Kentucky Derby trail: Major Dude leads 12 in Jeff Ruby Steaks

Kentucky Derby trail: Major Dude leads 12 in Jeff Ruby Steaks
Photo: Gulfstream Park

Spendthrift Farm’s multiple graded-stakes winning 3-year-old Major Dude headlines a talented field of 12 colts and geldings who were entered in Saturday’s 52nd running of the Grade 3, $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks is a Kentucky Derby points qualifier, offering 100-40-30-20-10 points to the top five finishers. The 12th of 13 races on the Saturday card, post time Saturday is 6:25 p.m. EDT.

Click here for HRN rankings of Kentucky Derby 2023 contenders.

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 Pilgrim (G2) at the Belmont at Aqueduct meet. After a disappointing ninth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Major Dude made his 3-year-old debut in the Dania Beach at Gulfstream Park, where he rallied for second at even-money. In his last start, Major Dude contested the Kitten’s Joy (G3) and defeated seven rivals by 1 1/2 lengths under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Ortiz again will have the mount on Major Dude in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. He 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 entered in the Jeff Ruby Steaks is 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 1/4-length victory in the Street Sense (G3) at Churchill Downs. Following that effort, Two Phil’s was the runner-up to Instant Coffee in the Lecomte (G3) and third-place finisher to Angel of Empire and Sun Thunder in the $400,000 Risen Star (G2). Four weeks ago, Rivelli opted to ship to the colt from Fair Grounds to his base at Hawthorne to begin his preparation for the Jeff Ruby Steaks. Two Phil’s arrived at Turfway on March 13 and has been training daily over the Florence oval.

Jockey Jareth Loveberry, who has 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 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 1/2-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 Funtastic Again. Trained by 2021 Jeff Ruby Steaks winning conditioner Wesley Ward, Funtastic Again has not returned to the races since his stout 3 3/4-length win in the Leonatus Stakes on Jan. 21 at Turfway. Before the Leonatus, Funtastic Again dazzled in a first-level allowance contest by 5 1/2 lengths at Turfway.

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

2023 Jeff Ruby Steaks G3

Post Silks Horse / Sire Rating Trainer / Jockey Last Start / Next Start HRN
1 Horse Silk Major Dude Major Dude
Bolt d'Oro
5.92 Todd A. Pletcher
Irad Ortiz, Jr.
1st, 2023 Kitten's Joy G3 2-1
Last Race 1st, 2023 Kitten's Joy G3
2 Horse Silk Scoobie Quando Scoobie Quando
Uncle Mo
0.00 Ben Colebrook
Luan Machado
2nd, 2023 John Battaglia Memorial LS 15-1
Last Race 2nd, 2023 John Battaglia Memorial LS
3 Horse Silk Event Detail Event Detail
City of Light
4.45 Paulo H. Lobo
Walter Rodriguez
10th, 2023 Rebel Stakes G2 20-1
Last Race 10th, 2023 Rebel Stakes G2
4 Horse Silk Funtastic Again Funtastic Again
5.39 Wesley A. Ward
Gerardo Corrales
1st, 2023 Leonatus Stakes LS 6-1
Last Race 1st, 2023 Leonatus Stakes LS
5 Horse Silk Maker's Candy Maker's Candy
Twirling Candy
0.00 Michael J. Maker
Umberto Rispoli
2nd, 2023 Gander RS 12-1
Last Race 2nd, 2023 Gander RS
6 Horse Silk Baby Billy Baby Billy
5.23 Norm W. Casse
Joseph Talamo
1st, GP MSW (2/18/23-R8) 30-1
Last Race 1st, GP MSW (2/18/23-R8)
7 Horse Silk Bluebirds Over Bluebirds Over
English Channel
0.00 Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.
Edgard J. Zayas
5th, 2023 Colonel Liam Stakes LS 12-1
Last Race 5th, 2023 Colonel Liam Stakes LS
8 Horse Silk Congruent Congruent
6.15 Antonio Sano
Sonny Leon
1st, 2023 John Battaglia Memorial LS 5-1
Last Race 1st, 2023 John Battaglia Memorial LS
9 Horse Silk Escapologist Escapologist
Good Magic
0.00 Kenneth G. McPeek
Alexis Archard
4th, OP MSW (1/28/23-R3) 30-1
Last Race 4th, OP MSW (1/28/23-R3)
10 Horse Silk Two Phil's Two Phil's
Hard Spun
6.37 Larry Rivelli
Jareth Loveberry
3rd, 2023 Risen Star G2 7-2
Last Race 3rd, 2023 Risen Star G2
11 Horse Silk Wadsworth Wadsworth
Quality Road
3.79 Brad H. Cox
Chris Landeros
1st, TP AlwOC (2/11/23-R7) 8-1
Last Race 1st, TP AlwOC (2/11/23-R7)
12 Horse Silk Point Proven Point Proven
Gun Runner
6.26 Todd A. Pletcher
John R. Velazquez
3rd, GP Allow (3/2/23-R8) 15-1
Last Race 3rd, GP Allow (3/2/23-R8)

Top Stories

Having long since eclipsed legendary Charlie Whitt...
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Administratio...
Unbeaten since transferred to turf three starts ba...
Red Route One posted a half-mile breeze in 50.85 s...
Echo Zulu , the champion 2-year-old filly of 2021...