Magicalmeister faces 11 in Jeff Ruby Steaks

Mar 14, 2018 Jennifer Caldwell/

Magicalmeister upset Turfway Park’s John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at 39-1 on February 23, and  Saturday returns to the all-weather Poltytrack at that venue for the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) going nine furlongs.

FREE Past Performances for the Jeff Ruby Steaks

The race, formerly known as the Spiral Stakes, is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, but only offers 20-8-4-1 points to the respective top four runners.

Magicalmeister wasn’t given much of a shot in the Battaglia as the second longest shot on the board, but ran like a favorite to score by a half-length under returning jockey John McKee. The James Chapman pupil broke his maiden by 9 3/4 lengths over the dirt at Mahoning Valley in his January 9 debut. He next ran third against allowance/optional claiming rivals going a mile on Turfway’s Polytrack February 10 before wheeling back 13 days later to take his stakes bow in the Battaglia.

Magicalmeister isn’t receiving a lot of respect off his Battaglia upset and was assigned 12-1 morning-line odds for the Jeff Ruby Steaks.

WATCH and READ: Magicalmeister's race call by Mike Battaglia from the annoucers booth AND how the Spiral came to be a Kentucky Derby prep race.

Hazit shares 5-1 morning-line favoritism with Ride a Comet in this spot. The bay sophomore, trained by Todd Pletcher, is looking for his second win after breaking his maiden at Saratoga last August. Following a pair of unplaced efforts in the Champagne Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last fall, the War Front colt finished second in his sophomore bow at Tampa Bay Downs against allowance/optional claiming rivals on February 18. Drayden Van Dyke has the call.

Ride a Comet will try to make it three in a row on Saturday after taking his last two for trainer Mark Casse. The Candy Ride colt broke his maiden in his fourth try in an off-the-turf Fair Grounds contest before taking an allowance/optional claimer on that venue’s turf in early January. Gabriel Saez was aboard for both those efforts and holds the reins Saturday.

Trainer Doug O’Neill is shipping Blended Citizen outside of California for this one. The Proud Citizen colt took five tries to break his maiden, finally getting the job done over the turf at Del Mar in November. He ran fourth in the Eddie Logan Stakes on Santa Anita Park’s green before switching to Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic Tapeta for a third-placing in the El Camino Real Derby last out on February 17. Kyle Frey was aboard that day and retains the mount.

Mugaritz seeks his first stakes win in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. The Jonathan Wong-trained gelding wired a maiden claimer by six lengths for his first victory and went gate-to-wire once again next out in an allowance/optional claimer. The dark bay son of Dialed In ran second while making his stakes bow in the California Derby two back and enters this spot off a fourth-placing in the nine-furlong El Camino Real Derby. All four of those efforts came over Golden Gate’s Tapeta, and Mugartiz gets a new rider in Nik Juarez on Saturday.

Like Magicalmeister, neither Sky Promise nor Arawak received any credit for placing in the Battaglia Memorial.

Sky Promise rallied from last for a runner-up effort while trying an all-weather track for the first time in the Battaglia. The Kenny McPeek charge ran on dirt in his initial two races before switching to turf in his next seven contests. Jack Gilligan was in the irons for the Sky Mesa colt’s last pair and holds the reins on the 12-1 morning-line shot here. Arawak was another 2 1/4 lengths behind Sky Promise in the Battaglia and drew a 15-1 morning line for the Jeff Ruby Steaks. The well-traveled Wesley Ward trainee gets Julio Garcia back in the saddle.

Cash Call Kitten brings an unbeaten two-for-two mark into the Jeff Ruby Steaks, with both coming over the turf at Gulfstream Park. The Mike Maker pupil stretches out past a mile this go around and receives the services of Tyler Gaffalione for the first time.

Trainer Michael Dickinson sends Archaggelos out for his sophomore bow here after the Temple City colt closed his juvenile campaign with a fourth-placing in the Display Stakes at Woodbine. The bay broke his maiden over Laurel Park’s turf last September before shipping to Woodbine for a win in the Grey Stakes (Can-G3) on the Tapeta. Rafael Hernandez was aboard both those times and sits in the saddle here.

Zanesville exits a 7 1/2-length victory in an allowance at Delta Downs for trainer Tom Amoss. The Tiznow bay makes his stakes bow in this spot with Malcolm Franklin aboard. Dreamer’s Point also tries stakes rivals for the first time following a fourth-placing against allowance/optional claiming rivals at Tampa Bay Downs on February 15. That was the Ian Wilkes pupil’s sophomore debut and his worst finish to date after racking up a 4-1-1-2 record over Kentucky tracks in 2017. Chris Landeros keeps the mount.

Pony Up looks to rebound off a well-beaten fifth in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on February 5. The Pletcher charge hadn’t finished worse than second in his three prior effort on both dirt and turf, including a pair of stakes at Gulfstream. Albin Jimenez pilots the Aikenite chestnut on Saturday.

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