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Somelikeithotbrown takes Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway; Naughty Joker captures Bourbonette

NKyTribune staff and Turfway Park

Somelikeithotbrown set a brisk pace and then turned the corner into a 20 mph headwind but had plenty left to win the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park Saturday, pocketing 20 points toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate in the process. Final time for the 1 1/8-mile race was 1:52.05.

Somelikeithotbrown is well ahead of the field nearing the wire in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park Saturday. The win gave the colt 20 Kentucky Derby points (photo by Mark Hansel).

As in the Battaglia Memorial, Dynamic Racer was second to Somelikeithotbrown, 3 ¼ lengths behind, earning eight points. Moonster, was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third to earn four points. Five General collected two points for his fourth-place finish.

“The pace was honest but it looked like he was doing it pretty handily,” said winning trainer Mike Maker, “and he put the horse away that was contesting the lead with him down the lane [Dynamic Racer]. Tyler said he was ducking from the whip a little bit but he had a lot of horse left. With these two races [wins in the Battaglia Memorial and today], we’ll look at the Blue Grass [at Keeneland].”

Five Star General set the first quarter in :23.61 but after that the pace was all Somelikeithotbrown, who clocked the half in :47.03 and three-quarters in 1:10.78 with Five Star General giving chase. The winner hit the mile in 1:37.84 before turning into the stiff headwind.

“The plan really wasn’t to go to the lead today,” said winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione. “He broke so sharp, into the first turn I didn’t want to get in a fighting match with him, so I put my hands down and tried to get him to relax. Down the lane, he was kind of waiting on horses, kind of looking around, but he did everything easy. He’s a very nice horse, very talented. Mike [Maker] and his team did a great job with him. He was all by himself and every time I showed him the whip, he’d go one way. He was just acting bored.”

Somelikeithotbrown was the 3-5 favorite and returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.60.

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Behind Five Star General came Dabo, Speed App, Counter Offer, Skywire, Curlin Grey, Twelfthofneverland and Baytown Jimbo.

Somelikeithotbrown is owned by Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable and was bred in Kentucky by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables. By Big Brown out of Marilyn Monroan, by Tapit, Somelikeithotbrown now has three wins, two seconds and a third in seven starts and is undefeated in his two sophomore starts. His earnings stand at $363,478.

The win was the fifth for Maker in Turfway Park’s Kentucky Derby prep race, following wins in 2006, 2010, 2016 and 2017.

Bourbonette Oaks Winner Naughty Joker Gives Ward, Bejarano Third Stakes Win on the Day

Naughty Joker gave jockey Rafael Bejarano and trainer Wesley Ward their third stakes win on the Jeff Ruby Steaks undercard when she got the best of stubborn Fun Finder late in the stretch to take the $100,000 Maxim Crane Works Bourbonette Oaks (listed) by 1 ¾ lengths. New Roo was a further half-length back in third.

Naughty Joker captures the Turfway Park Bourbonette Oaks and earns 20 Kentucky Oaks points (photo courtesy of Coady Photography).

The win gives Naughty Joker 20 points toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks gate. Fun Finder earned eight points, with New Roo collecting four and fourth-place Diva Day earning two.

Naughty Joker raced two or three lengths behind the front-running Fun Finder to the top of the turn, when Bejarano tipped her out and turned her loose. Final time for the one-mile Bourbonette Oaks was 1:40.08.

“My horse came away really beautifully from the gate,” said Bejarano. “I saw a couple of horses with speed, so I put her right behind them and got her comfortable. It is so easy to ride for these connections [owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and Maker]. The horses I ride for them have so much class.”

Naughty Joker was sent off the 2-1 favorite and paid $6, $4 and $4.

Naughty Joker is by Into Mischief out of the Distorted Humor mare Fleeting Humor and was bred in Kentucky by the Ramseys. Her record stands at two wins and two seconds in four starts with earnings of $158,680.

Bejarano’s career took off in 2003 and 2004 when he was Turfway’s record-setting leading rider. “I feel at home here in Kentucky and I’m reminded of what it used to be like on top of the world here in Kentucky,” he said.

Onthewaytoneverland dominates DRF Bets Rushaway Stakes

Onthewaytonevrland proved himself a worthy even-money favorite in the $75,000 DRF Bets Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, battling into the turn before drawing off to win by 3 ½ lengths over Bundibunan. Faraway Kitten was third, another 2 ¾ lengths back. Final time for the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds was 1:45.59.

Onthewaytoneverland dominates the Rushaway Stakes in a thriller on Jeff Ruby Steaks Day at Turfway Park (photo courtesy of Coady Photography).

The win was the second of three stakes victories of the day for trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Rafael Bejarano. The pair also won the Mayers Electric Company Animal Kingdom Stakes and the Maxim Crane Works Bourbonette Oaks.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Ward by phone from Miami. “He seems to be a really nice one. The mile-and-a-sixteenth proves that his sire, No Nay Never, can get them to go around two turns.”

With some bumping going on ahead of him into the first turn, Bejarano elected to sit back with Onthewaytonevrland.

“He showed me speed in the beginning but I didn’t want to rush him,” said Bejarano. “If someone’s going to get crazy, I’ll settle and play it by ear and save a little for the end. He fought that other horse [long shot Kitchi] but I had something left down the lane.”

With Onthewaytonevrland right off his flank, Kitchi set a textbook pace, clocking the quarters in :24.58, :48.45 and 1:12.75 before ceding the lead to the winner coming into the stretch.

Onthewaytoneverland returned $4, $2.60 and $2.40 for the dominant win.

Bred in Ireland by his owner, Ice Wine Stable, Onthewaytonevrland is out of the Oasis Dream (GB) mare L’Ensorceleuse (IRE). The gelding has two wins and two seconds in four starts and earnings of $88,980. The Rushaway Stakes is his first black type win.

Nun the Less scores in Kubota Kentucky Cup Classic

Nun the Less ran down Lanier in the 1 1/8-Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park in December to win by a length. It was deja vu all over again Saturday as Nun the Less caught Lanier just inside the eighth pole to win the $100,000 Kubota Kentucky Cup Classic at the same track at the same distance by the same margin. Midnight Pleasure was a distant eight lengths back in third.

Nun the Less leaves the field in his wake in the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park on Jeff Ruby Steaks Day Saturday (photo courtesy of Coady Photography).

Nun the Less sat comfortably three or so lengths behind as Lanier battled early with Royal Son. Lanier took over to set the half mile in :48.46 and the mile in 1:37.51, but once Nun the Less collared him with less than a furlong to run, the outcome was no longer in doubt. Final time for the nine-furlong test was 1:50.79.

 “It’s a mile and an eighth, so it’s good to sit back, especially when they’re up close together [in the front],” said winning trainer Cipriano Contreras. “He got a good trip today. He’s a nice older horse. He looked like he was on a mission when he got [to the leader].”

“My trip worked out good, thanks to God,” said winning jockey Walter De La Cruz. “Thanks to the trainer, I’ve seen a lot of improvement. I was little concerned about the horse in front of me [Lanier] at the three-eighths, but room opened up and my horse ran him down.”

Nun the Less was the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight older horses and paid $6.60, $3.60 and $3.

Bred by Claiborne Farm, the 7-year-old Candy Ride (ARG) gelding is out of the Forest Wildcat mare Nunnery.

His record improved to eight wins, four seconds and eight thirds from 30 starts and earnings of $451,603. He is owned by Crystal Racing Enterprises and Contreras Stable Inc.

Note: Feature photo courtesy of Coady Photography

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