Sandra Sexton and Brandi Nicholson’s Red Ruby was the co-5-2 second choice in Saturday’s $122,500 Martha Washington Stakes, but ran like a favorite under jockey Robby Albarado to score a 2 1/2-length victory.
The race is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and awarded 10-4-2-1 points to the respective top four finishers.
The Kellyn Gorder trainee settled on the inside as Secret Passion ranged up to lead through the opening quarter in :23.77 while pressed by Sassy Sienna. Tyfosha was to Red Ruby’s outside, and Cosmic Burst widest of all outside of Tyfosha.
Secret Passion wasn’t in front for long, fading down on the rail as Sassy Sienna took command through six furlongs in :47.87 and 1:12.63. Red Ruby moved up to challenge rounding the turn, easily collaring her rival and drawing off to finish a mile over the sloppy, sealed track in 1:39.67 while paying $7.
Sassy Sienna was best of the rest, 4 1/4 lengths up on Cosmic Burst, who in turn had 8 1/2 lengths to spare over Tyfosha. Secret Passion finished last.
Red Ruby debuted in 13th on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard thanks to capturing her stakes bow in this spot. Sassy Sienna already boasted one point thanks to a fourth-place effort in last year’s Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, and now sits in 20th on the Leaderboard with five total points.
Cosmic Burst earned two points and Tyfosha one point to make their Oaks Leaderboard debuts.
After running second in her career opener at Churchill Downs last October, Red Ruby returned under the Twin Spires November 25 to break her maiden by 3 1/2 lengths. That concluded her juvenile campaign, and the Tiznow filly captured her sophomore bow in this spot to improve her lifetime record to 3-2-1-0, $123,000.
Bred in Kentucky by Hargus and Sandra Sexton and Silver Fern Farm LLC, Red Ruby is out of Rubiano mare Caroni, who has also foaled Grade 3 victor Mo Tom, multiple Grade 1-placed stakes winner Beautician and stakes heroine Bella Castani. Caroni is a half-sister to multiple Grade 2 scorer Kashatreya.
MARTHA WASHINGTON QUOTES
Kellyn Gorder, trainer Red Ruby, winner
“She’s trained on an off track here in the last month and she handled that beautifully, so I wasn’t concerned at all. (The Martha Washington) was our plan all along. We had an option to go in an allowance race earlier in the meet and she was training too well, so I decided, ‘Let’s go to the stake.’”
Gorder said Red Ruby will be considered for the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) on March 10.
“That’s kind of the most logical spot, I think. We know she likes this racetrack and we’re here.”
Robby Albarado, jockey Red Ruby, winner
“It was great, beautiful trip. She put me where I needed to be the entire race. She is so special. She put a lot of confidence in me from day one. She kind of validated who I thought she was. (Trainer) Kellyn (Gorder) did a great job getting her ready after this lay off. She was a little keen today, but I think it was part of the layoff. I mean when she took off, she took off.”
Gary Stevens, jockey Sassy Sienna, second
“She handled the track well, did everything right. The winner’s a nice filly and did better on the day and my filly should improve on the day. No excuses she ran well.”