03/02/2011 2:34PM

Lanerie gets mount on Twinspired for Battaglia


Corey Lanerie has picked up the mount on Twinspired, who will be one of the favorites Saturday night for the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

Trainer Mike Maker confirmed Wednesday that Lanerie, who rides primarily in Kentucky and winters in his native Louisiana, will be in from Fair Grounds to ride Twinspired in the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia. Twinspired has remained at Turfway since easily winning the Feb. 5 WEBN Stakes and figures to vie for favoritism with two shippers, Positive Response from northern California and Blue Laser from Florida.

The Battaglia is the local prep for the annual Turfway showcase, the Grade 3, $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, set for March 26. Entries for the Battaglia were to be drawn Thursday.

Maker, who has won the Spiral twice, said he will be at Turfway to saddle the improving Twinspired. “We’re going to run Saturday, then shoot for the big one,” he said.

Nominations were released earlier this week for the 40th running of the Spiral, with 131 3-year-olds having been named to the 1 1/8-mile race.

Meanwhile, trainer Rusty Arnold said from Florida that while he considered running Shadow Warrior in the Battaglia, “we’re going straight to the Vinery.” Shadow Warrior has a third and a fourth in a pair first-level allowances at Gulfstream Park this winter.

Harlan’s Ruby may target Ashland

Harlan’s Ruby remained in Kentucky after her decisive victory in the Valdale Stakes last weekend at Turfway and surely will be one of the favorites in the Bourbonette Oaks on the Spiral undercard, with a two-week wheel-back in the April 9 Ashland Stakes a possibility, according to trainer Ken McPeek.

Harlan’s Ruby finished second last fall in the Grade 1 Alcibaides over the Polytrack at Keeneland, “so I’d imagine if she ran another big race in the Bourbonette, we’d have to consider the Ashland, even with the tight spacing,” said McPeek. “She’ll train at Keeneland and at our farm there in Lexington.”

McPeek also said he is considering the Spiral or the Rushaway Stakes the same day for Casper’s Touch, a disappointing seventh Saturday in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, his winter base.

Successful Dan eyes Ben Ali

Successful Dan, unraced since being disqualified to third after crossing under the wire first in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap in November at Churchill Downs, has returned to training at Keeneland and is tentatively being pointed to the April 23 Ben Ali Stakes at the Lexington track.

“We gave him the winter off, rode him around a little in our indoor arena, just kind of piddled with him since the Clark,” said trainer Charlie Lopresti, who stayed put, as usual, at his Lexington farm this winter. “We have him back training now at Keeneland. In fact, all our top horses pretty much have been on that same schedule.”

Lopresti enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2010, and while he has had about a dozen starts at Turfway since early December, he is focusing primarily on the Keeneland meet that begins April 8. Besides the Ben Ali for Successful Dan, he also has his sights set on the April 16 Commonwealth Stakes for either Wise Dan, sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, or Here Comes Ben, 11th in the BC Dirt Mile.

Churchill thinking pink again

Churchill Downs has announced that the pink theme will return for a third straight year on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 6. Wearing pink on Oaks Day has become a sign of support for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the state-sponsored Horses for Hope in promoting awareness and raising funds for breast cancer research and treatment.

Churchill once again will stage a survivors’ parade between races on Oaks Day while hosting a variety of other related events. The track will contribute $1 from every paid admission to the Komen foundation. Ontrack attendance last year was a record 116,046. More information is available at kentuckyoaks.com.

◗ The longstanding “Kentucky Winner’s Circle” radio show recently returned to the local airwaves in Louisville and is now available on the Internet. Hosted by E.J. Clark and Lane Gold, the one-hour show airs every Saturday at noon Eastern and can be heard online at www.talkradio1080.com.