Red Ruby scores knockout in Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

Red Ruby07.5-18-18.BL_BALTIMORE – Approaching the top of the sloppy Pimlico stretch in Friday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, Red Ruby moved on even terms with the pacesetting Coach Rocks.

Red Ruby, ridden by Paco Lopez, wins the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
Paco Lopez, aboard Red Ruby, looked behind him three times – once under his right arm, then under his left, and back again under his right. In the grandstand, Kellyn Gorder, the trainer of Red Ruby, began getting excited.

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“That’s when I started jumping up and down,” Gorder said. “I thought he had her then.”

Gorder had every reason to stay excited as Red Ruby ran away from Coach Rocks and seven other 3-year-old fillies to win the Black-Eyed Susan by 4 3/4 lengths. Coach Rocks, who set the pace under Luis Saez, finished second by five lengths over Indy Union, who rallied from last to be third.

Sara Street, the favorite by $2,744 over Red Ruby, finished fourth and was followed by Goodonehoney, Stakes On a Plane, Tell Your Mama, Mihrab, and C. S. Incharge, who was eased. Midnight Disguise was scratched due to a bruised foot.

The win was the third in five starts for Red Ruby, a gray daughter of Tiznow owned by Sandra Sexton, Brandi Nicholson, and Steven Nicholson. Red Ruby won the Martha Washington Stakes in the slop at Oaklawn in February.

Things had soured for Red Ruby since then, as she acted up prior to the Grade 3 Honeybee and finished fourth. She then sustained some cuts in a shed-row accident that forced her to miss the Fantasy Stakes in April and the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago.

Red Ruby had trained well since then, according to Gorder, who uncharacteristically took the filly to the track Friday morning to gallop. “Trying to keep her energy level down,” he said.

In the Black-Eyed Susan, Red Ruby broke alertly and was two lengths behind Coach Rocks after an opening quarter in 23.28 seconds. She moved within a half-length after a half-mile in 47.95 and six furlongs in 1:12.78. Lopez, sitting on a powder keg, let her go turning for home.

“I waited for her until the three-eighths pole, I looked, and no one was coming,” Lopez said. “I said, ‘I got to go,’ and she finished very well today.”

Red Ruby, who did veer in at the eighth pole, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.17 and returned $7.80 as the second choice.

“She left me speechless, the way she rebroke at the top of the lane,” Gorder said. “She was impressive.”

Gorder said his major objective for the summer is the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 18.

Dale Romans, the trainer of Coach Rocks, said his filly was simply second-best Friday.

“I think we just got outrun,” he said. “That’s a really good filly that won it. [Robby] Albarado has been singing her praises since he broke her maiden. No telling how good she really is.”