04/16/2012 12:39PM

Keeneland: Spinning Move an emerging presence

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – They should all come back this good. A gelding named Spinning Move was unable to win so much as a maiden race as a 3-year-old, but after being away from the races for more than 16 months, he has returned with a vengeance for trainer Neil Howard, winning 2 of 3 starts and threatening to become a force in the turf-sprint niche for older horses.

Spinning Move could take a notable step up that class ladder Wednesday when Keeneland presents a $58,000, second-level allowance as the featured eighth of nine races. With Julien Leparoux to ride, Spinning Move drew the favorable outside post in a well-matched field of 12 set to clash at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

“That post is probably good for us,” said Howard, a recent returnee to Kentucky from the four-month meet at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. “That way Julien can break and get position and hopefully not have any trouble getting the horse to run his race.”

Spinning Move, a 5-year-old by Belong to Me out of Tight Spin, went winless in three starts at 3 before incurring what Howard described as a minor soft-tissue injury. “Those are things that take a long time to come back from, if you’re going to give them the time they really need,” he said. “I think he’s a really nice horse, and he responded real well. His mother was real strong in these kinds of races, so we’re hoping he’ll keep this up.”

Spinning Move won a maiden claiming race in mid-January at Fair Grounds in his return “when we were trying to be a little generous with him,” said Howard. He proceeded to run second, then win, in back-to-back first-level allowances. In taking the requisite raise in conditions Wednesday on a rare stakes-less card at Keeneland, he looks as good as any in what should prove an excellent betting race.

Other logical contenders in the feature include Upsell (post 1, E.T. Baird), a gray Chicago shipper with a 7-for-19 record; Stormy Rush (post 3, Garrett Gomez), stakes-placed earlier in his career for Roger Attfield; and Heir Joe (post 5, Robby Albarado), a consistent sort knocking on the door at this level.

Also on tap for Wednesday are a starter-allowance (race 2) at the seldom-run distance of 1 1/4 miles on the Polytrack, and a maiden special-weight turf route (race 6). All the others are claiming events. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

◗ The Keeneland stakes schedule resumes Thursday with the Grade 3, $100,000 Appalachian Stakes, a one-mile turf race that drew nine 3-year-old fillies, with Dayatthespa and Somali Lemonade the likely favorites.

The last full weekend of racing at this 15-day meet will bring the Grade 3, $100,000 Doubledogdare on Friday; the Grade 3, $200,000 Coolmore Lexington and the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway on Saturday; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali on Sunday.