Jack Ruby Steaks Betting Picks and Preview: The 30-1 Longshot To Use in Exotics
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The second race with Kentucky Derby points on the line on Saturday is the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park. Post time is at 6:42 pm EST, with 12 runners set to leave from the gates, going a mile and 1/8th, for the 11th race on the card.
Unlike the winner of the Rebel, who will earn 50 points, the winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks will only walk away with 20 points towards the Derby.
One of the interesting aspects of the Jeff Ruby Steaks is that Turfway Park has an All Weather track, which most say is more comparable to turf than dirt. While the race has produced Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, more of its winners have gone to have successful turf careers, than dirt. All that being said, let’s get to handicapping the race.
First, it must be noted that only half of the field has been Triple Crown nominated. This is important to note, as only those horses who are Triple Crown nominated can run in any of the Triple Crown races.
Trainer Mike Maker sends out three horses, but interestingly only one of them is Triple Crown nominated. Even more interesting, is the Maker and Eclipse jockey of the year, Irad Ortiz Jr, will be up on No. 12 Field Pass (7-2), one of the two that aren’t Triple Crown nominated.
While these two have won 31% when teamed up in the last 60 days, Field Pass is a pass for me. Winning his last start by a neck on the Gulfstream Park turf, his other speed figures rank poorly against this group. Betting against Irad is never fun, but I’m going to take a stand as there are others that I believe just to be better horses.
The other non Triple Crown nominated horse that Maker sends out is No. 7 Victory Boulevard (30-1). He is second off the claim and coming in with a three-race win streak, all this year, although against lesser company.
This is a major step up in class for Victory Boulevard, only having raced against claiming company, but gets Gerardo Corrales up, who is one of the meet’s leading jocks. Victory Boulevard has shown to be a versatile horse, winning from the front and coming from off the pace, which will benefit him greatly in this race. Victory Boulevard and his 30-1 morning line odds are an include for me.
The last of the three horses that Maker sends out is No. 3 Fancy Liquor (8-1) and he is Triple Crown nominated. Fancy Liquor is 1-for-1 lifetime, breaking his maiden at first asking over the turf course at Gulfstream Park. He won in front-running style, as a gate-to-wire winner.
It just wasn’t an impressive enough victory for me to use this horse here, as he won’t get the lead and doesn’t look like he can get the distance of an extra 1/8th of a mile. For these reasons, he’s a toss for me.
Another Triple Crown nominated horse is No. 11 Invader (3-1), who was purchased for $500K back in 2018. He was sired by War Front, out of a Galileo mare, who has produced three starters, all winners and all stakes winners.
Invader is trained by the meet’s leading trainer, Wesley Ward and ridden by the meet’s leading jockey Albin Jimenez. He has two wins in six career starts, but both wins were over the All Weather track at Turfway. Not only were they his two most recent starts, they were extremely impressive wins as he destroyed the field, winning his race two back by 12 lengths and his most recent start by 6.5 lengths. In addition he has trained very well since his last start, posting three workouts, two of which were bullets. Invader is my top pick.
The last horse we will take a look at is No. 8 Finnick the Fierce (6-1). Triple Crown nominated and the classiest horse in the race, he has a win and a second-place finish from five career starts. While his last two starts have been less than stellar, finishing 7th and 4th, he did have excuses in both. Two starts back, he forced to go 5-6 wide on the second turn and was seven-wide at the quarter-pole. In his last start, Finnick the Fierce hit the gate, then was bumped at the break and was forced 3-5 wide the entire way.
The combination of the excuses in his last two starts, plus his most recent work, which was 4F in a fast 46.6 seconds, Finnick is an include for me.
Turfway Park Picks
Race 11: No. 11 Invader, No. 7 Victory Boulevard, No. 8 Finnick the Fierce
Turfway Park Bets
Race 11 Exacta Box: 7, 8, 11
Race 11: No. 11 to Win