By Dick Downey
Dubai Sky was a handful after he arrived in the Turfway Park paddock, but he was calm by the time Jose Lezcano climbed aboard. Then he went out and won the Spiral Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths.
The winner, trained by Bill Mott, broke a step slow from post 12 but quickly recovered and was in fourth place after a quarter-mile, only two 2 1/2 lengths back of a sharp :22.99 pace set by Watchyourownbobber. Wireless Future was also right there and led after a half-mile in :47.57, with Watchyourownbobber a head back, Dubai Sky a half-length back and Royal Son fourth by another quarter-length. Firespike was fifth and Conquest Typhoon was sixth but only 2 1/4 lengths off the pace. The 9-5 post-time favorite, Metaboss, also left the gate a bit slowly but wasn't part of the early mix and was 3 1/4 lengths behind.
Into the far turn, with three furlongs left to run, Metaboss was fanned seven wide while Dubai Sky was vying for the lead with Wireless Future and Royal Son; Watchyourownbobber had beaten a hasty retreat off a 1:12.09 pace. Firespike was an advancing fourth and Conquest Typhoon a steady fifth.
As the dust started to settle, Dubai Sky was suddenly two lengths clear at the furlong marker and went on to prevail over Mark Casse's Conquest Typhoon. Firespike, a longshot at 37-1, kept running and came third, a neck behind Conquest Typhoon. Task Force Glory, at 70-1 finished fourth. The latter two are trained by Mike Maker.
In fifth place was Royal Son, followed by Metaboss, Wireless Future, Another Lemon Drop, Magic of Believing, Big Family and Watchyourownbobber. Imperia was scratched.
The winning time was 1:50.26. At 7-1 odds, Dubai Sky paid $16.80, $7.40 and $6.00.
"I thought the outside would be better today," Lezcano said. "He broke good. He took me third, fourth. He took me to the quarter-pole. I saw Mike Smith behind me, and I said it's time to go."
It was the first graded stakes win by the ownership team of Zuleika Torrealba's Three Chimneys Farm and Benjamin Leon's Besilu Stables. Besilu bred the winner in Kentucky. A son of Candy Ride (ARG), Dubai Sky is out of the Chester House mare House of Danzing.
It was the fourth win in five starts for Dubai Sky, who raced with Lasix and on synthetic track for the first time in the Spiral. His first four races were all around two turns on turf.
Kentucky Derby points were on the line with 50 to the winner, 20 to second, 10 to third and five to fourth. However, Dubai Sky wasn't early-nominated to the Triple Crown. The deadline for late nominations is Monday at 11:59 p.m. ET. Mott was not at Turfway and could not be reached by telephone after the race. Representatives of Three Chimneys Farm were non-committal about whether Dubai Sky would be late-nominated.
On March 7, Mott said, “I’m not thinking of it as a Derby prep, but the Candy Rides seem to excel on synthetic surfaces, and the purse is considerably larger than the Palm Beach." Mott withheld Dubai Sky from the Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park after heavy rains forced the race to be postponed for a week.
Mark Casse said by telephone after the race that the Queen's Plate is a goal for Conquest Typhoon, who will be taken to Churchill Downs for training.