The $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) headlines the signature day of racing at Turfway Park on Saturday. The 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series contest will reward the top four sophomores with points on a 20-8-4-2 basis towards the Run for the Roses on May 2.
In addition to the centerpiece, five accompanying stakes races will be held on the lucrative card. Here are my selections:
Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3)
A dozen well-matched 3-year-olds will contest the 9-furlong event. #6 Halo Again (8-1) was impressive when scoring in the Coronation Futurity on the synthetic at Woodbine in his juvenile finale. Asmussen pupil didn’t factor in the Lecomte (G3) in his seasonal bow, but a return to the all-weather will be good for the expensive son of Speightstown.
An overflow field of 13 sophomore fillies will compete in what appears to be a good betting opportunity. #7 Impeccable Style (4-1) gets top billing while making her synthetic debut. McPeek trainee exits a super-tough heat in the Rachel Alexandra (G2), and the Uncle Mo lass looms large on the surface change beneath Lanerie.
Kentucky Cup Classic
Another huge field has 14 entered and it will be tough to upend Turfway specialist #10 Somelikeithotbrown (2-1) if he runs his best. Maker charge is three-for-three locally, and he was very sharp in an allowance tune up on the course most recently.
But I am intrigued by #8 Royal Mesa (15-1) at a big number. Talented Sky Mesa colt has put in two smart efforts on the course at the meeting, and the 4-year-old fits in this spot. Phil Sims trainee could be live at the top of the lane after tracking a healthy pace.
Sophomores will vie in the 1 1/16-miles test. I like the inside horses best and will use all three in exacta and trifecta plays. McPeek’s #1 Crypto Cash (7-2), stakes winner #2 Vannzy (7-2), and the much improved #3 Blanket of Roses (5-1), are the ones that I fancy.
Fillies and mares will travel 1 mile with 12 going postward. I have a hunch that #6 Gorgeous in Rags (10-1) will make a big run from off the pace for Walsh. Union Rags filly has placed in four straight while facing some very talented foes, and the move to the synthetic could move her forward beneath Geroux.
Sophomores will travel 6 1/2 furlongs searching for stakes glory. The improving #1 Amongst (4-1) has never tried all-weather racing but gets the nod, nonetheless. Brad Cox pupil was a clear second in the Sugar Bowl in his 2019 finale, and he secures the rail for his 3-year-old debut. Son of Into Mischief will stalk-and-pounce under Geroux.