Hard Spun's Two Phil's Dominates Jeff Ruby

Two Phil's | Coady

A few days prior to Saturday's GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park, Larry Rivelli, the trainer of Two Phil's (c, 3, Hard Spun–Mia Torri, by General Quarters), had said, “I've been trying to think of the easiest spot for the money and I think this will be the spot. If he absolutely hates the surface, that's on me. I'm sort of putting myself out there saying that I think he will run well over it.”

He didn't hate the surface.

Patricia's Hope LLC and Phillip Sagan's Two Phil's powered to a 5 1/4-length victory in the $700,000 Jeff Ruby and now sits atop the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard with 123. The Jeff Ruby currently allots Derby points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale. Last year's Derby winner, Rich Strike (Keen Ice), was third in the Jeff Ruby. Rivelli indicated Two Phil's would also be pointed to Louisville.

Funtastic Again (Funtastic) set all the pace in the Jeff Ruby, with 8-5 Major Dude (Bolt d'Oro) covered up on the rail in fourth as fractions clicked by in :23.49 and :47.84. Two Phil's was clear on the outside but a few lengths in arrears as the pace quickened, then emerged from the fray, matching strides with Major Dude as the two attempted to reel in the frontrunner. The battle looked to be joined between the trio, but Two Phil's quickly thumbed his nose at the other two and simply sailed on by to win by 5 1/4 lengths in a powerful performance. Major Dude and Funtastic Again finished second and third, respectively.

“The original plan probably wasn't to run in this spot,” confessed Rivelli after the race. “I was just looking for the best route to get Two Phil's to the Kentucky Derby. With this race on the calendar I thought it was the perfect timing and perfect spot. We're on our way to the Derby.”

Winning jockey Jareth Loveberry had more to add: “Three weeks ago I suffered a hairline fracture in my left fibula but I'm pretty high on life right now and don't feel that too much. Two Phil's has seemed to get better each week this winter at Fair Grounds. Last time he had a beautiful trip but he seems to do his best running while behind horses. I think he's getting better with each start. He ran well in the Lecomte but I thought he was even better in the Risen Star. It's just very exciting to be partnered with a horse like this and a team that's supported me.”

Two Phil's was 5-2 in this first start on Tapeta after making all his previous starts on dirt. He had debuted off the board last June at Churchill, but came right back a month later to break his maiden by daylight at Colonial Downs going six furlongs in 1:09.79. His first stakes win was a 9 3/4-length blowout in the Shakopee Juvenile S. at Canterbury in September prior to an off-the-board finish when trying deeper waters behind eventual champion Forte (Violence) in the GI Claiborne Breeders Futurity at Keeneland in October. Just three weeks later Two Phil's regrouped going the identical 1 1/16-mile distance of the Futurity in the GIII Street Sense S. at Churchill in the slop, resulting in a powerhouse 5 1/4-length score. A three-month freshening netted a second to Instant Coffee (Bolt d'Oro) in the GIII Lecomte S. and a third to Angel of Empire (Classic Empire) in the GII Risen Star S., both at Fair Grounds prior to shipping to Kentucky for the Jeff Ruby.

Co-owner Sagan also bred Two Phil's, who was a $150,000 RNA at Keeneland September in 2021.

Pedigree Notes:

Two Phil's is following in his sire's footsteps, winning the Jeff Ruby on his way to the GI Kentucky Derby. Hard Spun won the same race in 2007–when it was called the Lane's End S.–en route to a second in Louisville and has since turned into a stellar sire, with 97 black-type winners worldwide to his credit. The Darley sire also has one U.S. champion and 47 graded/group winners with a healthy number of those at the highest level.

Broodmare sire General Quarters currently stands in Turkey and counts three stakes winners out of his daughters. Mia Torri is one of five black-type winners by the Sky Mesa stallion and Two Phil's is her first foal. She has a 2-year-old Omaha Beach colt who was a $32,000 RNA at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's October yearling sale last year. The mare also has a yearling McKinzie colt and was bred back to Omaha Beach for this spring.

Saturday, Turfway Park
JEFF RUBY STEAKS-GIII, $694,000, Turfway, 3-25, 3yo, 1 1/8m
(AWT), 1:49.03, ft.
1–TWO PHIL'S, 123, c, 3, by Hard Spun
          1st Dam: Mia Torri (MSW & MGSP, $314,720), by General
          2nd Dam: Flip the Stone, by Birdstone
          3rd Dam: Flippy Diane, by Aaron's Concorde
($150,000 RNA Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Patricia's Hope LLC and
Phillip Sagan; B-Phillip Sagan (KY); T-Larry Rivelli; J-Jareth
Loveberry. $408,000. Lifetime Record: GSW & MGSP, 8-4-1-1,
$683,450. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report &
5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com
catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Major Dude, 123, c, 3, Bolt d'Oro–Mary Rita, by Distorted
Humor. ($550,000 Ylg '21 FTSAUG). O-Spendthrift Farm LLC;
B-Clearsky Farms (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $136,000.
3–Funtastic Again, 123, c, 3, Funtastic–Repeta, by Broken Vow.
1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($60,000 Wlg '20 KEENOV). O-Three
Chimneys Farm; B-BHMFR, LLC (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward.
Margins: 5 1/4, 2 1/4, 3. Odds: 2.82, 1.76, 5.73.
Also Ran: Wadsworth, Maker's Candy, Congruent, Baby Billy,
Escapologist, Bluebirds Over, Point Proven.
Scratched: Event Detail, Scoobie Quando.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs.
VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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