03/23/2011 1:03PM

Spiral Stakes: Distance and surface suit Thirtyfirststreet

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Benoit & Associates
Thirtyfirststreet has shipped to Turfway Park from California for Saturday's Grade 3 Vinery Spiral Stakes.

FLORENCE, Ky. – By finishing fourth as a 13-1 shot in his only start in a graded race, Thirtyfirststreet hasn’t justified any of his owners catching Kentucky Derby fever.

But that all could change Saturday at Turfway Park, where Thirtyfirststreet, a California-bred colt trained by Doug O’Neill, will be part of a wide-open field of Derby aspirants in the 40th running of the Grade 3, $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes.

“He’s owned by a great crew of guys,” said O’Neill, referring to partners Mark Gorman, Neil Haymes, and Kevin Bogart. “They’re all sitting chilly right now, but I’d bet that if the horse were to jump up and run big Saturday, they’d catch the bug – for sure. We’d have to keep moving forward from there.”

O’Neill, a perennial leading trainer on the Southern California circuit, said the timing of the Spiral, along with the Polytrack in place at Turfway, led him to go out of his way and put Thirtyfirststreet on a plane for Kentucky.

“He’s always shown us that distance wouldn’t be a problem,” said O’Neill, who in 2007 ran his only two Derby starters, Great Hunter (13th) and Liquidity (14th). “I just thought the synthetic would be the best place to try one of these pre-Derby preps.”

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Thirtyfirststreet, by Good Journey, ran well in two races over synthetics at Hollywood Park last fall before closing hard to win the Dec. 26 California Breeders’ Championship at Santa Anita to end his 2-year-old season. In his only subsequent start, the colt ran fourth, beaten six lengths, in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis on Feb. 12 at Santa Anita.

Thirtyfirststreet will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche when part of a full field of 12 3-year-olds in the Spiral. The 1 1/8-mile Spiral is one of five stakes to be run here Saturday during a 12-race card, for which entries were to be released Wednesday evening. First post will be 1:10 p.m. Eastern. TVG will have onsite coverage throughout the day, with the Spiral going live at 5:32. Free live video streaming of Saturday’s Turfway card will be available at DRF.com.

Same name, different trainer

Juan D. Arias, trainer of one of the Spiral favorites, Decisive Moment, is not to be confused with the Juan Arias who 40 years ago played a role in perhaps the most fascinating success story in Kentucky Derby history as the trainer of Canonero II.

Juan D. Arias, based at Calder, is from Panama and rode races in the United States from 1981-90 under the name Juan Arias Jr.

The Juan Arias who trained Canonero II to his monumental upset in the 1971 Derby was from Caracas, Venezuela.

Decisive Moment is the leading earner in the Spiral field with $432,330.

Maker eyes third Spiral victory

Trainer Mike Maker will be going for his third victory in the last six runnings of the Turfway showcase when he sends out Twinspired in the Spiral. Maker won what was known as the Lane’s End Stakes in 2006 with 48-1 shot With a City and in 2010 with Dean’s Kitten.

Twinspired easily won the WEBN Stakes here in early February, then had some minor trouble before finishing fourth as the 2-1 second choice in the John Battaglia Memorial earlier this month.

Referring to what unfolded in the case of With a City, who was eighth in the Battaglia before his huge upset, Maker said: “That’s why you race.”

◗ While the weather in the Greater Cincinnati area had been unseasonably warm and mild in recent days, that won’t be the case on raceday. With temperatures on the drop as of Thursday, the forecast for Saturday calls for showers and a high of just 42.