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Multiple graded stakes winner Major Dude leads talented field for Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks

Spendthrift Farm’s multiple graded stakes winning three-year-old Major Dude headlines a talented field of 12 colts and geldings that were entered in Saturday’s 52nd running of the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Grade III) at Turfway Park Racing & Gaming.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks, a Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series qualifier, will go as Race 12 of 13 with a post time of 6:25 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post for the stellar program will be 12:45 p.m. Along with the Jeff Ruby Steaks, stakes-laden card will also feature the 41st running of the $300,000 Bourbonette Oaks; the 23rd running of the $300,000 TwinSpires Kentucky Cup Classic (Listed); the 37th running of the $250,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes; the 41st running of the $250,000 Latonia Stakes; and the 36th running of the $250,000 Rushaway.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks will offer the top 5 finishers points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale towards a spot in the starting gate for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI).

Major Dude during a gallop at Keeneland in October (Photo from Turfway Park)

Two-time graded stakes winner Major Dude will invade Turfway Park from his South Florida base for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Bolt d’Oro tabbed his first stakes victory on Oct. 2 in the $200,000 Pilgrim (GII) at the Belmont at Aqueduct meet. Following a disappointing ninth-place effort in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI), Major Dude made his 3-year-old debut in the $100,000 Dania Beach at Gulfstream Park where he rallied for second and even-money. In his last start, Major Dude contested the $175,000 Kitten’s Joy (GIII) and defeated seven rivals by 1 ½ lengths under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Ortiz will once again have the mount on Major Dude in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. Ortiz last rode at Turfway in 2020 when he won the Jeff Ruby Steaks aboard Field Pass. Ortiz and Major Dude will break from the rail as the morning line favorite at odds of 2-1.

Another talented 3-year-old that entered the Jeff Ruby Steaks is Patricia’s Hope and Phillip Sagan’s two-time stakes winner Two Phil’s. Trained by Larry Rivelli, Two Phil’s seven-race campaign has solely been over dirt and the Jeff Ruby will be his first test on Tapeta. The chestnut son of Hard Spun began his march to the Kentucky Derby after his dominant 5 ¼-length victory in the $200,000 Street Sense (GIII) at Churchill Downs. Following that effort, Two Phil’s was the runner-up to Instant Coffee in the $200,000 Lecomte (GIII) and third-place finisher to Angel of Empire and Sun Thunder in the $400,000 Risen Star (GII). Four weeks ago, Rivelli opted to ship to the colt back from Fair Grounds to his base at Hawthorne to begin his preparation for the Jeff Ruby Steaks. Two Phil’s arrived at Turfway March 13 and has been training daily over the Florence oval.

Jockey Jareth Loveberry, who’s ridden Two Phil’s in his last six starts, will have the call in the Jeff Ruby Steaks from post 10 as the 7-2 second choice on Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds.

Among the other top competitors in the Jeff Ruby is Tami Bobo and Lugamo Racing Stable’s $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial winner Congruent. Ridden by Kentucky Derby 148-winning jockey Sonny Leon, Congruent invaded Turfway from Gulfstream Park and scored an impressive 3 ½-length victory in the John Battaglia Memorial. The gray son of Tapit will attempt to duplicate that same effort from three weeks ago from post 8 and Leon in the irons. Congruent was tabbed at odds of 5-1 on the morning line.

One of the top local contenders entered in the Jeff Ruby Steaks is Three Chimneys Farm’s Funtastic Again. Trained by 2021 Jeff Ruby Steaks winning conditioner Wesley Ward, Funtastic Again has not returned to the races since his stout 3 ¾-length win in the $125,000 Leonatus Stakes on Jan. 21 at Turfway. Prior to the Leonatus Stakes, Funtastic Again dazzled in a first-level allowance contest by 5 ½ lengths at Turfway.

Jockey Gerardo Corrales will ride the son of Funtastic from post 4 at odds of 6-1.

The complete field for the Jeff Ruby Steaks in order of post position (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds):

1. Major Dude (Ortiz, Pletcher, 2-1)
2. Scoobie Quando (Luan Machado, Ben Colebrook, 15-1)
3. Event Detail (Walter Rodriguez, Paulo Lobo, 20-1)
4. Funtastic Again (Corrales, Ward, 6-1)
5. Maker’s Candy (Umberto Rispoli, Mike Maker, 12-1)
6. Baby Billy (Joe Talamo, Jack Sisterson, 30-1)
7. Bluebirds Over (Edgard Zayas, Saffie Joseph Jr., 12-1)
8. Congruent (Leon, Sano, 5-1)
9. Escapologist (Alex Achard, Kenny McPeek, 30-1)
10. Two Phil’s (Loveberry, Rivelli, 7-2)
11. Wadsworth (Chris Landeros, Brad Cox, 8-1)
12. Point Proven (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher, 15-1)

Starting at 6 p.m., fans can watch the Jeff Ruby Steaks on a special Road to the Kentucky Derby broadcast on CNBC.

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Cincinnati Trophy Stakes winner Botanical returns for Bourbonette Oaks

Botanical crosses the wire during the March 4 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes at Turfway (Photo from Turfway Park)

LNJ Foxwoods and Clearsky Farms’ Botanical, the dazzling 6 ½-length winner of the $150,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes three weeks ago, headlines a field of 11 three-year-old fillies that entered the $300,000 Bourbonette Oaks.

The 1 1/16-mile Bourbonette Oaks will go as the 11th race on the stakes-laden 13-race program. First post is 12:45 p.m. and the Bourbonette Oaks has a scheduled post time of 5:43 p.m.

