Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 3/22/13
This week’s Horse Racing Race of the Week takes us to Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky for the 2013 Spiral Stakes, where Uncaptured has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite. First run in 1972 as simply the Spiral Stakes, in 1982, whiskey maker Jim Beam became its sponsor and the race was renamed the Jim Beam Spiral Stakes and later just the Jim Beam Stakes. In 2002, Lane’s End Farm took over as sponsor of the race until February of 2013, when the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati took over sponsorship for the 2013 (and the immediate future’s)running. In 1984, it was given Grade 3 status and its purse was increased. In 1988, the race was moved up to Grade: 2 status, but then returned to Grade 3 in 2011. All told, the race has produced two Kentucky Derby winners (Lil E. Tee-1992 and Animal Kingdom-2011). Other notable winners of the race include:  sire extraordinaire Broad Brush (1986), back to back Preakness winners Summer Squall (1990) and Hansel (1991), the ill-fated Prairie Bayou (1992), the great Serena’s Song (1995), the very recently deceased Event of the Year (1998), Flower Alley (2005), the gorgeous Hard Spun (2007) and last year’s winner Went the Day Well. Elsewhere in the three year old division this weekend shows Sunday’s $800,000 Sunland Park Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico. The well named Shakin’ It Up, who won the San Vicente at 2-1 in his last start in February, looks to be the horse to beat in that one. Also, 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for the $150,000 Excelsior Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday. Ruler On Ice won an Aqueduct optional claimer race against three opponents in his last race Jan 30.   Turfway Park – Saturday, March 23, 2013 Race 10 – 5:50 PM Horseshoe Casino Racing Spiral Stakes (Grade: 3) Purse $550,000 For Three-Year-Olds One And One Eighth Miles. (All Weather Track) P# PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Balance the Books 3/C L J R Leparoux 123 C C Brown 7/2 2 2 Channel Isle 3/C L J K Court 123 D W Lukas 15/1 3 3 Uncaptured 3/C L M Mena 123 M E Casse 3/1 4 4 Fear the Kitten 3/C L R Napravnik 123 M J Maker 15/1 5 5 My Name Is Michael 3/C L J Rosario 123 W I Mott 10/1 6 6 For Greater Glory 3/C L R Albarado 123 S Hobby 20/1 7 7 Mac the Man 3/C L N Arroyo, Jr. 123 J L Greenhill 10/1 8 8 General Election 3/C L A Jimenez 123 K Gorder 12/1 9 9 Black Onyx 3/C L J Bravo 123 K J Breen 10/1 10 10 Giant Finish 3/C L J L Espinoza 123 A W Dutrow 15/1 11 11 Taken by the Storm 3/C L A Garcia 123 K G McPeek 12/1 12 12 Capo Bastone 3/C L J R Velazquez 123 T A Pletcher 9/2   Analysis: (Tough race….there are 7 or 8 who are in with a fighting chance) 1) Uncaptured- gets the call here based off his spectacular 6 wins in 7 lifetime starts (including 3 for 4 over the synthetics). Already a 5 time stakes winner, this colt by Lion Heart has been burning the racetrack up in the mornings. His works including a pair of strong 5 furlongs moves and then a stamina building mile in 1:40 at the OcalaTrainingCenter last week.   ”We hoped to have had a race by now,” said trainer Mark Casse. “I had him training at Palm Meadows (TrainingCenter in Boyton Beach, Florida) on the dirt. The main track at Ocala is all-weather (Synthetics), so we moved him up there, so it would be easier on his feet. He’s been training on the synthetic for the last couple of months, so the Spiral seemed the best place to bring him back. He’s already won twice at Churchill on the dirt, so we know he likes it there too.” He looks best on paper; it’s just that “this is his first race in 4 months” part that’s bugging me.   2) Balance The Books- turf monster in the making (if he isn’t already one) with this colt by Lemon Drop Kid. I love the way he waits until about the eighth pole to turn on the afterburners…it makes for some good horse races. Already a multiple stakes winner and don’t forget about that huge, albeit troubled, third place finish in the Breeders Cup Juvenile turf last year. Only really two things stopped me from making him my top pick in this race. One, he breaks rule #1 in betting horses and that is….”Never bet a horse that is being asked to do something for the first time”…in this case, its run on, not only a surface other that turf, but synthetics. (How will he react to it?) and two, he is another who is making his first start in (over) 4 months yet only shows a handful of relatively slow works.. I’m not questioning his trainers ability (I think Chad Brown is one of the best in the business), I’m questioning that fact that this horse might not be fully “cranked up” for this race. In fact, those works have me wondering that even if he does handle the surface switch, will he be fit enough?