Two Phil’s was just too good as he sprinted away to victory in the 52nd Jeff Ruby Steaks. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Turfway Park Press Release
FLORENCE, Ky.— Two Phil’s stamped himself a date at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May with a convincing 5 1⁄4-length victory in the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Grade III) – the marquee race at Turfway Park Racing & Gaming.
Owned in partnership by Patricia’s Hope and Phil Sagan, Two Phil’s earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series for his victory in the Jeff Ruby Steaks, adding to his growing total of now 123 points. Runner-up Major Dude tallied 40 points followed by third-place finisher Funtastic Again (30 points), fourth-place Wadsworth (20 points) and fifth- place Maker’s Candy (10 points).
Two Phil’s was ridden by Jareth Loveberry and trained by Larry Rivelli. The son of former Jeff Ruby Steaks winner Hard Spun completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.03.
Loveberry positioned Two Phil’s in seventh in the early stages of the Jeff Ruby Steaks, 2 3⁄4-lengths off pacesetter Funtastic Again’s quarter-mile time of :23.49. Up the backside, Funtastic Again and jockey Gerardo Corrales continued to dictate the pace through a half-mile in :47.84. At the half-mile pole,
Two Phil’s moved up to fourth, two-lengths off the pace. Around the far turn, favored Major Dude began to make his challenge in the two-path while Loveberry spun Two Phil’s three-wide. At the top of the stretch Two Phil’s poked his head in front and never looked back drawing clear in the late stages of the Jeff Ruby Steaks.
“The original plan probably wasn’t to run in this spot,” Rivelli said. “I was just looking for the best route to get Two Phil’s to the Kentucky Derby. With this race on the calendar, I thought it was the perfect timing and perfect spot. We’re on our way to the Derby.”
Two Phil’s rewarded his backers with mutuel payouts of $7.64, $3.90 and $2.92. Major Dude with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle returned $3.28 and $2.56. Funtastic Again paid $3.96.
Rivelli reported Two Phil’s will now head back to Hawthorne Park and ship to Louisville about three-weeks out of the Kentucky Derby. The talented 3-year-old boosts a lifetime record of 8-4-1-1 with purse earnings of $683,450.
Wadsworth crossed the wire fourth followed by Maker’s Candy, Congruent, Baby Billy, Escapologist, Bluebirds Over and Point Proven.
Two Phil’s is by Hard Spun out of the General Quarters mare Mia Torri. He was bred in Kentucky by co-owner Phil Sagan.
Jeff Ruby Steaks Quotes
Jareth Loveberry, jockey, Two Phil’s (winner): “Three weeks ago I suffered a hairline fracture in my left fibula but I’m pretty high on life right now and don’t feel that too much. Two Phil’s has seemed to get better each week this winter at Fair Grounds. Last time he had a beatiful trip, but he seems to do his best running while behind horses. I think h’es getting better with each start. He ran well in the Lecomte but I thought he was even better in the Risen Star. It’s just very exciting to be partnered with a horse like this and a team that’s supported me.”
Larry Rivelli, trainer, Two Phil’s (winner): “The original plan probably wasn’t to run in this spot. I was just looking for the best route to get Two Phil’s to the Kentucky Derby. With this race on the calendar I thought it was the perfect timing and perfect spot. We’re on our way to the Derby.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey, Major Dude (runner-up): “I was just second best to the winner today. I sat a great trip and was in a perfect spot. The winner outkicked us going for home.”