Field Limited to 12
Horses currently under consideration for the Spiral are:
1. Blueridge Traveler (trainer Kenny McPeek/owner Horizon Stables)
2. Bronson (Todd Pletcher/Mathis Stable LLC)
3. Colonel Samsen (Eoin Harty/Casner Racing, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, Corey Johnsen)
4. Convict Pike (Rusty Arnold/Ashbrook Farm)
5. En Hanse (Mike Maker/Kendall Hansen, Bode Miller)
6. Fast and Accurate (Mike Maker/Kendall Hansen)
7. Giant Payday (Ian Wilkes/Lothenbach Stables)
8. Hot Dad (Mike Maker/ Warner Thoroughbreds, Jim Setzer, Brett Setzer, Triple R Racing)
9. Impressive Edge (Dale Romans/N and K Racing
10. Kitten’s Cat (Joe Sharp/Ken and Sarah Ramsey)
11. Parlor (Eddie Kenneally/Brad Anderson)
12. Sailing Home (Mark Casse/Conrad Farms)
13. Soglio (Graham Motion/Flaxman Holdings Ltd.)
14. Star Empire (GB) (Wesley Ward/Belinda Bateman)
The maximum number of starters for the Spiral Stakes is 12, with two also-eligibles. Preference is given first to graded stakes winners in order (I, II, III), then to stakes winners and finally to highest career earnings. Horses nominated to the Spiral Stakes are also automatically nominated to the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway Stakes.
Post position for the Spiral Stakes and will be drawn Wednesday.
Among those likely among the favorites is Kitten’s Cat, trained by Joe Sharp for Ken and Sarah Ramsey. By Kitten’s Joy, Kitten’s Cat has been in the money in six of his seven starts, all on the turf, and has three wins. Two of those wins came in stakes: the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November and the Kitten’s Joy stakes at Gulfstream Park in February. He was second, beaten a length, in his most recent start, the March 4 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream.
The Spiral would be Kitten’s Cat’s first start on a synthetic surface, but of the Ramseys’ three Spiral Stakes winners, two of them -- Oscar Nominated last year and Dean’s Kitten in 2010 -- were also by Kitten’s Joy.
“Kitten’s Joys seem to do well on it. With his record, I’d expect him to be one of the favorites,” said Sharp.
Kitten's Cat was not early-nominated to the Triple Crown.
Regular rider Luis Saez will be in for the mount. Kitten’s Cat will ship from Gulfstream to Trackside Training Center in Louisville on Tuesday and will ship to Turfway on race day.
Blueridge Traveler will make his stakes debut in the Spiral for trainer Ken McPeek. Described by assistant trainer Michael Kleier as a “big, strapping colt with a big, long stride,” Blueridge Traveler has a win and two seconds in four starts, the last three on dirt. In his most recent start he closed fast from far back to break his maiden by a head at Oaklawn Park for owner Horizon Stables.
Speaking from Dubai, where he will saddle Vettori Kin in the UAE Derby, McPeek said, “Blueridge Traveler is coming up to the race really well. He wants more distance, and the mile and an eighth ought to suit him. I think he’ll like the Polytrack. Should be an exciting weekend.”
Blueridge Traveler, who is Triple Crown-nominated, will ship to Keeneland from Oaklawn on Wednesday and ship to Turfway on Saturday. Channing Hill has the call.
Trainer Graham Motion has three wins in the Spiral: back-to-back with Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Went the Day Well in 2012, and with Adriano in 2008. He expects to start stakes-placed California shipper Soglio in this year’s Spiral. Soglio is Triple Crown-nominated.
Beaten less than a length by Vending Machine in the Eddie Logan Stakes in December at Santa Anita, Soglio was most recently a close third against allowance company at the same track on Feb. 5. All of his starts have come on turf. Trevor McCarthy will ride.
"He's been doing well,” said Motion. “We were going to run him in an allowance race at Santa Anita, but he came up with a foot abscess so we had to scratch. Since then he's been doing very well and working well. This race is one that I've had in the back of my mind with him for a while. I think that the mile and an eighth will help him, so we're giving it a shot."
Soglio will ship to Turfway Wednesday evening. He will be teamed with jockey Trevor McCarthy for the first time on Saturday.
Edited Turfway Park release