HOT SPRINGS, AR – Brandi Nicholson and co-breeder Sandra Sexton’s Red Ruby rated well early before breaking free and running away in Saturday’s $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking from post 3 under Robby Albarado, Red Ruby sat off the pace while Secret Passion and Sassy Sienna took turns posting times of :23.77, :47.87, and 1:12.63. Making her move in the far turn, Red Ruby corralled the leaders at the top of the stretch and kicked away under mild urging to win by 2 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:39.67 for the mile-long event over a sloppy main course.
“It was great, beautiful trip,” Albarado said. “She put me where I needed to be the entire race. She is so special. She put a lot of confidence in me from day one. She kind of validated who I thought she was. She was a little keen today, but I think it was part of the layoff. I mean, when she took off, she took off.”
Sassy Sienna stayed on strongly for second, 4 1/4 lengths past Cosmic Burst in third. The favored Tyfosha couldn’t make a late bid after stalking much of the trip and took fifth, with Secret Passion fading to last.
The Martha Washington is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Red Ruby earned 10 points for the win, with Sassy Sienna receiving 4 for second, Cosmic Burst 2 for third, and Tyfosha 1 for fourth.
Red Ruby’s victory was her second straight after breaking her maiden last out at Churchill Downs. The Kellyn Gorder-trained 3-year-old daughter of Tiznow increased her career earnings to $123,000.
“She’s trained on an off track here in the last month and she handled that beautifully, so I wasn’t concerned at all,” Gorder said.”(The Martha Washington) was our plan all along. We had an option to go in an allowance race earlier in the meet, and she was training too well, so I decided, ‘Let’s go to the stake.'”
Red Ruby returned $7 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. Sassy Sienna brought back $4 to place and $2.60 to show, while Cosmic Burst paid $2.40 to show.