HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018) – Sandra Sexton and Brandi Nicholson’s Red Ruby set herself up as a filly to watch along the Kentucky Oaks trail when she drew off to win the $125,000 Martha Washington by 2 ½ lengths in her 3-year-old debut. In the process, she earned 10 points towards eligibility in the Oaks May 4.
With jockey Robby Albarado in the irons, Red Ruby was fourth of five as the well-bunched field was led by Secret Passion through early fractions of :23.77 and 47.87 for the first half mile. After having to steady slightly near the seven-eighth pole, the winner began her rally on the far turn and came three wide into the stretch before drawing well clear of her four rivals. Her final time for one mile on a sloppy track was 1:39.67.
Sassy Sienna was second and was followed by Cosmic Burst, 2-1 favorite Tyfosha and Secret Passion. Grats Road was scratched. The second through fourth-place finishers earned four points, two points and one point, respectively, toward Kentucky Oaks eligibility.
Red Ruby, a homebred by Tiznow, improved her record to two wins from three starts and has now earned $123,000. She returned $7, $3.60 and $2.60 as the 5-2 co-second choice.
Live racing returns Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. first post.
Winning trainer Kellyn Gorder (Red Ruby) – “She’s trained on an off track here in the last month and she handled that beautifully, so I wasn't concerned at all. It (Martha Washington) was our plan all along. We had an option to go in an allowance race earlier in the meet and she was training too well, so I decided, ‘Let's go to the stake.’”
Gorder said Red Ruby will be considered for the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 10. “That's kind of the most logical spot, I think. We know she likes this racetrack and we're here.”
Winning jockey Robby Albarado (Red Ruby) – “It was great, beautiful trip. She put me where I needed to be the entire race. She is so special. She put a lot of confidence in me from day one. She kind of validated who I thought she was. Kellyn did a great job getting her ready after this lay off. She was a little keen today, but I think it was part of the layoff. I mean when she took off, she took off.”
Jockey Gary Stevens (second on Sassy Sienna) – “She handled the track well, did everything right. The winner’s a nice filly and did better on the day and my filly should improve on the day. No excuses she ran well.”