Don’t look for much separation on the morning line in Saturday’s $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3). A well-matched field of 12 has been entered for the Kentucky Derby qualifier on Turfway Park’s Polytrack and half the field is listed at either 5-1 or 6-1 in the race formerly known as the Spiral Stakes.
The 1 1/8-mile race will award points on a 20-8-4-2 scale.
Hazit, who is best known for defeating eventual 2-year-old champion Good Magic in a Travers Day maiden race, has been installed as the 5-1 co-favorite. The War Front colt will make his second start this year for Todd Pletcher following a runner-up effort in an entry-level allowance at Tampa Bay Downs on February 18 and Drayden Van Dyke picks up the mount.
Pletcher will also send out Pony Up, who recorded back-to-back seconds in the Pulpit and Kitten’s Joy on Gulfstream Park’s turf. The son of Aikenite could appreciate the switch to synthetic after a well-beaten fifth in the February 3 Holy Bull (G2) and Albin Jimenez rides. Pony Up is one of a quartet at 6-1.
Ride a Comet will bring a two-race win streak into his stakes bow, most recently taking a grassy Fair Grounds allowance, and the Mark Casse pupil is pegged at 5-1 with Gabriel Saez. Archaggelos likes synthetic surfaces, capturing the Grey (G3) two starts back on Woodbine’s Tapeta, and Rafael Hernandez will be up for Michael Dickinson.
Blended Citizen and Mugaritz, third and fourth in the February 17 El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields, have shipped in from California. Magicalmeister will try to back up a 39-1 upset in the February 23 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway and the Bodemeister colt has won two of three career starts under the direction of James Chapman. Sky Promise and Arawak, second and third in the Battaglia Memorial, are also back for the Jeff Ruby.
Completing the field are expected longshots Cash Call Kitten, Dreamer’s Point and Zanesville.