One of the top races this weekend is the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. The event is a Kentucky Derby qualifier offering points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers.

This year’s edition is set to feature a battle between top contenders Gretzky the Great and Hush of a Storm.

Hush of a Storm

Hush of a Storm, owned by Joseph P. Morey Jr. Revocable Trust, has his sights set on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). He now has a viable path to the starting gate, especially with the Jeff Ruby, which last year only offered points on a 20-8-4-2 scale.

The 3-year-old Creative Cause colt has consistently performed well at Turfway, and he is coming off three consecutive victories at the track. Last time out, he rallied from eighth to win the Feb. 26 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes to bring in 10 Derby qualifying points.

If he can put forth a good effort in the Jeff Ruby Steaks, it could mean trainer Billy Morey’s first attempt at the Kentucky Derby.

“It’s hard not to think about it when you have a horse like this,” Morey said. “We know there are a lot of talented horses ahead of us on the points board right now, but it’s something we’ll definitely consider if he runs well.”

Gretzky the Great

One name who could end Hush of a Storm’s Derby aspirations in the Jeff Ruby Steaks is Gretzky the Great, winner of the $250,000 Summer Stakes (G1) on Sept. 20. The Nyquist colt trained by Mark Casse, one of the leading names on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby, was the even-money favorite last time out in the Battaglia Memorial.

In that outing, he was pressured for one mile by the eventual winner Hush of a Storm. Gretzky the Great will look to bounce back by swapping the finishing positions this time out.

Other Jeff Ruby Steaks challengers

This is a talented field, so there could be many challenges. SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Golconda Stable, Siena Farm, and Robert Masterson’s Tarantino is the favorite in the Jeff Ruby Steaks for good reason.

Trained by Rodolphe Brisset after leaving Hall of Famer Bob Baffert’s barn, the 3-year-old Pioneer of The Nile colt is coming off a fourth-place run in the Feb. 27 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream. In that race, he was beaten 5 1/4 lengths by Greatest Honour.

He was also the runner-up finisher in the Holy Bull (G3). He finished second in the Zuma Beach at Santa Anita Park last year.

The entire field listed in the post position for the Jeff Ruby Steaks includes Life the King, Hush of a Storm, King’s Ovation, Awesome Gerry, Sainthood, Smiley Sobotka, Tarantino, Moonlite Strike, Hard Rye Guy, Gretzky the Great, Dyn O Mite, and Hockey Dad.

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