Grade III Spiral Stakes Analysis, Turfway Park – 3/23/13

(I apologize in advance for any typos – I’m writing this on my iPad…)

You’ll have to forgive me for only handicapping one race this weekend – the NCAA Tournament has taken up a great deal of my interest this week. That being said, I felt like I needed to take a look at the Spiral Stakes from Turfway Park this afternoon, as it’s the only Kentucky Derby prep for the day. The Sunland Derby will be run tomorrow afternoon at Sunland Park, but I won’t be previewing that one. Anyways – back to Turfway on Saturday…

Mac the Man not only appears to be the speed of the speed in this race, but he also possesses a perfect 3-3 record over the Turfway polytrack. If he gets a soft lead, he could prove to be a tough customer.

Capo Bastone will be making his second start under the training of Todd Pletcher. He’s coming off of an optional claiming victory on a sloppy Gulfstream Park surface in mid February and has every right to take a step in the right direction. Many people have been very high on this horse for quite some time, but I’ll need to see him make some serious improvements today to take him seriously.

General Election won the Jon Battaglia Memorial over the Turfway surface earlier this month in his first attempt on a synthetic surface, and that achievement shouldn’t be taken lightly. I don’t think he’ll win, but he should run respectably.

Uncaptured is making his long-awaited three-year old debut for trainer Mark Casse, and he’s going to need to be ready to roll if he’s got intentions of running the first Saturday in May. He has the benefit of having done the majority of his racing over the polytrack at Woodbine, so you know that the synthetic won’t be a problem. I like him, but his price won’t be very appealing. He’s a pass for me today, but I’m anxious to see what he looks like this afternoon.

Balance the Books holds the class edge over every runner in this field, but the idea of taking a short price on a horse making his first start in more than four months on a new surface is a bet I’d never make in a million years. I love Chad Brown, but there’s no way I’d bet on Balance the Books in a spot like this at the price he’s going to go off at.

My Name is Michael was the favorite in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs last month, a race in which he made a late move but to no avail. He’s probably better than he showed that day, but I’m not sure how good he really is. Joel Rosario stays aboard for this race, so that has to viewed as a vote of confidence for this runner’s ability. I’ll choose to wait and see.

Black Onyx won his first start as a three-year old over the turf at Gulfstream Park, edging clear late in the stretch. He’ll be getting and extra half furlong in this spot, and Joe Bravo should have him in a nice stalking position. At a price sure to be near his morning line of 10/1 or more, I’ve got to take a shot with him. I may not think of him as a realistic Derby contender, but I like Black Onyx in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park this afternoon.

SELECTION: 9 – Black Onyx, Joe Bravo; ML 10-1

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