08/30/2012 1:02PM

Columbus: Spice Swirl tests open company in Bill Callihan


Spice Swirl moves into open company as she seeks a second straight stakes win and her fourth victory of the season when she heads a field of 10 older fillies and mares going 6 1/2 furlongs in the $10,000 Bill Callihan Stakes on Saturday night at Columbus.

Spice Swirl, a 5-year-old, comes into the race off a strong 3 3/4-length win over Nebraska-bred rivals in the Maturity/Matron Stakes here on Aug. 17. She will be facing several of the same rivals from that race, plus some newcomers that could compromise her front-running style. Trainer Brian Roberts will also send out Spice Swirl’s 4-year-old sister, Sookie’s Kookies. Both horses are owned by Roger and Barb Luebbe’s Shady Bend Thoroughbreds.

The main threat to Spice Swirl’s speed comes from Light Sweet Crude, who has been competitive at the $5,000 and $10,000 claiming levels this year. Also expected to show a good deal of speed in here is Indian Star, a winner of three straight races against maiden and allowance company. In addition, Sorta Special invades from Colorado off a front-running win going 1 1/16 miles in the Spicy Stakes at Arapahoe Park.
With the abundance of speed, closers T Jays Affair and C O Barqueen are the most likely to benefit.

T Jays Affair, trained by Doug Anderson, has been a regular opponent of Spice Swirl this year and they have taken turns beating each other. T Jays Affair captured the Falls Amiss Handicap against statebreds at Horsemen’s Park before failing to mount a rally in the Maturity/Matron last time out.
C O Barqueen, trained by Jim Compton, has won four races this year against mostly $10,000 optional claiming company. In her last start, she was a fast-closing second to Light Sweet Crude in a six-furlong starter allowance on Aug. 17.