…     3) Capo Bastone- I have him ranked in the top 10 in my “Countdown to the Triple Crown” weekly list. He possesses a very strong late run and obviously has some class as he was third beaten a little over 2 lengths by champion Shanghai Bobby in the BC Juvenile last year. His 2013 doesn’t look all that impressive on paper (a close win vs. optimal $75,000 claimers at Gulfstream), but a closer look shows a huge move on the turn for home and then was all heart and determination down the stretch to hold off the aptly named Offlee Fast by a head. He makes his second start for (new) trainer Todd Pletcher, who seems to have an endless amount of talented three years old… doesn’t it? Honorable Mentions: Mac the Man, who looks like Turfway Park monster…. He is 3 for 3 since they put him on this track and won those races by a combine 14 ½ lengths. You have to respect that last race especially, where he scored an astronomical speed figure (107). “He’s training great,” trainer Jeff Greenhill said. “I put another horse in front of him the other day and he galloped by him at the 3/16 pole. He galloped out great. Of course I told the exercise rider on the other horse that if he beat him, he should just keep on going and don’t come back to the barn. “We’ll find out, we’ll find out in this race. If you believe the speed figures, he’s very good.”…yep, I use speed figures in one of my (what seems like) 9,000 handicapping tools. My Name Is Michael was absolutely flying late when he ran a close up third behind Falling Sky and Dynamic Sky in the Sam F. Davis in last race and has run a couple of good races over the synthetic  surface too….its just that 1 for 5 lifetime record that gets me. General Election was 6 deep and had to go some 8 wide on the turn for home yet sprung the 13-1 upset in the Mike Battaglia Stakes (a prep for this) in his last, which was the biggest race of his life and in his synthetics debut. A repeat of that race puts him in the thick of it here. Record: 5-13 = 38% 2012: 24-74 = 32% To receive an email each time a new Horse Racing article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form   Little Bits N’ Pieces **** Dreaming of Julia, who finished second in her 2013 debut in the Davona Dale last month, breezed a half-mile in :49.2 in preparation for the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 30. “Dreaming of Julia just went a steady half with a good, strong gallop-out. I thought she went really well,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “She’s on schedule.” The talented and good looking Dreaming of Julia **** Champions Animal Kingdom, Royal Delta, and Trinniberg led an eight-horse American contingent that flew to the United Arab Emirates this past week.  They left Florida at approximately 9 p.m. EDT this past Wednesday for races on the Dubai World Cup program March 30. Once they arrive, they will join Dullahan and Little Mike, who have been training at Meydan since March 9, in the quarantine barn area. I wish them all luck and safe trip, but I’m just not a fan of traveling thru some 26 time zones and (literally) half way around the world to run your horse.   Dullahan **** Trainer Ian Wilkes said he is leaning toward the Oaklawn Handicap for 2012 Breeders Cup Classic winner Fort Larned’s next start. Fort Larned cruised 4 furlongs in :50.3 yesterday (Thursday) at Palm Meadows Training Center. The workout was the first for Fort Larned since he stumbled badly two jumps out of the gate in the Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 9. The colt grabbed a quarter in the incident, making a start in the March 30 Skip Away Stakes on Florida Derby day “very remote,” Wilkes said. “We’ll probably go in the Oaklawn Handicap,” Wilkes added. (The $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap is April 13 at Oaklawn Park). “He went good. I just wanted a light work to see where he was. Everything’s really good. He listened to the rider. He responded when he was asked to finish it off a little bit. So I’m very happy.”   Sounds like 2012 Breeders Cup Classic winner Fort Larned is headin to Oaklawn next month **** The Jockey Club, in collaboration with the NBC Sports Group, will kick off the “Road to Kentucky Derby” series with a 30-minute special previewing the Triple Crown season on Saturday, March 23, on the NBC Sports Network from 6-6:30 p.m. EST. Thanks for reading…    

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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