March 19, 2019

Jeff Ruby Steaks tops big Saturday at Turfway Park

Somelikeithotbrown and jockey Rafael Hernandez win the John Battaglia Stakes at Turfway Park on February 15, 2019 (c) Coady Photography/Turfway Park

by John Mucciolo

A total of six stakes races will take place on the Saturday card at Turfway Park. The headliner is the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) for three-year-olds, which drew a field of 11.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby points contest is led by John Battaglia Stakes romper Somelikeithotbrown. Trained by Mike Maker, the talented son of Big Brown had a fine juvenile season, which included placings in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), With Anticipation Stakes (G3) and Pilgrim Stakes (G3). Tyler Gaffalione will be in the controls atop the horse to beat.

The Mark Casse-trained Skywire is unbeaten from two career outings, including a runaway allowance score in the slop at Gulfstream Park. The bay son of Afleet Alex has experience on synthetic tracks, with a debut win over Woodbine’s all-weather surface as a juvenile. Gary Boulanger will be in the saddle.

Five Star General led at every call in the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct in his juvenile finale and was unplaced in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) in his three-year-old bow. The bay son of Distorted Humor is training swiftly in preparation of his synthetic debut for trainer Arnaud Delacour.

John Battaglia runner-up Dynamic Racer and the late-running Dabo, who was third in the Battaglia, also merit consideration in the Jeff Ruby.

In the race preceding the feature, a dozen three-year-old fillies will vie in the $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks. Into Trouble was a sharp winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie last season in her lone synthetic race to date. The Ben Colebrook trainee prepped for the Bourbonette Oaks with a runner-up performance in the Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Her main threats include Wesley Ward’s Naughty Joker, eight-length maiden victress Birdie and Ginger Brew Stakes third Red Rounder.

A solid field of eight will contest the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Classic. Prairie Bayou Stakes winner Nun the Less, Tropical Park Derby runner-up Sniper Kitten, Forego Stakes star Midnight Pleasure and proven turf performer Sir Dudley Digges are among the top draws in a very competitive event.

The $75,000 Rushaway Stakes is for sophomores and attracted nine. Euro import Federal Law was a closing second in the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine last season and might be the one to beat. The Mark Casse-trained son of Scat Daddy will have Gary Boulanger at the controls.

Wesley Ward’s Onthewaytonevrland was a sharp second in an allowance turf dash at Santa Anita and has been first or second in each of his three lifetime performances. The gelded son of No Nay Never enticed Rafael Bejarano to ride.

An overflow field of 14 fillies and mares is entered for the $75,000 Latonia Stakes. Ontario Fashion Stakes (G3) heroine Silent Sonet, Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) upsetter Princess Warrior, 2018 Bourbonette Oaks second In the Mood and multiple stakes vixen Susie Bee are among the top draws for the affair.

Three-year-olds will run 6 1/2 furlongs in the $50,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes to get the stakes action underway. Leading the field is Soar Free Stakes winner Wallace, local allowance victor Hawaiian Noises and talented Woodbine shipper Armistice Day, who romped on debut and finished a closing second in the Victoria Stakes in 2018.

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