Turfway Park expects a full and competitive field for the JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park Saturday, March 25, according to Stakes Coordinator Randy Wehrman.
The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds over Turfway's Polytrack is a designated points race for the Kentucky Derby, with 50 points to the winner and 20, 10 and five points to the next three finishers, respectively.
Among those expected to start and likely among the favorites is Kitten's Cat, trained by Joe Sharp for Ken and Sarah Ramsey. By the Ramseys' Eclipse turf champion and prolific sire Kitten's Joy, Kitten's Cat has been in the money in six of his seven starts, all on the turf and including three wins. Two of those wins came in stakes: the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November and the Kitten's Joy stakes at Gulfstream in February. He was second, beaten a length, in his most recent start, the March 4 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream.
The Spiral would be Kitten's Cat's first start on an all-weather surface, but the transition is expected to be seamless. Of the Ramseys' three Spiral Stakes winners, two—Oscar Nominated last year and Dean's Kitten in 2010—were also by Kitten's Joy.
“Kitten's Joys seem to do well on [Polytrack]. With his record, I'd expect him to be one of the favorites,” said Sharp of Kitten's Cat.
Regular rider Luis Saez will be in for the mount. Kitten's Cat will ship from Gulfstream to Trackside Training Center in Louisville on Tuesday and will ship to Turfway on race day.
Blueridge Traveler will make his stakes debut in the Spiral for trainer Kenny McPeek. Described by assistant trainer Michael Kleier as a “big, strapping colt with a big, long stride,” Blueridge Traveler has a win and two seconds in four starts, the last three on dirt. In his most recent start he closed fast from far back to break his maiden by a head at Oaklawn Park for owner Horizon Stables.
Speaking from Dubai, where he will saddle Vettori Kin (BRZ) in the UAE Derby, McPeek said, “Blueridge Traveler is coming up to the race really well. He wants more distance, and the mile and an eighth ought to suit him. I think he'll like the Polytrack. Should be an exciting weekend.”
Blueridge Traveler will ship to Keeneland from Oaklawn on Wednesday and ship to Turfway on Saturday. Channing Hill has the call.
Trainer Graham Motion has three wins in the Spiral: back-to-back with Kentucky Derby winner and Eclipse champion Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Went the Day Well in 2012 and with Adriano in 2008. He expects to start stakes-placed California shipper Soglio in this year's Spiral for owner Flaxman Holdings Ltd.
Beaten less than a length by Vending Machine in the Eddie Logan Stakes in December at Santa Anita, Soglio was most recently a close third against allowance company at the same track Feb. 5. All of his starts have come on turf. The Spiral will be the first start on an all-weather surface for the son of Scat Daddy. Trevor McCarthy will ride.
“He's been doing well,” said Motion. “We were going to run him in an allowance race at Santa Anita but he came up with a foot abscess so we had to scratch. Since then he's been doing very well and working well. [The Spiral] is one that I've had in the back of my mind with him for a while. I think that the mile and an eighth will help him so we're giving it a shot.”
Soglio will ship in to Turfway Wednesday evening. He will be teamed with jockey Trevor McCarthy for the first time on Saturday.
The maximum number of starters for the Spiral Stakes is 12, with two also-eligibles. Preference is given first to graded stakes winners in order (I, II, III), then to stakes winners and finally to highest career earnings. Horses nominated to the Spiral Stakes are also automatically nominated to the black type Rushaway Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile event also for 3-year-olds, and may elect to run in that race instead. In alphabetical order, horses currently under consideration for the Spiral are:
- Blueridge Traveler (trainer Kenny McPeek/owner Horizon Stables)
- Bronson (Todd Pletcher/Mathis Stable LLC)
- Colonel Samsen (Eoin Harty/Casner Racing, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, Corey Johnsen)
- Convict Pike (Rusty Arnold/Ashbrook Farm)
- En Hanse (Mike Maker/Kendall Hansen, Bode Miller)
- Fast and Accurate (Mike Maker/Kendall Hansen)
- Giant Payday (Ian Wilkes/Lothenbach Stables)
- Hot Dad (Mike Maker/ Warner Thoroughbreds, Jim Setzer, Brett Setzer, Triple R Racing)
- Impressive Edge (Dale Romans/N and K Racing)
- Kitten's Cat (Joe Sharp/Ken and Sarah Ramsey)
- Parlor (Eddie Kenneally/Brad Anderson)
- Sailing Home (Mark Casse/Conrad Farms)
- Soglio (Graham Motion/Flaxman Holdings Ltd.)
- Star Empire (GB) (Wesley Ward/Belinda Bateman)
Entries for the Spiral Stakes, its filly counterpart the Bourbonette Oaks (G3), the Rushaway Stakes and the rest of Saturday's 12-race card will be drawn Wednesday, March 22.
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