The Road to the Kentucky Derby comes to Kentucky on Saturday for the Grade 3 $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes. Mark Casse’s Kentucky Juvenile Cup winner, Uncaptured, heads a field of 12 in Turfway Park’s premiere event at the Florence, Ky. racetrack.
Uncaptured has six wins in seven starts, including victories in the Grade 3 Iroquois and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Cup, both run at Churchill Downs. Regular rider Miguel Mena will be in the irons Saturday when Uncaptured makes his three-year-old debut and, if he returns to the form he showed last year, he should be the one to beat. So many of this year’s three-year-olds have returned to provide less than stellar performances in their first starts for the year, e.g., Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby’s second place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes, Normandy Invasion’s fifth place finish in the Risen Star, and Overanalyze’s fifth place in the Gotham Stakes. Maybe Uncaptured will be the one that doesn’t miss a beat, but at a morning line of 3-1, there’s more value to be had by others in this race.
Balance the Books is second choice on the morning line at odds of 7-2. This Chad Brown runner will also make his three-year-old debut on Saturday. He finished third, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, in his last out. Additionally, he has two wins and a second place finish in his four lifetime starts, all over the turf course. Since the turf runners generally perform well over the Polytrack surface, Balance the Books may fare well on the Turfway track, assuming the long layoff is not an issue. Jockey Julien Leparoux will be aboard for the ride.