Hazit breaks his maiden at Saratoga Race Course

Hazit breaks his maiden at Saratoga Race Course

Coglianese Photos/Annette Jasko

Hazit, Ride a Comet Headline Jeff Ruby at Turfway

The grade 3 is Turfway Park's Road to the Kentucky Derby event.

Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has made Ride a Comet and Hazit 5-1 co-favorites on the morning line for the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), a 1 1/8-mile race March 17 on the all-weather track at Turfway Park. The Jeff Ruby, run for many years as the Spiral Stakes, offers Road to the Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers on a 20-8-4-2 scale. 

Ride a Comet is a Candy Ride  half brother to last year's Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1) winner Tapwrit. Bred by My Meadowview Farm, he is out of the grade 1-winning Successful Appeal  mare Appealing Zophie. He was purchased by John Oxley for $375,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales April 2-year-olds in training sale, with My Meadowview retaining an interest, and broke his maiden for trainer Mark Casse in the fourth of his five starts, a 1 1/16-mile test Dec. 17 that was taken off the turf at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. He won his next and most recent outing Jan. 6 as well, going about a mile on the Fair Grounds lawn.

"He's doing extremely well right now," Casse said. "We bought him off the OBS sale, and that's a synthetic track and he seemed to love it, so we decided to bring him here. He broke his maiden on dirt, but his turf win last out would also suggest he will take to a synthetic track."

A couple of defections among those expected to enter the Jeff Ruby put Ride a Comet in the gate, and he drew post 11 in the field of 12. 

"It's a little further outside than I would've liked, but it's better than the (also-eligible list)," Casse said. "He's a pretty good horse, and we'll play the hand that was dealt to us."

Hazit, a son of War Front  out of the graded stakes-winning Indian Charlie mare Rumor, was a $430,000 purchase by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners from Harris Training Center's consignment to the 2017 OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale.

He won his debut at Saratoga Race Course in August, and an interest was sold to Coolmore partners, after which he stepped immediately into grade 1 company for trainer Todd Pletcher. He finished fifth in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park and then eighth in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar. After a layoff, he made his first start this year in an optional-claiming allowance at Tampa Bay Downs, where he set the pace before settling for second, beaten a length.

Magicalmeister and Sky Promise, the 1-2 finishers in the Feb. 23 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, are among those entered for Saturday's test. The two will stretch from the Battaglia's 1 1/16-mile distance.

Magicalmeister, a son of Bodemeister , broke his maiden Jan. 9 by 9 3/4 lengths going six furlongs on the dirt at Mahoning Valley Race Course, and rebounded from a Feb. 10 third-place finish in a one-mile allowance at Turfway with a half-length score in the Battaglia. Trainer James Chapman sent the colt through a pre-race work March 10 at Turfway, where he went four furlongs in :49 4/5.

"He ran well in the Battaglia—came out of the race really good," Chapman said. "He worked great the other day—came back from that in fine fashion. That race was his second time routing, so he improved from the race before. With this race being farther, he'll probably be laying a little bit closer to the pace, but he can be placed anywhere. 

"If he were to win (the Jeff Ruby) lights out, we may consider (the Kentucky Derby). He likes the dirt, but the Lexington (G3) or Pat Day Mile (G3) might be where we go. There's a lot of money after the Derby is run, so we may let those horses beat each other up a little. We'll do whatever is best for the horse."

After he raced wide in the Battaglia, Magicalmeister dug in late to hold off the fast-closing Sky Promise, a Sky Mesa  colt trained by Kenny McPeek.

"He ran real good last time out," McPeek said. "The added distance of this race will help. He's been begging for more ground. He seems to run best from the back of the pack. This is a good race for him right now. The timing is perfect. He's coming into it real well."

Invading for his season debut is Monticule's homebred Archaggelos, who won the Grey Stakes (G3) at Woodbine in just his third start. Racing about 4 1/2 lengths off the leader down the backstretch, jockey Rafael Hernandez sent Archaggelos to the inside, and the Temple City  colt responded by boldly splitting horses when a narrow gap opened up entering the stretch. He finished fourth in his next outing for trainer Michael Dickinson, the Dec. 2 Display Stakes at Woodbine. 

Archaggelos, a half brother to 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Big Brown, put in his final breeze for the Jeff Ruby March 10 at Turfway, where he clocked six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.

Also on the Saturday card is the $100,000 DRF Bets Bourbonette Oaks (G3), a qualifying race for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). The Bourbonette Oaks drew a field of 11 3-year-old fillies and awards Road to the Kentucky Oaks points to the top four finishers on a 20-8-4-2 scale. 

Entries: Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3)

Turfway Park, Saturday, March 17, 2018, Race 10

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/8m
  • All Weather Track
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo
  • 6:00 PM (local)
11Sky Promise (KY)Jack Gilligan123Kenneth G. McPeek12/1
22Cash Call Kitten (KY)Tyler Gaffalione123Michael J. Maker12/1
33Archaggelos (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Manuel Hernandez123Michael W. Dickinson6/1
44Pony Up (KY)Albin Jimenez123Todd A. Pletcher6/1
55Magicalmeister (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn McKee123James K. Chapman12/1
66Mugaritz (KY)Nik Juarez123Jonathan Wong6/1
77Hazit (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke123Todd A. Pletcher5/1
88Blended Citizen (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKyle Frey123Doug F. O'Neill6/1
99Dreamer's Point (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateChris Landeros123Ian R. Wilkes15/1
1010Zanesville (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMalcolm Franklin123Thomas M. Amoss12/1
1111Ride a Comet (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGabriel Saez123Mark E. Casse5/1
1212Arawak (KY)Julio A. Garcia123Wesley A. Ward15/1

Entries: DRF Bets Bourbonette Oaks (G3)

Turfway Park, Saturday, March 17, 2018, Race 9

  • Grade III
  • 1m
  • All Weather Track
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 5:14 PM (local)
11Classy Music (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlan Garcia118Kenneth G. McPeek12/1
22Consolida (GB)Drayden Van Dyke124Patrick Gallagher5/1
33Queen's Fate (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Manuel Hernandez118Michael J. Maker8/1
44Child's Play (MD)Jack Gilligan118Gerald E. Brooks30/1
55In the Mood (KY)John McKee118Stephen S. Sandy8/1
66Hey Negrita (KY)Mitchell Murrill118Claudie Marshall Godsey, Jr.15/1
77Mauk's Tuff (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlberto Pusac118William Mauk20/1
88Mo Flash (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGabriel Saez118Mark E. Casse10/1
99Homemade Salsa (FL)Chris Landeros124Michael J. Maker8/1
1010Bet She Wins (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlbin Jimenez118Chris M. Block3/1
1111Go Noni Go (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Gaffalione118Michael J. Maker5/2