03/27/2011 12:59PM

Turfway: Animal Kingdom, Decisive Moment moving on to Kentucky Derby after Spiral Stakes

Pat Lang/Lang Photography
Animal Kingdom wins the Grade 3 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes at Turfway by 2 3/4-lengths.

FLORENCE, Ky. – The first two finishers in the Grade 3 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes will both race next in the 137th Kentucky Derby, their respective connections said Sunday, the day after the annual Turfway Park showcase was run amid unseasonably cold weather.

Animal Kingdom, the 2 3/4-length winner of the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race in his stakes debut, earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure and, more importantly, a $285,000 paycheck, giving him what is sure to be a sufficient amount of graded stakes earnings to make the 20-horse cutoff for the May 7 Derby at Churchill Downs.

The runner-up in the $500,000 Spiral, Decisive Moment, earned $100,000, running his career total to $306,000, also enough to assure a Derby slot.

Animal Kingdom is trained by Graham Motion and is owned by Team Valor International, whose president, Barry Irwin, said Sunday that the colt will train over Polytrack at Keeneland in the next few weeks. Animal Kingdom has never raced on dirt in four career starts.

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“We’ll take him over to work at Churchill,” Irwin said. “Then we’ll go back and work him a second time, and if we like how it’s going, we’ll just stay there and run in the Derby. If not, we’ll figure out something else to do with him.”

Irwin said he was awed by the way Animal Kingdom rallied from last of 11 under Alan Garcia to win the 40th running of the Spiral with authority.

“He’s got some real power,” Irwin said. “He’s got a bigger frame than he had last fall; he’s really filled out physically. He was in a drive for the last six furlongs, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.”

Meanwhile, trainer Juan Arias said Decisive Moment, normally based at Calder in south Florida, was scheduled to ship early Monday from Turfway to Churchill in Louisville, about a 90-minute van ride.

“He came out of the race in great shape,” said Arias, who returned Sunday to Miami. “We have enough earnings to make the Derby, so that will be our next race. I will be back Thursday or Friday to begin his training there at Churchill.”

Trainer Mike Maker said the next start for Twinspired, third in the Spiral, is undecided, although the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes on April 23 at Keeneland is “in the mix.”

The connections of King Congie, scratched from the Spiral because of a minor injury to a hind leg, said the colt could be sufficiently recovered to race in the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 16 or the Lexington a week later.

Another Saturday race for 3-year-olds at Turfway, the ungraded Rushaway Stakes, produced at least two starters for the Blue Grass in Swift Warrior and Crimson China, the top two finishers.

Swift Warrior, who was making his first start under the care of trainer John Terranova following a private sale, earned a 90 Beyer in winning the 1 1/16-mile race by two lengths.

Crimson China “bled a 2 on a scale of 5,” according to Irwin, “so he’ll go to a hyperbaric chamber for four or five days. I’d imagine he’ll still be able to run in the Blue Grass.”

High temperatures Saturday never got out of the 30s, with wind chills remaining well below freezing throughout the gray afternoon.