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Jeff Ruby Steaks 2024 | Turfway Park Picks [Kentucky Derby]
Endlessly (Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Jeff Ruby Steaks 2024 | Turfway Park Picks [Kentucky Derby]

Aaron previews the 2024 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) from Turfway Park, then gives his top win pick from this 100-point Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race.

Can Endlessly build off of his El Camino Real Derby victory? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Amerman Racing’s El Camino Real Derby winner Endlessly will ship more than 2,000 miles from his Southern California base to Florence, Ky. and face an over-subscribed field of 14 3-year-olds that entered next Saturday’s 53rd running of the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), the marquee race of the Turfway Park season.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks is a pivotal stop for many of the nation’s top 3-year-olds on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The 1 1/8-mile affair will go as Race 12 of 13 with a post time of 6:25 p.m. (ET) First post for the program will be 12:45 p.m.

Horses in the Jeff Ruby Steaks will be competing for a total of 200 qualifying points as they attempt to earn a position in the starting gate for the 150th running of the $5-million Kentucky Derby (G1) May 4 at Churchill Downs. The top 5 finishers of the Jeff Ruby Steaks will be awarded points on a 100-50-25-15-5 scale.

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Trained by Michael McCarthy, Endlessly has been brilliant in four of his five career starts with victories in the El Camino Real Derby, Zuma Beach (G3) and Del Mar Juvenile Turf (G3). The only blemish in the son of Oscar Performance’s resume is a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) when he had a wide journey throughout but was only defeated 3½ lengths to Unquestionable.

Endlessly began his 3-year-old campaign in the El Camino Real Derby when he defeated Tapalo by 1¼ lengths as the heavy 3-5 favorite. Jockey Umberto Rispoli will have the mount in the Jeff Ruby Steaks as the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Chief among the competitors to Endlessly that entered the Jeff Ruby Steaks is Repole Stable and St. Elias Stables’ Grade 2 winner Agate Road. Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Agate Road made his Road to the Kentucky Derby debut last month when he finished a fast-closing second to No More Time in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

Prior to the Sam F. Davis, Agate Road competed five times on turf highlighted by a 1¼-length victory in the Pilgrim Stakes (G2) as a 2-year-old. The son of Quality Road was cross-entered in Saturday’s $1-million Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds. Jockey Jose Ortiz will have the mount should he remain in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at odds of 4-1.

Pletcher will attempt to win the Jeff Ruby Steaks for the fourth time. He previously won the race with We Miss Artie (2014), Flower Alley (2005) and Balto (2001).

Along with Agate Road, Pletcher and Repole are also represented in this year’s race by multiple stakes winner Noted.

Another 3-year-old with prior experience on the Road to the Kentucky Derby is Jack Oxley, Harold Lerner, AWC Stables and Magdalena Racing’s Northern Flame.

Conditioned by Kenny McPeek and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Northern Flame already banked 18 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with his third-place finish in last month’s Rebel (G2) along with a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and fifth-place finish in the Street Sense (G3).

Several other accomplished 3-year-olds entered the Jeff Ruby Steaks, including Iroquois Stakes (GI3) winner West Saratoga, Mucho Macho Man Stakes winner Otello and Riley Allison Derby winner Lucky Jeremy.

One of the few horses that entered the Jeff Ruby who are in search of their first stakes victory is MyRacehorse’s recent Oaklawn allowance winner Seize the Grey. The improving son of Arrogate is trained by two-time Jeff Ruby Steaks winner D. Wayne Lukas, who won this race in 1995 with Serena’s Song and in 1983 with Marfa. Seize the Grey will be ridden by Nik Juarez.

Here is the complete field for the Jeff Ruby Steaks in order of post position (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds):

  1. Freedom Principle (Adam Beschizza, Jose Garaffalo, 30-1)
  2. Dancing Groom (Frankie Dettori, Antonio Sano, 15-1)
  3. Lucky Jeremy (Gerardo Corrales, Bill Morey, 10-1)
  4. Noted (Luis Saez, Pletcher, 10-1)
  5. Agate Road (Ortiz, Pletcher, 4-1)
  6. Northern Flame (Leparoux, McPeek, 5-1)
  7. Woodcourt (Luan Machado, Cipriano Contreras, 6-1)
  8. Otello (Javier Castellano, Christophe Clement, 12-1)
  9. Seize the Grey (Juarez, Lukas, 8-1)
  10. Endlessly (Rispoli, McCarthy, 5-2)
  11. Baytown Chatterbox (Albin Jiminez, Paul McEntee, 30-1)
  12. West Saratoga (Jesus Castanon, Larry Demeritte, 20-1)
  13. Also-Eligible: Circle P (Tyler Conner, Flint Stites, 30-1)
  14. Also-Eligible: Triple Espresso (Ortiz, Pletcher, 20-1)

Along with the Jeff Ruby Steaks, stakes-laden card will also feature the 42nd running of the $300,000 Bourbonette Oaks (Listed); the 24th running of the $300,000 TwinSpires Kentucky Cup Classic (G3); the 38th running of the $250,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes; the 42nd running of the $250,000 Latonia Stakes and the 37th running of the $250,000 Rushaway.