Jeff Ruby Steaks and Two Phil's 2023 Prep Race Recap
The Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby featured eight major prep races that awarded 100 points to the winner and a spot in the starting gate for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.
The 1 1/8 mile Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 25 was a runaway 5-length win for Two Phil's (3/1) over runner-up Major Dude. That race was run on a synthetic surface, but Two Phil's also finished in the money in the very fast pace of the Risen Star Stakes on dirt behind winner Angel of Empire.
Jockey Jareth Loveberry will ride Two Phil's for the horse's sixth straight graded stakes race in the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby. Two Phil's is one of the few Derby horses that has run two 1 1/8 mile (9 furlongs) prep races.
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Two Phil's Kentucky Derby Top Longshot
Two Phil's will be a longshot in the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby. Not one of the big ones, however, as this colt has a foundation of stakes races. That includes a pair of graded stakes wins with his Street Sense Stakes victory at Churchill Downs along with the Jeff Ruby Steaks. Two other in-the-money finishes against Kentucky Derby runners give him a shot with the moderate projected pace setup.
According to FanDuel Racing odds, this is the first Kentucky Derby appearance for all of Two Phil’s connections, Jareth Loveberry and trainer Larry Rivelli.
The top two finishers in the 1 1/8 mile Jeff Ruby Steaks both finished strongly with final 3/8 mile times below 38 seconds. Two Phil's came home in 36.93 seconds with a winning time of 1:49.03.
Nine of the last 11 Kentucky Derby winners and 19 of the last 25 finished the final three furlongs of their final prep race in less than 38 seconds.
The Jeff Ruby Steaks has been run at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky since 1972. The track moved to an artificial synthetic surface in 2006. The following year, Hard Spun won the track's top Derby prep and then finished second in the Kentucky Derby. Animal Kingdom won the Jeff Ruby in 2011 (then the Spiral Stakes), and then captured the Run for the Roses in the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Last year, shocking 80/1 longshot Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby after finishing a distant third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.