The Grade III Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes has drawn 166 nominations, a 26.7 percent increase over 2011.
Graham Motion, who won the Vinery Spiral last year with eventual Kentucky Derby nd Eclipse Award winner Animal Kingdom, has nominated five this year. Among them are Lucky Chappy, Howe Great, and State of Play. The latter is probable for the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park on March 3.
Motion also won the 2008 edition of the Spiral, then the Grade II Lane's End Stakes, with Adriano.
Mike Maker has won the race twice, with With a City in 2006 and Dean’s Kitten in 2010. Heading his 10 nominations is Hansen. Maker also nominated Mr. Prankster and the filly Lotta Lovin, though the latter is expected to make her next start in the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks on the Spiral Stakes undercard. Mr. Prankster won the first two local preps for the Spiral Stakes and is eyeing the third, the Battaglia Memorial. Lotta Lovin swept all three filly preps for the Bourbonette.
Todd Pletcher, who won Turfway’s Derby prep race in 2001 with Balto Star and in 2005 with Flower Alley, this year nominated eight, including Gemologist, Big Blue Nation and Dan and Sheila.
Longtime Kentucky trainer Dale Romans has yet to win the Spiral but this year nominated 12, including Dullahan and Quick Wit.
Steve Asmussen, who's also never won the race, nominated four, including Daddy Nose Best and Major Hope. Asmussen also trains Beer Garden, the lone nomination representing the race’s sponsor, Vinery Racing.
The Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes was established in 1972 and achieved graded status in 1984. This year’s running will be broadcast by NBC/NBC Sports Network as the first installment of the networks’ Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
List of 166 Nominees to Grade III Vinery Spiral Stakes
--Edited Turfway Park release