like to come from off-the-pace have an advantage, unless you catch the proverbial “flyer.” Whatever the case, Kentucky Derby Points are on the line to the tune of 100-40-20-10, for the win and each subsequent placing. Not bad for Grade III contest that is late in the game, and look at the purse … it went from $250k to $600k … Churchill Downs Inc. wired the money.

Now, let’s find out about this field…


#1 Royal Spirit (Jky: C. Landeros/Trn: T. Pletcher):

Turf horse with 5 starts (1 win, MSW60k@GP); HOF trainer Pletcher is going to roll the dice and see if this high-priced colt ($450k) can net a big prize like the Ruby Stakes … at 10/1 on the M/L, and an inside post, if he breaks well enough, rating nicely, then he could be a player late w/Landeros aboard … chance …

Grade: B-


#2 Stolen Base (Jky: G. Corrales/Trn: M. Maker):

Three Diamonds-owned turfer that was pretty game last out in the Battaglia $125k prep; Maker has built some quality experiences into this Bodemeister colt; w/Blinkers on, the connections are looking for some focus; the best TP rider, Gerardo Corrales has the mount once again; would not be at all surprised if he won …

Grade: A-


#3 Cabo Spirit (Jky: J. Bravo/Trn: G. Papaprodromou):

“Papa G” comes to town with this classy player, and at the ’21 OBS Sale, Kretz Racing dropped $575k on this son of Pioneerof the Nile; the colt was far back in both the Bob Lewis (G3) and the San Felipe (G2) … maybe some relief here? Not sure that is the case with a field like this one … Jersey Joe gets the call, the Woolf winner … took to the turf last fall at SA/DMR is a plus …

Grade: B


#4 Rich Strike (Jky: S. Leon/Trn: E. Reed):

Local man, Eric Reed is hoping to get his son of Keen Ice over the hump, after a pair of TP starts this year; he outran his odds in the Battaglia $125k … the seasoned Sonny Leon serves as pilot for the 4th time in-a-row; a long shot is an understatement, but maybe one to consider in the exotics game …

Grade: C+


#5 Tawny Port (Jky: M. Franco/Trn: B. Cox):

Not a Derby prep w/o trainer Brad Cox in the mix; this alum from the FG Risen Star (G2) was up against it, taking on Epicenter, Smile Happy, and Zandon … a drop-in-class/competition here could spell victory, as Manny Franco makes the trip over from AQU; another Pioneerof the Nile, and Cox has proved his ability at TP … I would expect this one to be there at the wire …

Grade: B+


#6 Great Escape (Jky: A. Beschizza/Trn: R. Brisset):

Suddenly, Rudy Brisset is the new Bob Baffert, having taken on some of the beleaguered trainer’s charges; this one was always a member of his outfit, and WinStar Farms is hoping he can build on that last out OC80kn1x that he ended up 2nd in; how the son of Midnight Storm takes to the Tapeta, is a question …

Grade: B


#7 Tiz the Bomb (Jky: B. Hernandez/Trn: K. McPeek):

The McPeek ace from BC Juv. Turf (G1) fame just got up in time to win the Battaglia $125k; a true test has arrived, and I still think that this one is more of a turf horse by Hit It a Bomb; McPeek’s Magdalena does a brisk business and they certainly paid for this colt … $330k; Brian Hernandez comes to town after another solid FG Meet; will probably be the race time favorite … underlay, in my opinion …

Grade: B+


#8 Red Run (Jky: J. Talamo/Trn: S. Asmussen):

One of the best performances on the undercard at the Houston Racing Festival; HOF Asmussen sent this son of Gun Runner into the Bork Texas Mile $200k, and he did not disappoint with a nice late run at odds of 5/1; too bad Joel Rosario isn’t aboard; Joe T. is not the same kind of rider at all, and that could be this one’s weakness … very talented Winchell “runner” though …

Grade: B-


#9 Dowagiac Chief (Jky: J. Graham/Trn: T. Amoss):

How good a FG Meet did jockey James Graham just have? He won the riding title, which is saying something … Trainer Tom Amoss doesn’t make it to TP all that often, and shipping this turfer in should not be an issue … With 8 starts at 6 different tracks, the son of Cairo Prince is used to the miles; his score in the “Non-G” Black Gold S. $75k @FG was impressive, but will that early style of his translate to the rubberized AW? We shall see …

Grade: B-


#10 Optigogo (Jky: R. Bejarano/Trn: E. Harty):

The Harty Barn ran this turf horse by Optimizer in the Pasadena $100k back in February, and he spent all his time looking at everyone else … A win at Tampa in an OC75kn1x remains his only highlight so far … Maybe the services of Rafael Bejarano will assist, but I doubt it … Boxcar will be leaving the station for Calumet Farm …

Grade: C


#11 Constiutionlawyer (Jky: J. Samuel/Trn: R. Handal):

With several lines of data … Ray Handal, a hot young New York-based trainer … Jalon Samuel, a budding riding talent … and a son of Constitution that exits a key race (Withers S.) he finished far back in … there are some angles here that look pretty inviting. I hope this one is 50/1 come Saturday afternoon … Handal does things properly, and this one’s form is strong, with a work tab that connotes a strong fitness … Top pick for me …

Grade: A-


#12 Blackadder (Jky: E. Maldonado/Trn: R. Brisset): (SCRATCHED)

A former Bob Baffert-trainee, Rudy Brisset made the move on Thursday to scratch, and wait for the Blue Grass S. (G2) at Keeneland in a few weeks …

Grade: N/A


#13 Swing Shift (Jky: G. Corrales/Trn: T. Pletcher):

The “other” Pletcher runner is going to have a chance to run, after an early scratch … This colt by Midnight Storm was high-priced at $550k, and there are some powerful backers involved in his development, including HOF Pletcher … WinStar and Woodford T-breds expect “great things,” and this one is going to be an “X-Factor” that should not be written off, even though his 2 Gulfstream efforts were standard dirt results for one so well-bred … How will he ship and take to the Tapeta? We will know, when we know …

Grade: B-


Join us Saturday for all of our Turfway Park selections! Should be a great set of races on Jeff Ruby Stakes Night! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

Kentucky Derby 2022
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