Saturday’s Spiral Stakes has drawn a wide-open field of 12 challengers, going 1 1/8 miles at Turfway Park. Betting odds makers have listed No. 3 Uncaptured as the 3/1 morning-line favorite, while No. 1 Balance the Books and No. 12 Capo Bastone follow at 7/2 and 9/2, respectively.
Will it be one of these three in the winner’s circle, or can another long shot like last week’s winner Will Take Charge come through?
Uncaptured, Balance the Books return from layoffs
Uncaptured and Balance the Books both head to Turfway after last seeing action in November. Miguel Mena rode Uncaptured to victory by a neck that month in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, picking up a sixth win in seven starts. Balance the Books makes the switch to synthetic here after hitting the board in all four of last year’s turf outings.
Capo Bastone brings the promising connections of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez to the fray, closing at Gulfstream Park last month in sloppy conditions for a win at 1 1/16 miles. Pletcher has captured the Spiral Stakes twice with Balto Star (2001) and Flower Alley (2005), while Velazquez won last year’s affair aboard Went The Day Well.
A trio of 10/1 shots break from the middle of the gate, with No. 5 My Name Is Michael, No. 7 Mac the Man and No. 9 Black Onyx looking for an upset.
My Name Is Michael returns to action after closing for the show spot in February’s San F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Mac the Man has won three straight starts at Turfway, stretching out after last month’s one mile win and keeps Norberto Arroyo (68-for-284) aboard here. Black Onyx switches to synthetic after last month’s 1 1/16-mile win on Gulfstream’s turf.
No. 8 General Election and No. 11 Taken by the Storm are both listed at 12/1, with both coming off recent victories. General Election notched his second win in four starts with a half-length triumph in Turfway’s John Battaglia Stakes, three weeks ago. Taken by the Storm picked up a one-mile turf win at Gulfstream on March 9, returning to his maiden-breaking surface of synthetic in this spot.
The four longest shots round out the field, with No. 2 Channel Isle (15/1), No. 4 Fear the Kitten (15/1), No. 6 For Greater Glory (20/1), and No. 10 Giant Finish (15/1).
Channel Isle gives trainer D. Wayne Lukas a chance at a third Spiral Stakes title, winning the contest previously with Marfa (1983) and Serena’s Song (1995). Fear the Kitten has gone without a victory in three starts, but returns to synthetic here after breaking maiden at Keeneland on the surface last year.
For Greater Glory has finished in the money over all five career starts, switching riders back to Robby Albarado, who rode the colt to his sole victory last month at Oaklawn Park. Giant Finish logged two wins in three starts at Aqueduct to start his career, while shipping to Turfway this month as the runner-up to General Election in the John Battaglia Stakes.
Selections: Fear the Kitten, My Name Is Michael, General Election
The Spiral Stakes is Race 10 on Turfway’s card for Saturday, with an expected post time of 5:50 p.m. (ET). Weather conditions call for mostly sunny skies at a temperature of 50 degrees, under calm winds.
For my free picks this weekend, I have opted to split my race bankroll evenly on three long shots, with win tickets on each.
Fear the Kitten should benefit from the switch back to synthetic, which trainer Michael Maker has been successful with. Rider Rosie Napravnik makes the trek to Turfway here after closing from five-wide for a second-place check in last month’s Southwest Stakes.
My Name Is Michael excelled on synthetic at Woodbine in his first four starts, while bringing the promising Macho Uno-Holy Bull bloodline in this spot to Turfway. Trainer Bill Mott won the Spiral in 2009 with Hold Me Back, who charged with a strong closing kick.General Election’s victory in the John Battaglia Stakes cannot be ignored here, showing promise to close here for another win at double-digit odds. Kellyn Gorder has trained 36 percent winners in Turfway’s meet, while jockey Albin Jimenez has riden 140-of-313 starts in the money.