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Turfway Park: Spiral Stakes has a dozen out for precious Kentucky Derby points
By Marty McGee
CINCINNATI – What amounts to a berth in the May 4 Kentucky Derby will be up for grabs Saturday when a wide-open field of 3-year-olds goes off at Turfway Park in the 42nd running of the Grade 3, $550,000 Spiral Stakes.
The Spiral is worth 50 points to the winner (85 in all) on the new eligibility system in place for the Derby, making it all but certain the winner will make the cut in case the 20-horse maximum is exceeded.
“We’re a little late to the party,” said Mark Casse, who will saddle once-beaten Uncaptured as a lukewarm morning-line favorite for the Spiral, which is run at 1 1/8 miles over Polytrack. “But the good thing about this race is if you’re lucky enough to win, the Derby points are enough that you can do whatever you want the next six weeks.”
Uncaptured, with Miguel Mena to ride, was assigned post 3 in a field of 12 in the Spiral. The Ontario-bred colt won 6 of 7 last year at 2 for Casse and owner John C. Oxley, and his return to action has been eagerly awaited. The colt was scheduled to arrive Thursday at Turfway from Ocala, Fla., where he has been training steadily over the SafeTrack synthetic.
“Obviously, he likes the synthetic, and his works have been real nice,” said Casse, noting that Uncaptured won four straight races over the Polytrack at Woodbine to open his career.
Balance the Books, also making his first start at 3, was assigned a good post. The Chad Brown-trained colt will start from the rail with former Turfway kingpin Julien Leparoux in from California to ride. Balance the Books, the 7-2 second choice on the Turfway morning line, ran four solid races at 2, all over turf.
Conversely, one of the other likely favorites, Capo Bastone (9-2), drew poorly at the post draw held Wednesday afternoon at the new Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati, getting the far outside slot. John Velazquez will ride for Todd Pletcher.
Only one of the 12 Spiral starters, For Greater Glory, is as high as 20-1 on the morning line, illustrating the depth of the field.
The Spiral is carded as the 10th of 12 Saturday races. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern, with the Spiral set for 5:48. TVG will have full-day coverage.
Turfway is a dust bowl,and probably is the number one track in the nation that horses like or don't like. This race is a crap shoot,and the winner will be over 10-1.
The FPS for the Spiral. The number of furlongs for each segment is in parentheses, followed by the FPS - 44 FPS: Balance the Books: (2) 9.2, (2) 9.3, (2) 10.0, (2) 11.2 Total: 79.4 Prev: (2) 9.5, (2) 10.4, (2) 7.1, (2.5) 10.0 Total: 79.2 Analysis: Making first start of the year; should have been racing. Don’t like the late running style; he’s not Secretariat. Channel Isle: (2) 11.2, (2) 10.9, (2) 8.8, (2.5) 5.0 Total: 74.2 Prev: (2) 10.2, (2) 12.4, (2) 8.9, (2) 6.3 Total: 75.7 Analysis: Flopped in the slop just like a few good ones in the Southwest. However, as a whole does not look like a real threat except that Lukas has been hot of late and he does have a bullet work going into this. Uncaptured: (2) 9.8, (2) 9.2, (2) 9.2, (2.5) 9.3 Total: 79.8 Prev: (2) 13.1, (2) 13.2, (2) 7.5, (2) 9.1 Total: 85.8 Analysis: Don’t like the fact he is just now coming off the bench. His most recent start does not equal his overpowering Iroquois win; he looked as if he won the Ky JC on heart alone. It could explain why he hasn’t been seen since. Looks like this is just a prep for him for the Bluegrass at best. Fear the Kitten: (2) 10.1, (2) 10.7, (2) 9.6, (2.5) 6.3 Total: 76.6 Prev: (2) 7.8, (2) 12.1, (2) 9.0, (2.3) 6.1 Total: 71.8 Analysis: Another one that flopped in the slop in the Southwest, only he at least took the place money. Appears to be improving, but I don’t like the $40k claim when the stud fee was $50k; hasn’t