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Two Phil’s won the 2023 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park, defeating the talented Major Dude in the process. Could the Larry Rivelli trainee follow in Rich Strike’s footsteps and post a major upset in the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1)? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Two Phil’s stamped himself a date at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May with a convincing 5 ¼-length victory in the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Grade III) – the marquee race at Turfway Park Racing &Gaming.
Owned in partnership by Patricia’s Hope and Phil Sagan, Two Phil’s earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series for his victory in the Jeff Ruby Steaks, adding to his growing total of now 123 points. Runner-up Major Dude tallied 40 points followed by third-place finisher Funtastic Again (30 points), fourth place Wadsworth (20 points) and fifth place Maker’s Candy (10 points).
Two Phil’s was ridden by Jareth Loveberry and trained by Larry Rivelli. The son of former Jeff Ruby Steaks winner Hard Spun completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.03.
Loveberry positioned Two Phil’s in seventh in the early stages of the Jeff Ruby Steaks, 2 ¾-lengths off pacesetter Funtastic Again’s quarter-mile time of :23.49. Up the backside, Funtastic Again and jockey Gerardo Corrales continued to dictate the pace through a half-mile in :47.84. At the half-mile pole, Two Phil’s moved up to fourth, two-lengths off the pace. Around the far turn, favored Major Dude began to make his challenge in the two-path while Loveberry spun Two Phil’s three-wide. At the top of the stretch Two Phil’s poked his head in front and never looked back drawing clear in the late stages of the Jeff Ruby Steaks.
“The original plan probably wasn’t to run in this spot,” Rivelli said. “I was just looking for the best route to get Two Phil’s to the Kentucky Derby. With this race on the calendar I thought it was the perfect timing and perfect spot. We’re on our way to the Derby.”
Two Phil’s rewarded his backers with mutuel payouts of $7.64, $3.90 and $2.92. Major Dude with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle returned $3.28 and $2.56. Funtastic Again paid $3.96.
Rivelli reported Two Phil’s will now head back to Hawthorne Park and ship to Louisville about three weeks out of the Kentucky Derby. The talented 3-year-old boosts a lifetime record of 8-4-1-1 with purse earnings of $683,450.
Wadsworth crossed the wire fourth followed by Maker’s Candy, Congruent, Baby Billy, Escapologist, Bluebirds Over and Point Proven.
Two Phil’s is by Hard Spun out of the General Quarters mare Mia Torri. He was bred in Kentucky by co-owner Phil Sagan.
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