Two Longest Shots Run One-Two
By Dick Downey
Longshots turned favorites upside down in the Spiral Stakes with Fast and Accurate and Blueridge Traveler, the two longest shots in the field, running one-two at odds of 24-1 and 35-1 respectively.
The race unfolded in a fairly straightforward way. Mike Maker trainee En Hanse took the early lead with Fast and Accurate -- also trained by Maker -- tracking in second going into the first turn. The first quarter-mile was in the book at 23.22.
En Hanse kept his foot on the gas into the backstretch with a half-mile gone in 46.36. At this point, post-time second choice Parlor was running second, Fast and Accurate third and Convict Pike fourth, and that's the way they wenbt into the far turn with six furlongs timed 1:10.22.
Tyler Gaffalione shifted Fast and Accurate outside En Hanse in the turn, took the lead heading for home, and got to the finish line first in 1:50.96.
Blueridge Traveler, ninth of 11 early and eighth after six furlongs, made a late run up the rail to get second without seriously challenging the winner, beaten three parts of a length. Convict Pike stayed on to run third, beaten 1 1/4 length, edging favorite Kitten's Cat by a half-length.
Those four were followed across the finish line by Bronson, Giant Payday, Soglio, Parlor, En Hanse, King and His Court and Colonel Samsen. Shiraz was scratched.
The super-charged exacta returned $799.80 on a $2 wager. Fast and Accurate paid $51.00, $22.00 and $13.00 to show on $2 bets.
Fast and Accurate is not nominated to the Triple Crown, and the 50 Kentucky Derby points available to the winner of the Spiral will dissolve unless owner Kendall Hansen supplements to the Triple Crown at a cost of $200,000. Hansen excitedly declared his intention to run in the Derby following the race. The colt by Hansen could have been late-nominated to the Triple Crown by last Monday for a $6,000 fee.
Twenty Kentucky Derby points go to Blueridge Traveler, who is nominated to the Triple Crown. Convict Pike, also nominated, got 10 points. Kitten's Cat, not nominated, got five points.
Hansen purchased Fast and Accurate for $85,000 at the OBS April 2016 sale. Fast and Accurate was a $24,000 RNA at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Hansen campaigned Hansen, a son of Tapit, on the Triple Crown Trail in 2012. He finished second in the Holy Bull, won the Gotham Stakes, finished second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and was ninth in the Kentucky Derby.
Fast and Accurate broke his maiden in his fourth start, a $30,000 maiden claiming race on Dec. 4 at Turfway going a mile when he was the 2-1 favorite. He followed that up on Feb. 20 by winning a race at Gulfstream Park called the Sage Monticello, a 7 1/2 furlong starter stakes for 3-year-olds that had started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less. He was 7-2 in that outing.
The winner was bred in Pennsylvania by John R. Penn. He's out of It's Heidi's Dance, by Green Dancer.
Mike Maker, winning trainer: "We had a lot of confidence. He's kind of a thin-looking horse, but he had put on some weight. (In December) we were trying to get some more winners for Hansen, and we had so many of them that we were just trying to fill in the blanks."
Tyler Gaffalione, winning jockey: "The race set up beautifully. My horse broke well. I looke to the outside and I saw Maker's other horse going to the lead, and he told me if the other one broke better to just sit behind him. We had a beautiful trip going into the far turn, I put him on the outside, and he just hit another gear. Down the lane he just kept lengthening stride."
Michael Kleier, assistant to Ken McPeek, trainer of Blueridge Traveler: "I was very pleased with his effort. He took a lot of sand in his face in the first turn and he still came through very courageously."
Channing Hill, aboard Blueridge Traveler: I did my best Calvin Borel impression, I just didn't get up. I was super happy with him.... He's still a bit green. He tried all the way to the wire. I really thought I was going to run fourth, then I thought third, then all of a sudden I thought we might win it. He kept digging, kept grinding. He's got a long, bright future ahead of him."
Angel Cruz, aboard Convict Pike: "He was coming. He waited a little bit and when he heard horses behind him he came again. Then he waited again."