worked since 3/10/13. Doesn’t do a whole lot for me. My Name is Michael: (2) 8.7, (2) 10.8, (2) 9.5,(2) 7.9 Total: 77.8 Prev: (2) 8.7, (2) 10.1, (2) 9.5, (2) 9.8 Total: 81.1 Analysis: The fact that Mott now has him is a big plus. He could get a slice, but because he started too far back in his last race tells me that he is not winning this. For Greater Glory: (2) 7.4, (2) 12.4, (2) 10.3,(2.5) 7.7 Total: 79.5 Prev: (2) 9.5, (2) 12.6, (2) 8.4, (2.5) 6.8 Total: 78.2 Analysis: Good middle move in last, but all out after his Maiden score; not sure what is left in the tank being rushed back after only 3 weeks. Mac the Man: (2) 11.8, (2) 13.0, (2) 9.0, (2) 6.8 Total: 81.2 Prev: (2) 14.7, (2) 13.3, (2) 8.9, (0.5) 5.1 Total: 76.2 Analysis: Bargain pony for $23k at the Keeneland September sale. Speedy sort; well rested. Will be tested today. Don’t count out. General Election: (2) 8.8, (2) 11.7, (2) 10.1, (2.5) 7.7 Total: 80.6 Prev: (2) 7.9, (2) 10.3, (2) 8.1, (2.3) 6.4 Total: 67.3 Analysis: Just beat out For Greater Glory. Appears that this was his “shot” and don’t expect him to fire at all today. Black Onyx: (2) 7.9, (2) 9.7, (2) 10.7, (2.5) 9.2 Total: 79.9 Prev: (2) 10.9, (2) 12.6, (2) 8.8, (2.5) 3.1 Total: 72.5 Third back: (2) 11.3, (2) 12.3, (2) 8.6, (2) 8.0 Total: 80.9 Analysis: I wanted to go back to his Maiden win at Belmont just to see how good this one might really be. His race on 1/1/13 was only for exercise; he was up close in the early stages. Last race seemed to feature a slow pace (based on the variant) and he still came from off the pace to win handily. Having the full 4 weeks off since then leaves this one with plenty of energy to muscle this bunch. Giant Finish: (2) 10.9, (2) 12.1, (2) 9.6, (2.5) 6.2 Total: 80.6 Prev: (2) 9.9, (2) 7.6, (2) 9.3, (2.3) 8.7 Total: 74.0 Analysis: Had a pretty good run in last; might be better today. However, I think this one is in over his head with this bunch. Taken by the Storm: (2) 8.7, (2) 9.2, (2) 9.8, (2) 9.7 Total: 74.7 Prev: (2) 13.2, (2) 12.5, (2) 7.8, (2.5) 2.0 Total: 72.0 Analysis: Not impressed really and not fond of the 2-week break since his last. I think to win this one, 2 weeks is not enough. Capo Bastone: (2) 13.9, (2) 12.3, (2) 7.7, (2.5) 4.1 Total: 78.0 Prev: (2) 11.2, (2) 12.5, (2) 10.0, (2.5) 4.9 Total: 79.7 Analysis: Huffing and puffing in the late stages of the slop; even his previous race shows that he wasn’t moving very fast in the late stages of the BC Juvenile, only passing tired horses. Don’t like the drop-back running style he shows in most of his races. Doubtful he’ll be close at the wire. Summary: Black Onyx to win. Use My Name is Michael and Mac the Man in the exotics. Roll the dice on the rest.
I don't think any one of these is a serious threat for the Ky Derby. I have to wonder why Uncaptured hasn't run yet. His Iroquois win was going way, but he was only lucky enough to eek out a photo in his last...and only earn a much lesser speed figure. You all can bet Uncaptured if you want to. I will be looking elsewhere for my selection.
Leparoux isn't flying in for nothing. Balance the Books will be flying late.
Mena just needs to avoid getting box in by JV
Honestly don't know how this race shapes up, but the way that Mena is riding right now Uncaptured will be put extremely wide at some point. Mena has avoided just about every inside move that I thought he could make at the Fairgrounds, over and over again. Once a top jockey; now a liability. The horse will have to be between 3 to 5 lengths the best horse to win if I am correct.
Turfway favors closers at two turns and Uncaptured is a stout closer. He won some big stakes races last year on polytrack. Should romp and Miguel Mena is a top Kentucky jock!!!
Fear the Kitten with RN will be coming late if there is a fast pace....my hope
Pure Fun would probably beat this field....
- 1.Posted 12/10/2013 02:23PM
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