Tipsheet: 2022 Jeff Ruby Steaks

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 31st, 2022

An overflow field of 13 sophomores will vie in Saturday’s $600,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. The 2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series contest offers 170 qualifying points in total, with the top-four finishers earning them on a 100-40-20-10 structure.

Jeff Ruby Steaks Picks

  • #6 Great Escape
  • #7 Tiz the Bomb
  • #2 Stolen Base
  • #1 Royal Spirit

Jeff Ruby Steaks Wagers

  • $10 win and show #6 Great Escape
  • $3 exacta key box 6 with 1, 2, 7
  • 50-cent trifecta box 1, 2, 6, 7

Jeff Ruby Steaks Contenders

#1 ROYAL SPIRIT (10-1) fell a neck short in the grassy Kitten’s Joy S. (G3) most recently in advance of his All-Weather debut. The Todd Pletcher pupil has never run a poor race and is proven at the stakes level, so he could be the one if he moves up on the synthetic. Chris Landeros rides.

#2 STOLEN BASE (7-2) rallied for a close second in the local prep and could peak third time off the shelf for trainer Michael Maker. The Bodemeister colt adds blinkers, and the late runner is an obvious win contender with even slight improvement on Saturday.

#3 CABO SPIRIT (12-1) is a stakes winner on the lawn and wouldn’t be a total surprise in his synthetic bow in this spot. The expensive two-year-old purchase has faced top-quality opponents on dirt in his last pair, and he represents good value in his first try at Turfway Park. Joe Bravo will take the reins.

#4 RICH STRIKE (20-1) has shown late interest in his pair of local outings but will need more to upset this deep field. The Eric Reed trainee has been working well, however, and a top-four placing is not out of the question at big odds.

#5 TAWNY PORT (6-1) shows two victories from as many races on the surface and enters off of a decent fifth in the Risen Star S. (G2) for Brad Cox. The Kentucky-bred colt has improved his Brisnet Speed number in each career endeavor, and he is another who could make the frame with a career-best showing.

#6 GREAT ESCAPE (15-1) has flashed ability on the dirt and will be a major presence if he takes to this oval second time off the layoff. The Midnight Storm sophomore possesses tactical speed and a nice turn of foot, and I like his chances to be in the mix late on Saturday under Adam Beschizza. He gets top billing.

#7 TIZ THE BOMB (2-1) captured the John Battaglia Memorial S. on the oval most recently and rates as an obvious contender right back for Ken McPeek. The Grade 2 victor owns a huge turn of foot that he displayed here in his latest endeavor, and a pair of swift morning drills in the interim hints that he will fire a big one once again in this spot. The Hit It a Bomb sophomore is the likely one to beat.

#8 RED RUN (6-1) comes off a stakes win on the green for Steve Asmussen. The chestnut son of Gun Runner has obvious ability, but others have more appeal to me in this ultra-competitive group. Joe Talamo will be in the stirrups.

#9 DOWAGIAC CHIEF (8-1) brings early speed and fine turf form to the cast for trainer Tom Amoss. The recent Black Gold S. romper is a question mark on the oval, but the Cairo Prince three-year-old should handle it fine in my opinion. The improving win threat will have James Graham in the stirrups.

#10 OPTIGOGO (30-1) was trounced at huge odds in his latest stakes encounter and I can’t back the Eoin Harty pupil against this group.

#11 CONSTITUTIONLAWYER (50-1) retreated quickly in the Withers S. (G3) most recently and faces a tall task in his second stakes assignment while making his synthetic debut. The bay looks to be in a tough spot on Saturday.

#12 BLACKADDER (15-1) made good in his All-Weather debut when annexing the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate. The West Coast invader will make his first run for the Tim Yakteen shedrow, and I think he will give a good account of himself despite drawing a tough post. Edwin Maldonado comes in to ride which is a major positive.

#13 SWING SHIFT (15-1) is lightly raced from just a pair of runs at Gulfstream Park in his lifetime for Pletcher. The $550,000 son of Midnight Storm was no match for the top duo in a recent allowance tilt on dirt, but he might take to this surface for a barn that is difficult to ever omit. The exotics threat will have Gerardo Corrales in the silks.