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Road to the Derby Program Analysis

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THE HORSESHOE CASINO CINCINNATI SPIRAL STAKES

Reminder: There is a Hawthorne Road to the Derby race tomorrow! The Sunland Derby, at Sunland Park, will run tomorrow, Sunday, March 24, at 4:40 p.m. CST.

He Said

House Handicapper

 

She Said

Angela Hermann

 

 

Plenty of advance interest ensured a full field in Saturday’s $550,000 Grade 3 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes and 12 runners are scheduled to start.

 

Mark Casse’s Uncaptured has been installed as the tepid 3-1 morning line favorite after a near-perfect 2-year-old season when he won six of his seven races, most notably the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill in his final start of the year. Few were impressed with that victory since the running time was so slow but he also took the Grade III Iroquois in his previous race, beating probable Derby contender Overanalyze by over five lengths.

 

Uncaptured suffered a bruised foot following that victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club but he has reportedly fully recovered and has been working well for his return to the Derby trail. Will he be the same runner this year? Guess we’ll find out.

 

Capo Bastone, from the Todd Pletcher empire, had a tougher timer than expected when he made his 3-year-old debut in a first level allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream back in February but he can’t be disregarded. His third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, behind Shanghai Bobby and He’s Had Enough might be a better measure of his abilities.

 

Always have to give due to a “horse for the course” and Mac the Man, trained by local phenom Jeff Greenhill, appears to be just that. He was a useful sort last year but he improved dramatically since getting to Turfway and he won all of his local races by daylight. Would expect him to run as fast as he can for as long as he can and dare the rest to catch him.

 

 

The Spiral Stakes has returned to prominence as a Derby prep race in recent years.  Producing the winner & fourth place finisher in the Kentucky Derby in the past two years has revived this stop on the Derby Trail, and the field is bulging with competition as a result. 

 

Balance the Books has a great kick but has been off for a long time and will need a perfect trip to cash in on this race.  This is also a much publicized “plan B” for him.  The pace was pretty average in the local prep, the John Battaglia Memorial.  The stretch drive wasn’t anything to write home about, so if you like one from that race you like them all. 

 

Long laid-off favorite Uncaptured could find himself up front as a fresh horse but he is likely to get bet down to near even money odds.  The form of the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stake he won at Churchill isn’t entirely panning out, so why not take a fresh race at a bit of a price and hope the pace is at least honest? 

 

My Name is Michael took on a Tampa surface that horses love or hate, and his late rally has almost scored him a couple of big ones.  He may have just found a field in the Spiral that he can beat.

 

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