Pace, Trips Hard to Predict in Ruby Stakes at TP

The 17th Running of the G3 Ruby Stakes

Saturday, April 2, 2022

TP Race #2 Post Time 18:25

$600.000 11/8 Dirt 3YO 122 Lbs

KYD POINTS RACE (100-40-20-10)

Track Record-1:47.21 (Trotto-2008)

Stakes Record-1:47.92 (Ginger Haggis-2017)

Florence Y’all!  We go to TP where they will hold the G3 Ruby Stakes for the 17th time.  The $600.000 11/8 KYD prep will be worth 100-qualifying points for the victor, thus guaranteeing them a spot in the gate at CD.  We had 14 names pass through the entry box; however, twelve are scheduled to compete after the defections of the Arindel duo (Ideal Info and Keyhunt) from posts eleven and twelve, respectively.  In the rich history of this race, only Strangefate Stables, Mb Stables, and S.X. Bridgmohan own two of these trophies.  Last year Penalty Shot rallied from well off of the pace to take the victory for Maxmillion Farm, but the 20 points awarded were not enough to get him in the gate at CD.  The fine folks at CDI have fixed that issue and we should see at least the top two in the starting gate in five weeks.  Here is the field that will contest the G3 Ruby Stakes at TP: 

#1 Backslider (Alydar Stables/A.A. Gallardo): Gelding exits a weirdly-run G2 at SA where he made up nearly all of an eight-length deficit to finish 3rd, beaten only three-quarters of a length.  Was purchased two weeks ago for $225.000 and looks to pay dividends for the new barn in his first start in their silks.  Has hit the board in five of six starts with a LA-bred stake win to go along with his MSW victory.  Seems to be a bit pace-compromised, but should be able to save a lot of ground with this draw and should be running his best in the latter stages.

#2 Cheveley Park (Mo Mentum Farm/E. Maldonado): Colt is 2-2 in the LA-bred ranks including a stakes victory.  This will be his fourth crack at graded company and he is still looking for his first board finish.  Looks like he will have company as several of these are confirmed stretch-runners.  The draw will help him as he shouldn’t be more than two-wide; however, traffic may be an issue.  Needs to find more if he wants to make a dent here.

#3 Thunder Gulch (Broken Spoke Stables/S. Elliott): Gelding will be making only the fifth start of his career and first going two-turns, but he has some talent.  Was fast enough to wire a FG MSW in December before showing a different dimension in his first start at three when he laid off of the pace and pounced to win in a sharp 1:084/5 against FG N1X foes.  Ran very well in the AQU G3 to be 3rd and appears to be getting better as he gets experience.  May not have the resume of some others, but this one is every bit a contender.

#4 Crush Rush (Sccj Stables/P. Lopez): Colt has done some really good running on the dry main track.  He’s got three wins and is 6-6 ITM when he gets a dry surface, so the OTB muddy-track finish can be overlooked as long as Mother Nature cooperates.  He gets a class test for this, but he beat a quality field at SA in February.  Like the three drawn inside of him, this guy doesn’t like to be too involved early so it will be interesting to see what kind of trip he can work out.  If he can be closer than the three to his inside, he should be able to save some ground but that may prove dicey.  Feel like he’s ready for the assignment, just needs a bit of luck with his trip.

#5 Yang Gang (D J C Racing Stables/M.J. Sanchez): Gelding was able to break his maiden in a $120.000 stake race, but he hasn’t won since.  That victory, and seven of his nine starts, came on grass but he wasn’t that far back while 9th in March G3 on the dirt.  Running lines appear similar to all four inside of him and we’re getting to the point where you worry about how his trip will shape up.  If he can use just a little gas early, he could alleviate some traffic issues but he risks taking himself out of his game.  Tough call on this one, but believe a minor share may be his ceiling.

#6 Gem Of A Shark (Arindel/V.R. Carrasco): Look for this guy to make a hard left out of the gate as he possesses a great deal more early foot than those drawn to his inside.  With this draw, he may be able to fall into an excellent trip.  The G2 at TAM looks to be a toss-out as he has been ultra-competitive on a variety of dry main tracks.  Even without a favorable draw, this guy has talent to make a trip so fully expect him to be involved for every step of this journey.  One of the ones in a competitive bunch.

#7 Burnswhenitshot (TwinTowersRacing/D. Van Dyke): Colt was on a two-race winning streak to end his juvenile campaign, but his sophomore races haven’t been especially competitive.  Horses like this are scary propositions: was he an above average juvenile and his best days are behind him or is he just taking a while to adjust to the graded-ranks?  How you answer that question is up to you, but we’re passing on him in this spot.

#8 Inspector Gadget (Nakamura Stables/J.S. Rocco Jr): Just look at the fractions of that latest non-effort and toss the race for this guy.  He wants to be involved early and he just got left behind as things got crazy out at SA.  Expect him to be much more forwardly-placed on Saturday.  Gelding won on debut over the main track and he has a stakes victory on the lawn, so the talent is there.  If his works translate to the TP oval on Saturday, this guy could be a live runner at a square price.  Intriguing. 

#9 Endangered Species (Mb Stables/R. Gutierrez): The first of three for the big barn and all three will line-up side-by-side (the draws were not kind to this barn this weekend) after the scratches of the 11 and 12.  This colt will be making his third career start after a winning debut and a close finish in his first try against winners.  In both of those sprints he was involved with the pace every step and should be forwardly-placed on the stretch-out here.  Trainer knows when he has the goods and this guy looks to have nothing but potential.  He’ll have to navigate a trip and go longer than he’s ever been asked, but think he will run well on Saturday.

#10 Perception (Mb Stables/Ru. Silvera): Another with only two starts going into Saturday, this one needed his first race before wiring a 9-furlong MSW at SA on the lawn.  Lots of question marks: surface? trip? experience? but, he’s won going this distance and did so while doing all of the heavy lifting.  Don’t like him as much as the barn’s other two runners, but that can be chalked-up to the unknown with this guy.  Your call.

#11 Ideal Info (Arindel/SCRATCHED)

#12 Keyhunt (Arindel/SCRATCHED)

#13 Deserve (Mb Stables/Ci. Murphy): Gelding will start from post 11 and he looks to be working better for this assignment than he was going into the G2 at TAM.  Results have suffered after he left the FL-bred ranks and he will need to show that the a.m. improvements will translate to the races if he wants to change that narrative.  This may be the wild card of the field as he has shown enough early foot to be involved from the jump, but both wins came when he had a target in front of him.  If he presses forward, that could quicken the pace and help out some of the others further inside.  If he is content to run in the second or third flight, he chances being caught three or four wide.  If anyone knows the answer, it is this conditioner but this one presents quite the puzzle.

#14 Iron Mine (Fractious/D. Saenz): Gelding was purchased for $125.000 after finishing 8th at SA in a February G2 and will make his first start for the new connections in this spot.  He’s been ITM in six of eight races, but the maiden-breaker remains his only win.  The G2 effort last time was his first start going a route of ground, so there may be some improvement in this second such attempt.  Still, he’s had plenty of chances against winners in softer spots than this and he is starting from downtown Cincinnati.  Pass.

Final Analysis: Trips are so important in these kinds of events, and it is hard to envision a scenario where Crush Rush and Gem Of A Shark don’t sit the best trip.  Maybe someone is just much the best, but we’ll play 4-6/6-4/3-9 and hope for the best in the G3 Ruby Stakes from TP.  Good luck everyone!

Categories: Grade III, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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