by Pimlico Press Release
May 19, 2018
BALTIMORE – Red Ruby took to the wet going at legendary Pimlico Race Course with gusto on Friday, taking command leaving the quarter pole and pulling clear to a 4 ¾-length victory over Coach Rocks in the 94th running the $250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
The 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies was the centerpiece of Friday’s spectacular stakes-filled 14-race program that served as a fitting prelude to Saturday’s 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1).
With jockey Paco Lopez aboard for the first time, the gray Tiznow filly settled in second and tracked Coach Rocks through early fractions of 23.28 seconds, 47.95 and 1:12.78 over a sloppy and sealed main track. Given her cue on the turn, Red Ruby drew alongside the pacesetter and grabbed the lead as the field of nine swung into the stretch.
With the mile going in 1:37.54, Red Ruby completed the distance in 1:50.17, the fastest running of the historic race since champion Royal Delta won in 1:49.60 in 2011.
“They told me to come from a little behind, not too close, but she broke very good,” said Lopez. “I put her second and she was very comfortable. I waited for her until the three-eighths, I looked and no one was coming. I said, ‘I got to go,’ and she finished very well today.
“I knew I had that much horse and I was waiting for somebody to show up, but they never showed up, so I let her go,” he added.
It was the first graded-stakes victory for Red Ruby ($7.80), who opened her sophomore campaign with a victory in a sloppy edition of the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park but then finished fourth as the prohibitive favorite in the Honeybee (G3) on March 10.
“We knew she liked the off going,” said Kellyn Gorder, who trains Red Ruby for Sandra Sexton, Brandi Nicholson and Steven Nicholson. “In the Honeybee she got really hot in the post parade, so I trained her this morning. That’s just about the only thing I did different.
“She broke really well. Paco had her really relaxed out there on the outside. When he started looking around where everyone else was, I was confident,” he added. “I’ve had good luck with Paco and he’s kind of got that style that would fit her. He takes that long hold and just raises his hands up their neck and I figured she might like that.”
Red Ruby extended her record to 3-1-0 from five starts, and more than doubled her bankroll to $283,000 with the winner's purse of $150,000.
Gorder and Dale Romans, trainer of runner-up Coach Rocks, both indicated their charges would be going to the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga Race Course this summer.
“I thought Coach Rocks ran super,” said Romans. “She's just going to get better. That’s a good filly that beat us, but we’ll fight another day.”
Indy Union was five lengths behind Coach Rocks in third, with favored Sara Street another 4 3/4 lengths back in fourth.
Goodonehoney, who had been undefeated in two starts, was pinched back at the start and checked in fifth, followed by Stakes On a Plane, Tell Your Mama, Mihrab, and C.S. Incharge, who was eased and walked off the track.
Two-time stakes winner Midnight Disguise, second choice on the morning line, was scratched with a bruised foot.
$250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Quotes
Kellyn Gorder (Winning Trainer, Red Ruby) – “We knew she liked the off going. In the Honeybee she got really hot in the post parade, so I trained her this morning. That's just about the only thing I did different. Normally, I don't do that; it depends on the horse. I just took her out there and jogged her right off the straight the right way and let her slow gallop around the backside and the turn and let her go through her gears, up to third gear, and shut her down. I think that might have helped her. She was really good in the paddock. She was kind of pushing the pony around and was a little nervous but then she would walk a little while and settle.
“She broke really well. (Jockey) Paco (Lopez) had her really relaxed out there on the outside. When he started looking around where everyone else was, I was confident. I've had good luck with Paco and he's kind of got that style that would fit her. He takes that long hold and just raises his hands up their neck and I figured she might like that.”
“The ultimate goal would be the Alabama. How we get there, I'm not sure.”
Paco Lopez (Winning Jockey, Red Ruby) – “They told me to come from a little behind, not too close, but she broke very good. I put her second and she was very comfortable. I waited for her until the three-eighths, I looked and no one was coming. I said, ‘I got to go,’ and she finished very well today.”
“I knew I had that much horse and I was waiting for somebody to show up, but they never showed up, so I let her go.”
Dale Romans (Trainer, Coach Rocks, 2nd) – “I thought Coach Rocks ran super. She ran a good race. She’s just going to get better and better and we’ll head to the Alabama (at Saratoga) next probably. That’s a good filly that beat us, but we’ll fight another day. I was real happy with her.
“She redeemed herself for the last race [seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks]. I knew she was better than that. She had a few little issues, but nothing major. She came back today and redeemed herself.”
Luis Saez (Jockey, Coach Rocks, 2nd) – “She ran pretty nice. The winner was tough. I was there, very comfortable. Right there, but when I tried to get some momentum, the winner was gone.”
Jose Ortiz (Jockey, Indy Union, 3rd) – “She ran pretty well. She closed from last and ran her eyeballs out to get third. The two fillies in front of me were clearly the best in the race.”
Dylan Davis (Jockey, Sara Street, 4th) – “It was the surface for her. She hadn’t been on this before and that was the question coming in. I thought she’d go OK, but today she just had some trouble.”