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Thursday, March 1, 2018 4:10 PM
  • Spiral Stakes

Corrected: Mike Maker's win in the 2006 running was the trainer's second graded score, not first.


FLORENCE, Ky. (March 1, 2018) – The 47th running of the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park, a designated points race for the Kentucky Derby (G1), closed Feb. 24 with 158 nominations. The Jeff Ruby Steaks is scheduled for Saturday, March 17.

“For horses that have steadily accumulated points toward the Derby as they’ve continued to improve and mature, the Jeff Ruby Steaks is perfectly timed,” said General Manager Daniel “Chip” Bach. “A win here could advance them toward the points races at Keeneland, which reflects this race’s original intent—that horses would advance from here to Keeneland to the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.”

The Jeff Ruby Steaks offers 20 points to the winner, eight to the runner-up, four to the show horse and two to the horse finishing fourth. Nominees that could add to existing Derby totals include Firenze Fire, one of three nominated by trainer Jason Servis. Winner of the Jerome Stakes (listed) and Champagne Stakes (G1) and second in the Withers (G3), Firenze Fire has collected 24 points toward the Kentucky Derby. Another is Instilled Regard, one of six nominated by Jerry Hollendorfer. Instilled Regard was awarded second by disqualification in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), won the Lecomte (G3) and was fourth in the Remsen (G2) for a total of 19 points. Catholic Boy, trained by Jonathan Thomas, has 14 points from his Remsen victory and a runner-up finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3). Steve Asmussen’s trainee Combatant earned 12 points with runner-up finishes in the Springboard Mile (listed), Smarty Jones (listed) and Southwest (G3). Sam F. Davis winner Flameaway, trained by Mark Casse, and El Camino Real Derby winner Paved, a filly trained by Michael McCarthy, have 10 points each.

Magicalmeister, Sky Promise and Arawak, the top three finishers in Turfway’s John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, also are nominated. The Battaglia Memorial, the local prep for the Jeff Ruby Steaks, does not award Kentucky Derby points.

Trainer Todd Pletcher leads all nominators with 13, including stakes winners Bal Harbour, Prince Lucky and Salmanazar, graded stakes-placed Gidu (IRE) and Maraud and stakes-placed Pony Up. Pletcher has won Turfway’s Kentucky Derby prep race three times, with Balto Star in 2001, Flower Alley in 2005 and We Miss Artie in 2014.

The next-highest number of nominees from one trainer is 11 from Mike Maker, seven of which, including stakes winner Cash Call Kitten, are owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Together the Ramseys and Maker have won Turfway’s prep race twice, in 2010 with Dean’s Kitten and in 2016 with Oscar Nominated. Maker repeated in 2017 with Fast and Accurate for Kendall Hansen and also won in 2006 with With a City for Ron Peltz, the trainer’s second graded stakes win.

The full list of nominations and past performances are available at

Formerly the Spiral Stakes, the Jeff Ruby Steaks is supported by the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks as well as three black type races: the revived Kentucky Cup Classic, the Rushaway Stakes and the Latonia Stakes, formerly the Wintergreen. Nominations for the undercard stakes close Wednesday, March 7.

First post March 17 is 1:10 p.m. ET. The Jeff Ruby Steaks will be the 10th of 12 races, with a 6 p.m. post. Entries will be drawn Wednesday, March 14.


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