03/14/2013 11:57AM

Fonner: Spice Swirl seeks repeat in Orphan Kist


Spice Swirl returns as the defending champion as a field of seven older Nebraska-bred fillies and mares meet going six furlongs in the $25,000 Orphan Kist Stakes on Saturday at Fonner Park.

Spice Swirl collected a trio of stakes wins last year in this competitive division. She also won the Matchmaker Stakes at Lincoln Race Course and the Columbus Maturity/Matron from her nine starts a year ago, earning $44,395 in the process. She will again be facing her stablemate and younger sister Sookie’s Kookies here for trainer Brian Roberts. Spice Swirl opened her campaign with a non-threatening fifth in the half-mile Bold Accent Stakes on March 2 but should benefit from a race under her belt.

Sookie’s Kookies’s lone stakes score last year came in the Runza Stakes locally going six furlongs. Like her entrymate, she also has a race under her when third against third-level optional $10,000 claiming company going a half-mile on opening weekend and should be ready for a top effort. Spice Swirl and Sookie’s Kookies will go as an uncoupled entry for owner Shady Bend Thoroughbreds.

T Jays Affair has been in training at Oaklawn Park this year and ships in to rejoin trainer Larry Donlin’s barn for her seasonal debut. Last year T Jays Affair defeated most of these rivals in the Falls Amiss Handicap going a mile at Horsemen’s Park for her lone stakes score. She has been competitive in this division and it would be no surprise to see her get the win in this spot.

Trainer Jim Cranwell will also send out a same owner entry that will be uncoupled in the wagering with Precious Affair and Classy Affair. Both 4-year-olds have good half-mile races under them this year with Classy Affair getting a second-level allowance win March 8 while Precious affair was a close up fourth against entry-level allowance company March 3.