Invader will look to stake his claim for a spot in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) in Saturday’s $250,000 Jeff Ruby S. (G3) at Turfway Park. The winner will receive 20 points towards the Road to the Derby challenge.
Invader, who races for Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables LLC and LNJ Foxwoods, won the John Battaglia, the local prep, by an eye-catching half-dozen lengths last month and is undefeated in his two starts at Turfway.
Trained by Wesley Ward, the 3-year-old son of War Front has worked very well at Turfway of late, turning in a pair of bullet five-furlong moves in the past week.
Invader drew post 11 in the 12-horse field and will likely use his speed to be on or near the lead in the 1 1/8-mile Jeff Ruby.
“I like the post,” Ward said after the draw. “He won his last race (the Battaglia) towards the outside. He has good natural speed, so he can break from out there and get good position. It beats being on the inside, so it’s good to be out there.”
Ward also commented on the colt’s maturity.
“He’s doing great,” said Ward. “All his workouts since his last race have been fantastic. I’ve always had a good feeling about him. It’s taken him a while to figure it out, but he couldn’t be doing better right now. He just keeps improving with timing. He’s a beauty, He’s very shiny right now, glistening. Of course, he cost a lot of money ($500,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland), so we figured he could be a really nice horse, but mentally he’s coming around. We’re keeping the same rider, the leader rider (at Turfway, Albin Jimenez). Horses for courses, jockeys for courses.”
Saturday’s Jeff Ruby is race 11 on the card and runs at 6:42 p.m. ET.