03/15/2015 5:12PM

Spiral Stakes draws 15, but only 12 can start

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Benoit & Associates
Conquest Typhoon, winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes, is among the contenders for Saturday's Spiral Stakes.

A group of 15 3-year-olds were entered Sunday for Saturday’s Grade 3, $550,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, resulting in three exclusions due to the track’s 12-horse starting-gate limit, and Turfway not having an also-eligible list for its signature race.

Although entries closed Sunday, Spiral post positions will not be drawn until approximately 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, when a draw luncheon is hosted at the Horseshoe Casino of Cincinnati, which sponsors the Spiral.

Caesars Entertainment, with Horseshoe Casino being one of its entities, is part owner in Turfway Park.

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Post positions for the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks, the sister race to the Spiral, will also be drawn during that luncheon. That race, which also drew an overflow field, has 12 in the body of the race, and two also eligibles – a noticeable contrast to the Spiral.

With riders, the 12 that made the Spiral, a 1 1/8-mile race on Polytrack, are Another Lemon Drop, Calvin Borel; Big Family, Albin Jimenez; Conquest Typhoon, Mike Smith; Dubai Sky, Jose Lezcano; Firespike, Miguel Mena; Imperia, Joel Rosario; Magic Of Believing, Shane Laviolette; Metaboss, Alex Solis; Royal Son, Rodney Prescott; Task Force Glory, Rafael Hernandez; Watchyourownbobber, Rajiv Maragh; and Wireless Future, Florent Geroux.

Excluded were Pepper Roani, Saham, and Milwaukee Mist.

Although most tracks will run up to 14 horses in stakes races, up from 12 for overnight races, Turfway restricts its stakes to 12 due to one of its starting gates being unable to accommodate more than 12 runners, racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer said.

It is standard practice for tracks to have two gates as an emergency measure in case one malfunctions.

As to why the Bourbonette accommodates also-eligibles but the Spiral does not, Picklesimer said is due to the longstanding race conditions of the Spiral. “We’ll probably look at changing it next year,” he said.

With preference in the Spiral to graded stakes winners, then stakes winners, and then to horses with the most earnings – the most accomplished horses that entered the Spiral were never in danger of being excluded.

Metaboss and Conquest Typhoon, first and third, respectively, in the Grade 3 El Camino Real at Golden Gate on Feb. 14, are two of the race headliners, along with Imperia, last year’s Grade 3 Pilgrim winner, and John Battaglia winner Royal Son.

The Bourbonette, a $150,000, Grade 3 race at a mile, is led by Sharla Rae, a two-time stakes winner on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Golden Gate.

The Spiral and Bourbonette offer respective qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.