While Tiz the Bomb justified 8-5 favoritism in Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby at Turfway Park, the companion Bourbonette Oaks witnessed a massive upset as Candy Raid paid $106.60.
Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3)
Tiz the Bomb rumbled to 100 Kentucky Derby (G1) points, but trainer Ken McPeek now has a decision to make. Having expressed his interest in trying the English classics with a colt whose turf and synthetic form far surpasses his dirt record, McPeek has transatlantic Derby options. He could ship for the 2000 Guineas (G1) on Apr. 30 at Newmarket, or use his points at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, and still advance to Epsom.
Campaigned by Magdalena Racing, lessee, Tiz the Bomb was moving forward from a less convincing score in the March 5 John Battaglia Memorial on this Tapeta surface. The son of Hit It a Bomb had proven his class on turf last season, capturing the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile and Bourbon (G2) en route to a second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Tiz the Bomb flaunted that level of performance in the Jeff Ruby. Well handled by Brian Hernandez, the bay raced in sixth early, in easy striking range of pacesetting Dowagiac Chief through splits of :23.25, :47.06, and 1:11.38. Tiz the Bomb revved up on the far turn and asserted in short order by 2 1/4 lengths. His time for 1 1/8 miles, a sharp 1:48.60, was a tick or so away from Ball Four’s 1:48.29 course mark on the old Polytrack in 2006.
With 10 points from the Battaglia, Tiz the Bomb now has 110 in his account. Tawny Port was best of the rest to pick up 40 points. Rich Strike rallied for third, earning 20 points to enhance his tally to 21. Dowagiac Chief held fourth, worth 10 points, but he’s not Triple Crown-nominated.
Royal Spirit, Cabo Spirit, Stolen Base, Red Run, Constitutionlawyer, Swing Shift, and Great Escape concluded the order of finish. Optigogo was pulled up and vanned off. Blackadder was scratched in favor of next Saturday’s Blue Grass (G1).
Bred by Spendthrift Farm, which also produced Saturday’s Florida Derby (G1) star White Abarrio, Tiz the Bomb brought $330,000 as a Fasig-Tipton yearling. McPeek purchased him as an agent, and the colt initially raced for Phoenix Thoroughbred. McPeek’s Magdalena Racing has leased him ever since the British venture was floated early this year, since Phoenix is suspended by the British Horseracing Authority. His Jeff Ruby triumph made him a millionaire with $1,044,401 in earnings from an 8-5-1-0 record.
Although Tiz the Bomb broke his maiden in an off-the-turf romp at Ellis Park, his other dirt starts resulted in his only unplaced efforts, notably the Feb. 5 Holy Bull (G3). Yet there could be some dirt influence from his dam, the Tiznow mare Tiz the Key.
Overlooked at 52.30-1 after an eighth in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds, Candy Raid relished her first opportunity on a synthetic surface in the $250,000 Bourbonette Oaks. The Keith Desormeaux trainee swept from last to romp by 4 1/2 lengths and banked 50 points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Candy Raid was one of four Oaks nominees in the 1 1/16-mile event, the most prominent being 8-5 favorite Sandstone. But Sandstone never got involved in a lackluster seventh, and outsiders dominated the finish.
A contentious pace unfolded as frontrunner Let’s Be Clear was pressed by Schlofmitz through fractions of :23.69, :47.59, and 1:11.75. Schlofmitz prevailed in the pace battle but lost the war in the stretch.
Candy Raid made her looping move with Rafael Bejarano. Drawing off to finish 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.96, the daughter of Candy Ride wasn’t far off Cyber Secret’s track record of 1:42.26, set on the former synthetic surface in 2013.
A scramble for the minors ensued in her wake. Tap Dancing Lady and Catiche dead-heated for the runner-up spot. As a result, they would split the points for second (20) and third (10), each receiving 15 points – if they’re made eligible for the Oaks. Tap Dancing Lady had two points already, so she has 17 in escrow. North County reported home fourth, good for five points, and increasing her total to 15.
Mrs. Barbara, who had been in contention much of the way, retreated to fifth. Schlofmitz tired to sixth, followed by Sandstone, the wide-trip Vergara, Heavenly Hellos, Let’s Be Clear, Red Hot Mama, and Champagne Poetry.
Co-owned by Don’t Tell My Wife Stable and Desormeaux, Candy Raid improved her scorecard to 10-3-0-0, $191,400. Her other scores came in a $30,000 maiden claimer at Ellis Park and a Delta Downs allowance. She was fourth in her stakes debut in the Silverbulletday S. at Fair Grounds, picking up five points, and her Bourbonette breakthrough gives her an overall tally of 55.
Candy Raid was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings in Kentucky and sold for $35,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. The dark bay is a half-sister to Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Last Samurai, both out of Grade 2-placed stakes victress Lady Samuri, by First Samurai.