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Tuesday, March 4, 2014 6:34 PM
  • Spiral Stakes


FLORENCE, Ky. (March 4, 2014) – The 43rd running of the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, scheduled for March 22, closed Saturday with 137 nominations.

The Grade 3 Spiral Stakes is one of 34 Thoroughbred races in the United States and Dubai designated as qualifiers for the Kentucky Derby, which is limited to 20 starters.  The Spiral Stakes offers 50 points to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to the third-place finisher, and five to the horse who finishes fourth. The race for 3-year-olds covers 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack and is limited to 12 starters.

As has been the case in recent years, Todd Pletcher’s powerhouse national operation has the most nominations from any one stable with 18. Among the contingent are Vinceremos and Harpoon, respectively first and second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Feb. 1; Gala Award, game winner of the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream on Saturday; and Monopolize and King Cyrus, respectively second and third in the Smooth Air Stakes at Calder on Sunday. Also among Pletcher’s nominees is Constitution, a Tapit colt campaigned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stable who is two-for-two in tough sophomore races at Gulfstream. Pletcher has twice won the Spiral Stakes, scoring in 2001 with Balto Star and in 2005 with Flower Alley.

Trainer Mike Maker also has won the Spiral Stakes twice, first with With a City in 2006 and again in 2010 with Dean’s Kitten. Among his eight nominees this year are General a Rod, second, beaten a head, in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream last month after winning the Gulfstream Park Derby in January, and Vicar’s in Trouble, who won the LeComte Stakes (G3) and followed with a third in the Risen Star (G2), both at Fair Grounds. Also on Maker’s list is Harry’s Holiday, who won Turfway’s first prep for the Spiral, the 96ROCK Stakes, and was third in the second prep, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on Saturday.

Trainer Wayne Catalano saddled the winner of this year’s Battaglia Memorial, Solitary Ranger, as well as the runner-up, Poker Player; the latter won the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland as a 2-year-old. The two are Catalano’s only nominations to the Spiral this year.

Also notable among this year’s nominees is Tamarando, who won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity as a 2-year-old and on Feb. 15 added the Grade 3 El Camino Real in his second start as a 3-year-old. Tamarando is the sole nominee from the barn of California-based trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Other lone representatives are Noble Moon, winner of the Jerome Handicap (G2) for trainer Leah Gyarmati; Wildcat Red, winner of both the Hutcheson (G3) and Fountain of

Youth (G2) for trainer Jose Garofallo: and Gary Contessa’s trainee Uncle Sigh, runner-up in the Gotham and Withers stakes, both Grade 3 at Aqueduct.

Other Grade 3 winners nominated to the Spiral are Ami’s Holiday for trainer Josie Carroll, Bobby’s Kitten for trainer Chad Brown, and Cleburne, one of eight nominated by Dale Romans.

California-based John Sadler nominated four to the Spiral, including Robert B. Lewis (G2) winner Candy Boy, San Vincente (G2) winner Kobe’s Back, and Sham (G3) runner-up Kristo.

Also based in California, trainer Doug O’Neill nominated two, notably Bond Holder, winner of the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at two.

The full list of horses nominated to the Spiral Stakes and their past performances are available at

Entries for the Spiral Stakes will be drawn Wed., March 19, at an invitation-only event at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati.  Entries also will be drawn at that time for the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks, the filly counterpart to the Spiral Stakes also run March 22 and a designated 85-point qualifier for the Kentucky Oaks. Nominations to the Bourbonette Oaks close March 13.

The Spiral Stakes was established in 1972 by John Battaglia, general manager of what was then known as Latonia. Battaglia envisioned a race for 3-year-olds who would “spiral up” to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and then to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. On the demanding Triple Crown trail, the Spiral Stakes has produced two Kentucky Derby winners, Lil E. Tee in 1992 and Animal Kingdom in 2011, and several winners of the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Winners of numerous other Grade 1 races also have come out of the Spiral Stakes.

Tickets for the Spiral Stakes are available at or by calling (859) 371-0200.


About Turfway Park
Established in 1959, Turfway Park is a premier Thoroughbred race track in Northern Kentucky that offers live racing from December through March and simulcast wagering year-round. Known for innovation, Turfway in 2005 became the first track in North America to install an all-weather surface for racing. Turfway features a one-mile racing oval and stabling for approximately 1,000 horses.

About Horseshoe Casino Cincinnat
Rock Gaming LLC and Caesars Entertainment Corporation opened the $400 million full-service Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati in March 2013.  The property includes three outward facing restaurants to engage pedestrians and support existing downtown businesses, cultural events, nightlife and sports attractions. The casino employs nearly 1,700 team members and features 2,000 slot machines, 85 table games, and a World Series of Poker room, along with a feature bar, a quick-casual eatery and a buffet restaurant. For more information please visit

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