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FLORENCE, KY – Three Diamonds Farm’s Field Pass overcame a disadvantageous post draw to neck out the favored Invader in Saturday’s $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park.
Breaking from the far outside post 12 at 7/2 odds under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Field Pass was forwardly-placed and was able to clear most foes before entering the clubhouse turn three-wide. Fancy Liquor set opening fractions of :23.76 and :47.78 while Invader and Field Pass kept closest watch.
Still riding three-wide along Invader’s outside, Field Pass inched ahead nearing the top of the far turn, prompting Invader to move earlier than perhaps he wanted. Invader straightened for home with a narrow advantage over Fancy Liquor, but Field Pass was just gearing up for a big run.
Inching ahead in deep stretch to take command, Field Pass crossed a neck in front of Invader, completing the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast synthetic surface in a final time of 1:49.34.
“He broke sharp coming out of there,” said Ortiz, Jr. “He put me in a good spot in third, outside the favorite, and I tried to wait. I was close; I wasn’t too far back. When I asked him, it took some time to get going. It wasn’t easy to catch (Invader), but he got the job done. They went a little slow, my horse wanted to go really bad and I didn’t want to struggle with him, so I let him go.”
Despite grudgingly giving in late, Invader was 2 lengths clear of Fancy Liquor, while Halo Again beat Victory Boulevard for fourth by a 1/2-length. The Stiff, Myamanoi, Dack Janiel’s, Austrian, Toma Todo, and Unthrottled completed the order of finish. Finnick the Fierce was scratched.
The Jeff Ruby Steaks is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Invader earned 20 points for the win, with Invader receiving 8 for second, Fancy Liquor 4 for third, and Halo Again 2 for fourth.
Field Pass’ win was his second straight, having taken the Dania Beach Stakes over the Gulfstream Park turf on February 1 to kick off his 2020 campaign. The Maryland-bred 3-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid improved his overall record to 8-3-2-0 with $291,210 earned.
“He’s a good-sized horse,” Maker said. “His conformation’s great. Great mind on him. I was getting worried right down to the wire. I try to bring some of my better turf horses for the Ruby. It’s paid off over the years. He ran a great race off the bench in the Dania Beach in a very competitive field and I thought he would run very well here.”
Field Pass returned $9.60 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.40 to show. Invader brought back $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show, while Fancy Liquor paid $4.60 to show.
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