By Byron King
The name of Turfway Park’s signature stakes race has changed over the years, ranging from the Lane’s End to the Spiral to the current Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), but one constant has remained during the track’s synthetic era: a high success rate for trainer Mike Maker.
The leading trainer at Turfway on 22 occasions, Maker won the race for the sixth time March 14 when Field Pass rallied from a stalking position to defeat favored Invader, trained by Wesley Ward, by a neck. Fancy Liquor, another Maker trainee, was two lengths back in third.
It was Maker’s second consecutive victory in the Jeff Ruby after Somelikeithotbrown last year, and his fourth from the last five runnings. His six wins date back to 2006, the first year the race was not run on dirt.
“When I asked him, it took some time to get going,” Ortiz said of Field Pass. “It wasn’t easy to catch him (Invader), but he got the job done.”