Posted: 3/24/2012 9:57:49 AM
To some, the Spiral Stakes (G-III, $500,000) doesn’t appear to be anything more than an eye-roller compared to the big name preps. The contestants seem to be those sitting at the end of the bench, but make no mistake as this looks to be a most competitive affair.
Certainly the trainers and jocks are taking this 1-1/8 miles run seriously: Pletcher and Maker each have two in here. Motion, Lukas, Hollendorfer, Servis, Casse and O’Neill send in the troops with Johnny V., Rosario, Rosie, Corey, Castallano and Pedroza among the riders.
Here are the contenders:
#12 Handsome Mike…..I sure wish this guy drew better, but despite being out to the right, he just might be able to clear the field for the win as he does have early foot. Rosario pilots the Scat Daddy colt for Doug O’Neill. Handsome Mike comes here with the best speed figures of any of them, as well as a decent graded stakes resume. While his win record in stakes doesn’t show well on paper (4/0-1-1 in graded stakes), Mike’s speed figures in those races are excellent. What’s more, he’s faced better competitors than any of the others entered losing to Daddy’s Nose Best in the El Camino, Out of Bounds and Secret Circle in the Sham; Liason and Rousing Sermon in the G-I Cash Call (he finished 7th, but just 2-3/4 back). He finished second in the G-III Generous. Mike has poly credit too, which should be a plus. Proceed with caution, but take a hard look at 4-1 on the morning line.
#3 Heavy Breathing…..2 for 2 lifetime and the 3-1 ML favorite for Pletcher, his speed number didn’t improve in his last race, but he appears to have the eye of the tiger. One of two Giant’s Causeway’s in this contest, Todd puts his new “A” gamer aboard, Castellano. Heavy Breathing easily handled this distance last out winning by 4-1/2 lengths. Both of his races/wins have been in 6 horse fields, so he is taking on much heavier this go.
#4 Went the Day Well………He has done little wrong (4/2-1-0) so far. Starting his career in England on the lawn with two place finishes, he’s adapted well in his two dirt races at Gulfstream, which leads me to believe the son of Proud Citizen will take to the synthetic. Went the Day Well is 4-1 on the ML and appears to have earned the respect.