From the Turfway Park Media Team:
M Racing Group’s Like the King surged in deep stretch under jockey Drayden Van Dyke to win Saturday’s 50th running of the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Grade III) at Turfway Park.
Trained by Wesley Ward, Like the King received 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby for his victory in the 1 1/8-mile race over the synthetic Tapeta surface.
Like the King was relegated to seventh in the early stages of the race as Moonlite Strike opened up a two-length advantage on the field into the first turn through opening quarter-mile fractions of :22.93 and :46.81. On the backstretch, Moonlite Strike continued to lead but received pace pressure from Gretzky the Great through a six-furlong time of 1:11.65. Meanwhile, Like the King began his rally to the front. By the quarter-mile pole, the colt made his charge to the lead and took clear advantage in the last 1/16th of a mile to win by one length.
Drayden Van Dyke — Like the King (1st):
“I got together with my agent (Gary Stevens) and Wesley and we decided to change up the tactics a bit today,” Van Dyke said. “We went back and watched some replays of this horse and thought he doesn’t really like to be up in the race. It ended up working out well for us. With moving my tack to Kentucky, this is a huge confidence booster going into the Keeneland meet.”
Florent Geroux — Tarentino, 5-2 PT Favorite (Last):
“He broke so slow from the gate that it was over going into the first turn. I just took care of him after that.”
Wesley Ward — Like the King:
“We spaced out some of his races and I think it’s helped because he’s a big, rangy colt,” Ward said. “He’s always showed an affinity for grass and that’s why we kept him on the Tapeta surface this winter with this race in mind. I’m glad this came through and worked out with Gary (Stevens). Now that he became an agent forDrayden, it’s special to partner to win this race. Growing up I always idolized Gary and it was a good combination to get us to this win today. We were in the Derby once before but had post 20 and Mr. Tabor wanted to scratch. Now that we’re here again it’s very exciting.”