A convincing scorer in the Feb. 14 John Battaglia Memorial S., Invader will seek his third straight win on the local Polytrack when he lines up for Saturday’s $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. The 1 1/8-mile race is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, awarding points on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the top four finishers, and produced 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
Invader will break from post 11 in the 12-horse field. After making his first four starts on turf, the son of War Front broke his maiden by a 12-length margin at Turfway in early December. He followed with a 6 1/4-length tally in the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia Memorial, winning both in front-running fashion, and earned a field-best 95 Brisnet Speed rating in the latter. Albin Jimenez retains the mount for Wesley Ward, and Invader shows a pair of 5-furlong bullet workouts in preparation.
Field Pass, who received the far outside post, will compete for favoritism following his upset win in the Feb. 1 Dania Beach S. on Gulfstream’s turf. Reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will pick up the mount on the gray son of Lemon Drop Kid, and Field Pass is one of three in the field for Mike Maker.
Fancy Liquor ships in after capturing his career debut at Gulfstream on Feb. 2, leading wire-to-wire in a one-mile turf maiden affair, and Florent Geroux picks up the mount on the son of Lookin at Lucky. Victory Boulevard, who was last seen winning an optional claiming event on Aqueduct’s main track, completes the Maker trio.
Halo Again won his first two starts, including the Coronation Futurity on Woodbine’s synthetic oval, before recording an unplaced finish in the Jan. 18 Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds. Rafael Hernandez, who was up at Woodbine, retakes the mount for Steve Asmussen. The Hall of Fame trainer will also be represented by multiple stakes-placed Toma Todo, who switches from the Maker barn after recording a non-threatening third in the Battaglia Memorial.
Myamanoi merits respect after a fast-finishing fourth, beaten less than a length, in the Dania Beach. Danny Gargan trains the Temple City colt, and Myamanoi has registered Brisnet Late Pace ratings as high as 101. Kendrick Carmouche will be in to ride the convincing turf maiden winner.
Finnick the Fierce, a rallying second at 87-1 in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), will try to turn things around following a pair of unplaced efforts in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) second division. Sonny Leon will be guide the chestnut gelding for Rey Hernandez. Other runners of interest include The Stiff, who travels from California for Michael McCarty after a fifth in the El Camino Real Derby (G3); and last-out Fair Grounds maiden winner Dack Janiel’s.