Turfway Park: The Grade III, $550,000 Spiral at 1 1/8 miles (Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 50-20-10-5)
While the Spiral runs the risk of being racing’s version of the Edsel, it did draw a solid field this year with runners from name barns like Amoss, Casse, Maker and Pletcher, so there’s some potential here, no doubt. And while the next Animal Kingdom probably isn’t in the field, there’s some talent and up-and-comers who have shown a lot of promise. Shipping halfway across the country and outside of California for the first time is never easy, but #11 METABOSS stepped up his game when he won the GIII El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields last time on the Tapeta and will appreciate the expected hot pace today. Bonde-trained Street Boss colt has answered every question they’ve asked so far and seems to be still improving, and another move forward today would make him tough to deny; mows them all down.
Horse for the course fans won’t have to look far as #1 ROYAL SON aired by 5 1/4 lengths in his local and Poly debut when blinkers were added for Pletcher, and he should be in front early, but wiring this group on the engine seems like a tall order, as there’s a ton of speed signed on. If they let him walk for the first half-mile, he’ll likely never come back to them, but with pressure to his outside, at an underlaid price, too, it’s best to make sure that last was no fluke; underneath only.
There’s no doubt that #9 CONQUEST TYPHOON needed his last, when he was third to ‘Boss off the layoff in the El Camino, so you’ve got every reason to think he moves forward today for Casse, especially since he showed high promise on the fake stuff as a 2-year-old. Of course, he better improve if he wants to handle the big shooters here, and from an outside draw with a tricky pace scenario, he might find himself in a tough spot trying to press the speed and hold off the closers; willing to make him prove it on top.
If you’re looking for a price, you could do worse than taking a shot with #4 WIRELESS FUTURE, who has won three straight on turf and dirt for Amoss and is certainly on the upswing for a barn hitting at 33% on the year. Scat Daddy colt will test stakes foes for the first time but has shown some versatility and figures to trip out nicely just off the pace; eligible to spice up the exotics.