Spiral Stakes Picks and Analysis: Playing Against Favorite Royal Son

2015 Spiral Stakes Picks and Analysis – Playing Against Favorite Royal Son

The Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral-G3

by Ken Strong, Horse Racing Handicapper, Predictem.com

Race 11, Turfway Park, Saturday, March 21, 2015

3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8-miles, Polytrack, Purse: $550,000

Spiral Stakes Picks

1. Metaboss

2. Conquest Typhoon

3. Wireless Future

4. Dubai Sky

5. Another Lemon Drop

Spiral Stakes Analysis

The 44th running of the Spiral Stakes at Turfway is unlikely to produce the Kentucky Derby winner this year, but it does offer a chance to cash at a price against an overbet favorite.

Royal Son will likely be favored at post time based on the 97 Beyer Speed Figure he recorded winning the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway three weeks ago, but he did that by setting a slow pace on the lead after putting away favorite The Great War, who bled early in the race. The Turfway surface was also kind to speed that day, as it will likely be again in the Spiral.

We’re thinking Royal Son’s speed figure was inflated by circumstances in the Battaglia and will try to beat him at an underlay price. He has yet to prove he can win without the lead and there are a number of horses in the Spiral that could apply early pressure including Big Family, Wireless Future, Watchyourownrobber, Conquest Typhoon and even Dubai Sky if he feels like it.

Most of the riders in this race know the track has been favoring speed, and for many, this is their last spring chance at the big money. They know their horses are not good enough to run in the Kentucky Derby, and getting the lead in the Spiral gives them a shot at a great payday.


Assuming a duel develops, El Camino Real Derby winner Metaboss is the most logical horse to take advantage of that scenario. H’s won two in a row in California on turf and synthetic, his numbers are improving, he was impressive winning the El Camino, and his trainer Jeff Bonde is sharp. He shouldn’t be too far off the pace, but keep in mind he will have to run into the teeth of a speed bias. Watch the earlier races on the card. If the track is favoring closers at all, his chances improve.

The horse that ran third in the El Camino, Conquest Typhoon, could also improve enough to win the Spiral as he makes his second start off an 8-week layoff. Conquest Typhoon was too sharp in the El Camino and forced the pace wide before tiring late to lose the place by a neck as Metaboss rolled by. Top jockey Mike Smith is likely to sit just back of the speed in the Spiral and make his move late on the final turn. He might be able to open up into the stretch and force Metaboss to come and catch him.

A rallier we also like a bit in here despite the speed bias is Another Lemon Drop. He finished with good energy going 7 1/2-furlongs on the turf in the Black Gold at Fair Grounds in his last start and has faced some good horses in the past including Dortmund and International Star. And he’s a proven winner at the distance.

The two most interesting horses in the race are Wireless Future and Dubai Sky, both of whom are trained by the best in the business. Wireless Future has won three in a row, and is conditioned by Tom Amoss, who is operating at a 33% win clip. In his last start going a mile at Fair Grounds in an allowance race, he ran away from the field and recorded an 86 Beyer Speed Figure. He has speed and he’s confident right now, which is why he’s taking his first shot in a stakes here.

Dubai Sky is trained by Bill Mott, whose credentials are among the best in the history of racing. Dubai Sky has never run on anything but turf, but Mott doesn’t run horses where they don’t belong, so he must think this horse will handle Polytrack. Dubai Sky is not a flashy type, he’s more of a grinder. He has speed, but is also proven from off the pace on the turf. He won the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes by a dueling head going a mile on the turf at Gulfstream Park in his last start on January 24, and he’ll get Lasix for the first time in the Spiral. Considering his tough wide post, he might be best played up and down in the exactas.

We’ll play Metaboss to win over Conquest Typhoon, Wireless Future, Dubai Sky and Another Lemon Drop and use favorite Royal Son only in the third and fourth spots in the Spiral Trifecta and Superfecta. If the favorite runs first or second, we lose. We’re okay with that. We’re here to make a score.

Aren’t we all?