(Turfway Park / Drawing Courtesy of Churchill Downs)
From the Churchill Downs Media Team:
Joseph P. Morey Trust’s $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial winner Hush of a Storm topped a roster of 63 horses that were nominated to the premiere race of Turfway Park’s meet, the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Grade III).
The Jeff Ruby Steaks, a Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series race, will be one of six stakes events carded on Saturday, March 27 at the Florence, Ky. oval. The 1 1/8-mile event over the new Tapeta synthetic surface will award the Top 4 finishers 100-40-20-10 points for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on May 1.
New for 2021, the point structure in the Jeff Ruby Steaks and its counterpart for 3-year-old fillies, the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks, were both boosted from their previously offered 10-4-2-1 points. The Bourbonette Oaks (Listed) offers the Top 4 finishers 50-20-10-5 points toward the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) on April 30.
Other stakes on the afternoon card will be the $150,000 TwinSpires.com Kentucky Cup Classic (Listed) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; the $100,000 Rushaway for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; the $100,000 Latonia Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile; and the $65,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs. Nominations for all six races cumulatively worth $815,000 closed Saturday and will be available at https://www.turfway.com/horsemen.
“This is the day of racing many of us in the jocks room look forward to,” said jockeyChris Landeros, who ranks second in Turfway Park’s jockey standings with 26 wins. “I chose to stay home this winter to ride at Turfway and the meet has been great to us so far. I’m looking forward to ending it with a bang.”
The Jeff Ruby Steaks is likely to be featured by Hush of a Storm, who garnered 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with his victory in the Feb. 26 John Battaglia Memorial. Trained by Bill Morey, Hush of a Storm is scheduled to be joined in the starting gate by the top four finishers of the Battaglia Memorial: M Racing Group’s runner-up Like the King; Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s third-place finisher Gretzky the Great; and Bourbon Lane Stable’s fourth Hard Rye Guy.
Trainer Mike Maker has six wins in the Jeff Ruby Steaks, including victories in the last two editions with Somelikeithotbrown (2019) and Field Pass (2020), respectively. Maker nominated six horses to this year’s Jeff Ruby Steaks including $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) winner Fire At Will.
The Bourbonette Oaks had 57 nominations. Maker won two of the last threerunnings of the Bourbonette Oaks with Go Noni Go (2018) and Queen of God (2020). He nominated four fillies to this year’s race including Albert Frassetto’s $65,000 Cincinnati Trophy runner-up Phantom Vision. In the 6 ½-furlong Cincinnati Trophy, the local prep for the Bourbonette Oaks, she was defeated two lengths to Hartwell Farm and SF Racing’s 15-1 upset winner, and fellow Bourbonette Oaks nominee, Wait for Nairobi.
Another featured event on the day is the Kentucky Cup Classic for older horses. The 65 nominees include Crystal Racing Enterprises and Contreras Stable’s back-to-back Kentucky Cup Classic winner Nun the Less. Trained by Cipriano Contreras, Nun the Less was on the sidelines since his victory in last year’s event but has been training at Turfway Park for a possible three-peat attempt.
Turfway Park’s 12-race daytime spectacular will be drawn Wednesday, March 24. Fans can watch and wager on Turfway Park at TwinSpires.com – the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Inc.