The complete field for the Bourbonette Oaks from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):

1. Renegade Rebel (Hernandez, Casse)
2. Bolivie (IRE) (Irad Ortiz Jr., Brendan Walsh)
3. Olympic Prank (Edgard Zayas, Saffie Joseph Jr.)
4. Thirty Thou Kelvin (Kazushi Kimura, John Terranova)
5. Botanical (Landeros, Cox)
6. Always At Ease (Kent Desormeaux, Keith Desormeaux)
7. Miss New York (Jose Morelos, Jorge Delgado)
8. Flashy Gem (John Velazquez, Brad Cox)
9. Shewillghostu (Sonny Leon, Eric Reed)
10. Medaglia Forever (Fernando De La Cruz, Rusty Arnold)
11. Ag Bullet (Rispoli, Papaprodromou)

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Muliple grade I winner Santin headlines Twinspires Kentucky Cup Classic

Multiple Grade I winner Santin tops a full field of 12 older horses and two also-eligibles that entered Saturday’s $300,000 TwinSpires Kentucky Cup Classic.

The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Cup Classic will go as Race 10 of 13 with a post time of 5:13 p.m.

The complete field for the TwinSpires Kentucky Cup Classic from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):

1. Two Birds (John McKee, Jeff Hiles)
2. Founder (Joe Ramos, Maker)
3. Wentru (Jack Gilligan, Will Walden)
4. Leblon (Umberto Rispoli, Maker)
5. Wolfie’s Dynaghost (John Velazquez, Jonathan Thomas)
6. Fancy Liquor (Joe Talamo, Maker)
7. Ready to Purrform (Fernando De La Cruz, Brad Cox)
8. Ocean Atlantique (Walter Rodriguez, Maker)
9. Santin (Beschizza, Walsh)
10. King Cause (Corrales, Maker)
11. Abaan (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher)
12. Camp Hope (Chris Landeros, Kenny McPeek)
(AE) 13. Verstappen (Declan Cannon, Walsh)
(AE) 14. Richiesgotgame (Edgard Zayas, Maker)

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Undefeated New York Thunder ships in from Florida for $250,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes

AMO Racing’s speedy New York Thunder will attempt to keep his perfect record intact against a competitive field of eight 3-year-old sprinters in the 37th running of the $250,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes.

The Animal Kingdom will go as Race 7 of 13 with a post time of 3:43 p.m.

The complete field for the Animal Kingdom from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):

1. Libertango (Jareth Loveberry, Wayne Catalano)
2. Brazen Boy (Chris Landeros, Jordan Blair)
3. Olazabal (Gerardo Corrales, Eric Foster)
4. Eye Witness (Desormeaux, Ward)
5. Swirvin (Edgard Zayas, Saffie Joseph Jr.)
6. Moonstrike (GB) (Adam Beschizza, Jeff Engler)
7. New York Thunder (Morelos, Delgado)
8. Tiger Paw (IRE) (Luan Machado, Anna Meah)

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Canadian Grade III winner Il Malocchio tops $250,000 Latonia Stakes

Franco Meli’s Grade III winner Il Malocchio is set to make her 2023 debut against a cast of 11 fillies and mares that entered in $250,000 Latonia Stakes.

Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Latonia Stakes was carded as the 9 race on the 13-race Jeff Ruby Steaks Day program.

1. Grand Ave Girl (Luan Machado, Kenny McPeek)
2. Candy Raid (Kent Desormeaux, Keith Desormeaux)
3. Ready to Venture (GB) (Kazushi Kimura, Mike Stidham)
4. Il Malochio (Velazquez, Drexler)
5. Idiomatic (Chris Landeros, Brad Cox)
6. Purrfect (Fernando De La Cruz, Stidham)
7. Regal Realm (Rafael Hernandez, Jonathan Thomas)
8. Kate’s Kingdom (Irad Ortiz Jr., Will Walden)
9. Vezpa (BRZ) (Joe Ramos, Paulo Lobo)
10. Bali Belle (Gerardo Corrales, Gerardo Rodriguez)
11. Bellamore (Martin Garcia, Simon Callaghan)

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Maiden winner Santorini tops wide-open Rushaway Stakes

WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s impressive Gulfstream Park maiden special weight winner Santorini will lead a wide-open field of 12 3-year-olds plus two also-eligibles entered in the $250,000 Rushaway Stakes.

The Rushaway Stakes, run at 1 1/16 miles, made the 8th race on Saturday’s 13-race card.

The complete field for the Rushaway from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):

1. Itzos (Gerardo Corrales, Paulo Lobo)
2. Roja Redemption (Joe Ramos, Lobo)
3. Worthington (Umberto Rispoli, Mike Maker)
4. Santorini (Ortiz, Pletcher)
5. Quadra Island (Fernando De La Cruz, Brad Cox)
6. Stonemount Reunion (Sammy Bermudez, David Rider)
7. Ocean Pointe (Orlando Mojica, Richard Estvanko)
8. Reckoning Force (Adam Beschizza, Brendan Walsh)
9. Midnight Rising (Machado, Blair)
10. Ironsides (Declan Cannon, Vicki Oliver)
11. Rarified Flair (Chris Landeros, Kenny McPeek)
12. Moon Landing (John Velazquez, Michael McCarthy)
(AE) 13. Unified Weekend (Sonny Leon Antonio Sano)
(AE) 14. Movisitor (Declan Cannon, Ed Vaughan)

Wagering is available for every race from Turfway Park on www.TwinSpires.com.

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