Horse Racing

Major Dude transitions from grass to synthetic turf for Jeff Ruby

Spendthrift Farm Classified Multi-Stake Winner Major reported dozens of 3-year-olds racing on March 25 in the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Race Park.

Jeff Ruby Steaks, Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series qualifier, will take place at Race 12/13 with a post time of 6:25 p.m. ET. The race takes place at 1 1/8 mile on Turfway’s synthetic Tapeta surface and will give the top 5 finishers points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale for a spot. in the starting gate for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1). Last year, rich attack used qualifying points from a third-place finish in Jeff Ruby to get into the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby and score a nasty 80-1 goal.

Also on the Saturday show at Turfway are five other stakes worth $250,000 or more.

Two-time classified bet winner Major Dude will infiltrate Turfway Park from his South Florida base for Hall of Fame coach Todd Pletcher with his connections, hopefully. he can convert his top grass to a synthetic surface. The son of Bolt d’Oro following his first bet win last fall in Pilgrim Stakes (G2T) at the Belmont meet in the Aqueduct. After a disappointing ninth-place attempt in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T), Major Dude made his debut at the age of 3 at the $100,000 Dania Beach in New York. Gulfstream Park, where he rallies for second and even money. In his final start, Major Dude contested $175,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes (G3T) and won by a 1.5-fold margin under Irad Ortiz Jr.


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Ortiz will ride on Major Dude again in Jeff Ruby Steaks. The last time Ortiz rode at Turfway was in 2020 when he won Jeff Ruby Steaks on board The field of crossing . Ortiz and Major Dude will break the rails as the morning favorites with a 2-1 scoreline.

Also changing the surface is another talented 3-year-old in Patricia’s Hope and Phillip Sagan’s two-time bet winner Two Phil . Coached by Larry Rivelli, Two Phil’s seven-race campaign is just over and Jeff Ruby will be his first test on Tapeta. Chestnut son of Spin hard began marching to the Kentucky Derby after his 5 1/4-length victory in Street Sense (G3) at Churchill Downs. After that effort, Two Phil’s came in second Instant coffee in Lecomte Stakes (G3) and finished in third place angel of the empire And Thunder in Risen Star Stakes (G2), both are in Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots. Four weeks ago, Rivelli chose to transport the pony from the Fair Grounds back to his base in Hawthorne to begin prepping for Jeff Ruby Steaks. The two Phils arrived at Turfway on March 13 and trained daily at the Florence Stadium.

Rivelli was pleased with what he saw from his horse when training on synthetic surfaces.

“I was trying to think of the easiest place to make money and I thought this would be the place,” he said. “If he absolutely hates the surface, that’s on me. I’m putting myself out there to say I think he’ll get over it.”

The two Phil’s already have 23 points on their Road to the Kentucky Derby and Rivelli is confident that Hard Spun’s son belongs in the top 3-year-olds.

“He’s definitely among the top horses in this case,” said Rivelli. “Will he be capable of making this next move? Who knows? There will be horses that start to fall but as long as no horse likes it. justification or American Pharoah out of the woodwork, it could be a Derby this year where you can throw darts.”

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

Loveberry fractured her fibula in a gate malpractice on March 2 at the Fair Grounds. Fortunately, he was able to return to action two weeks later.

“Jareth is our guy,” Rivelli said. “He’s a tough kid anyway but he can be like the actor from the movie ‘Seabiscuit’ when he ties a stick to his leg to make sure he can ride a horse. After that happened, I immediately vying for a jockey. I have a bunch of people who want to ride, but it’s good that Jareth can.”

Among other top competitors with Turfway experience in Jeff Ruby are Tami Bobo and Lugamo Racing Stable John Battaglia Memorial winner Congruent and winner Leonatus Stock of Three Chimneys . Farm Funtastic again . Sonny Leon, who piloted Rich Strike to victory in last year’s Derby, rides on Congruent, while Gerardo Corrales will ride Funtastic again.

TV viewers can watch Jeff Ruby Steaks on a Road to the Kentucky Derby which airs on CNBC starting at 6 p.m. ET.

Item: Jeff Ruby Steak (G3)

Race ParkSaturday, March 25, 2023, Race 12

  • Class III
  • 1 1/8m
  • All weather tracker
  • 700,000 USD
  • 3 years old
  • 18:25 (local)

This press release has been edited by BloodHorse Staff for content and style.


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