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Harlan's Ruby returns a winner in Valdale
Shawnee Racing Stable's HARLAN'S RUBY (Harlan's Holiday) returned from a four-month layoff to win Saturday night's $50,000 Valdale S. at Turfway Park, setting her up for a run at the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on March 26. Veteran rider Perry Ouzts was in the irons for trainer Ken McPeek.
"(The Bourbonette) has been our plan, if we were successful here," assistant trainer Michael Kleier said. "She has a lot of class and she's been in Florida training very forwardly, and she's had a lot of experience going long. We wanted to get a race on this track and feel confident about winning.
"Perry had his plan when he came out of the room and I thought, 'Well, we're not going to change the plan of a 5,000-win rider.'"
With the exception of her break from the outside post, Harlan's Ruby raced according to plan.
"My only concern was whether she'd flatten out coming off the layoff," Ouzts said. "I told them I hoped she'd break good and lay close and then pass them when I needed her to -- and that's what she did.
"The 8 horse (Angelica Zapata [Sharp Humor]) hit her sideways coming out of the gate, but after that I got her up on her feet, got her into position down the backside. She grabbed the bridle really good, and put me in a perfect position."
Harlan's Ruby was 1 1/2 lengths clear on the wire while stopping the clock in 1:40 1/5 for going a mile on the Polytrack. Runner-up in last year's Alcibiades S. (G1), the bay filly earned her first stakes win in this spot while boosting her career mark to 7-2-1-0, $145,639.