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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

What Will Spiral Toward the Derby?


By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile

The Grade II Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes could set up with a traditional handicapping scenario: Early contested speed followed by stalkers with a chance to win. On paper anyway, this is a tough race, but the winner will have the earnings to make the Kentucky Derby.

Positive Response, the 2-1 Battaglia Memorial winner, has a great spot to again set the pace from post 2. Animal Kingdom might or might not try to stay with Positive Response--he's a difficult read. Decisive Moment, himself an early mover, will have to try to get into good early position from post 10 or else learn a whole new game in the Spiral.

So a key point to this race could very well be whether any early pressure is put on Positive Response, and the one that looks most likely to do it would be Decisive Moment to his outside. But the latter horse must break cleanly and hustle early to do it.

Posts 1 through 6 easily have the best win percentages in two-turn Turfway races this meet--with the exception of post 2.

Stalkers exiting from the inside half of the gate are:
--Preachintothedevil (post 1), whose trainer insists the colt is doing really well;
--Animal Kingdom (post 4), whom Team Valor says is not as mature as Crimson China. I think the latter one will win the Rushaway--but he couldn't get in the Spiral due to a lack of earnings;
--Son of Posse (post 5), a real outsider at 50-1;
--Rescind the Trade (post 6), who couldn't handle a muddy track in the Whirlaway.

Stalkers in the outside half of the gate are:
--Beachcombing (post 7), who's out of a Deputy Minister mare and whom 30% trainer Chad Brown believes really has a shot;
--King Congie (post 8), who likes to win races but who has a dam by End Sweep;
--Taptowne (post 9), second to Positive Response in the Battaglia, but beaten seven lengths;
--Twinspired (post 11), whose connections have been thinking Derby all along, and who could run much better this time with a better start than he got in the Battaglia;
--Glint (post 12), who's inexperienced and really compromised from that far outside.

From this group I like Beachcombing and King Congie.

That leaves one horse undiscussed so far. Thirtyfirststreet (post 3) has been a closer of late, although to a degree that wasn't intentional last last time out. He and Decisive Moment are the only ones in the race that have competed in a grade II, although neither of them hit the board. Last time out, Thirtyfirststreet finished fourth, beaten six lengths by Anthony's Cross in the Robert B. Lewis.

And going back to Decisive Moment, he pulled a little something last time out and was unable to fully show what he's got. He's moved well over synthetic as a youngster and could move up in this race from his last.


Of the ones I haven't used, I dislike leaving out Animal Kingdom most. He's run well on three different types of surfaces in three races but is not as well regarded by his own stable as is Crimson China.

© 2003-2019 Dick Downey dba The Downey Profile

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