The field for the Grade III Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park this Saturday has attracted an overflow crowd of hopefuls, as many as 18, so there are are a half-dozen or so that will be left out and may run in the Rushaway instead.
Preference is determined first by graded stakes wins, then by stakes wins, and then by career earnings. Only a dozen can start. Entries will be drawn Wednesday, March 23, at a cocktail reception in the Maker’s Mark VIP Tent at Turfway, 4 to 6:30 p.m.
In order of preference, hopefuls for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes to date are:
1. Decisive Moment, Juan Arias
2. Positive Response, William Morey
3. Thirtyfirststreet, Doug O’Neill
4. King Congie, Tom Albertrani
5. Glint, Kellyn Gorder
6. Preachintothedevil, Gary Contessa
7. Twinspired, Mike Maker
8. Rescind the Trade, Rick Violette
9. Animal Kingdom, H. Graham Motion
10. Beachcombing, Chad Brown
11. Son of Posse, Rhiannan Vitiello
12. Taptowne, Wayne Mogge
13. Ocasta, Darrin Miller
14. Quiet Assault, D. Wayne Lukas
15. Crimson China, H. Graham Motion
16. Swagger Jack, Darrin Miller
17. Sorgho, Don Bennett
18. Smarter Than Ever, Clark Hanna
Trainer William Morey flew Positive Response from California to Turfway on March 1, half a week before he obliterated the field in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, and the gelding has been training at Turfway ever since. His most recent work came yesterday, a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.80 (3/8). “He worked one-oh-one and change and everything’s good,” said Morey, who was at Turfway for the work. “He’ll gallop up to the race.”
Positive Response already has two stakes wins, the Gold Rush and the California Derby. In his last start before the Battaglia, he was third, beaten just two lengths, in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby. All of his eight career starts—five wins, two thirds—have come over the all-weather surfaces at Woodbine, Golden Gate, and Turfway. Positive Response is owned by Saul Gevertz, Roger Newman, Ray Pagano, and Morey.
Other Spiral News
Turfway-based trainer Wayne Mogge sent Battaglia Memorial runner-up Taptowne out Saturday for a tune-up. A son of Tapit, Taptowne breezed four furlongs in :49 flat. “The colt’s doing awesome,” Mogge said. “The work was just maintenance. We’re coming back off three weeks, so he’s already fit. We’re happy with his progress. He’s gotten better every start, gaining experience. He’s in good shape, and at this point we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that he stays that way.”
Taptowne was third in the one-mile WEBN Stakes, the second of Turfway’s three local preps for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes. If the expected-to-enter list holds, Taptowne would take the twelfth spot. He is owned by Clovertowne Farm.
Glint arrived at Keeneland from Oaklawn in the wee hours this morning after trainer Kellyn Gorder decided to skip the Grade II Rebel Stakes. “We thought about the Rebel, but then drew the 11 hole and it was a big field, and deep, so we decided to scratch and come to Kentucky,” said Gorder. “He already has a stake win on synthetic (the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile at Presque Isle Downs). We haven’t stretched him out yet, but we’re excited to see him go two turns. He’s training really well—had a nice breeze on Sunday (five furlongs at Oaklawn in 1:01.60 (16/35)).”
Owned by TK Stables, Glint was third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, in his most recent race and 2011 debut, the Mountain Valley Stakes at Oaklawn on March 5.
The good news for trainer Graham Motion is that he can confidently expect to have one horse in the Spiral and one in the Rushaway Stakes. The bad news is that his intended Spiral horse may wind up in the Rushaway, and his Rushaway horse may find himself in the Spiral.
“Our original idea was to run Crimson China in the Spiral and Animal Kingdom in the Rushaway,” said Motion. But those plans may have to flip; Crimson China is currently fifteenth in the career earnings metric used for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes for horses that haven’t won stakes events.
“My original plan had nothing to do with ability,” said Motion, who won Turfway’s signature race with Adriano in 2008. “We feel that Crimson China is just a little more seasoned and ready to jump up against these kinds of horses. They’re both very much on a par, though. I think we’ll just have to let the cards fall as they do.”
Crimson China and Animal Kingdom, both owned by Team Valor International, worked five furlongs together around the dogs on the Palm Meadows turf course this morning in 1:03.80, best of nine at that distance.
“They went super,” Motion said. “They’ll be vanning to Keeneland...today and van over to Turfway the morning of the race.”
Ocasta, Swagger Jack, Sorgho
The Rushaway, a listed stake for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 mile on the Spiral undercard, is also second choice for Ocasta, Swagger Jack, and Sorgho, thirteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth on the Spiral list.
First post Saturday at Turfway is 1:10 p.m. Gates open at 9:30 a.m., half an hour earlier than previously announced, to accommodate races from Meydan Racecourse including the Dubai World Cup. Post time for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes is 5:31 p.m. All times are Eastern.
--Edited from track release