Kasseopia Hopes to Shine in Spiral Stakes


Airoforce is one of the horses Kasseopia will face on Saturday. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

Twelve horses will line up for this year's Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes, the only major Kentucky Derby prep run on an all-weather surface. Leading the field are a number of previous stakes winners, led by Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club winner Airoforce, whose owners paid a $25,000 fee to supplement into the race as he was not originally entered. Surgical Strike won the local prep, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, last month and rates a chance to run well again. Also likely to be competitive are the winner and third place finisher in the Display Stakes last fall over a similar surface – Don't Be So Salty and Crescent Drive. Kasseopia has proven himself at the level, first when he was second in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes last fall and then again in February when third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby. Oscar Nominate won the Black Gold Stakes on turf when last seen and could transfer that form to the surface. Two Step Time just won the Texas Heritage Stakes on turf.  Before that he finished second in a stakes on an all-weather surface and so may have a say in the outcome as well.

Kasseopia has run twice since coming to the U.S. from England, both fine efforts, four months apart. In his stateside debut last fall, Kasseopia finished second in the Grey Stakes, run on the all-weather track at Woodbine. Four months later the colt resurfaced and without a prep, finished third in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate, also on an all-weather surface. His 100 Equibase Speed Figure from the El Camino Real was a career best and within one point of the 101 Airoforce earned last fall winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Since it is likely that Kasseopia will improve in his second start off the layoff, he could win this year's Spiral. Notably, his trainer Graham Motion won this race in 2011 with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

Don't Be So Salty has run twice on all-weather surfaces in his career, winning both times.  His most recent of these was last fall in the Display Stakes at Woodbine, earning a 101 figure. Two months later, Don't Be So Salty made his first start as a three year old, finishing second in the Kitten's Joy Stakes on turf before a ninth place effort in the Palm Beach Stakes. Returning to the surface he has a perfect record on, Don't Be So Salty may only need to repeat his previous two-turn effort from last fall to run well enough to win.

Airoforce started his career on turf, winning twice before a neck defeat in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last fall, earning a career best 106 figure. The following month, on a sloppy dirt track, Airoforce won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes with a 101 figure. In his first start of the year, Airoforce was sent to post as the favorite in the Risen Star Stakes but finished 10th of 11 and was well beaten. As it appears Airoforce runs best on turf or wet dirt, he should run well on the all-weather surface. To that end, his connections are pretty confident and put up $25,000 to make him a supplementary nomination to the race.

The rest of the field with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures: Azar (96), Crescent Drive (99), Diplodocus (99), Jensen (97), Oscar Nominated (95), Ralis (89),  Strike Up the Band (85), Surgical Strike (89), Swagger Jagger (82), That Makes Sense (86) and Two Step Time (93).

My Selections:


Don't Be So Salty


$500,000  Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes 

Saturday, Turfway Park Race 10, Post Time 5:43 p.m. ET

1 1/8 miles, all weather, 3-year-olds







That Makes Sense

Colby Hernandez

D. Wayne Lukas

Robert C. Baker and William L. Mack


Surgical Strike

Orlando Mojica

Ben Colebrook

Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer



Florent Geroux

Larry Jones

Cindy and Larry Jones


Don't Be So Salty

Cornelio Velasquez

Gary Contessa

Platinum Seven LLC Dan Guarino and Julia C. Boutelle


Oscar Nominated

Robby Albarado

Michael Maker

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey


Two Step Time

Mitchell Murrill

Michael Maker

Get Away Farm


Strike Up the Band

Corey Lanerie

Michael Maker

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey



Alan Garcia

Graham Motion

Team Valor International and Gary Barber


Swagger Jagger

Francisco Torres

Michael Maker

Warner Thoroughbreds Lewis III Lewis Setzer Setzer et al



Albin Jimenez

Mark Casse

John C. Oxley



Corey Nakatani

Doug O'Neill

Reddam Racing



Manuel Franco

Todd Pletcher

Alto Racing, LLC


Crescent Drive

Leandro Goncalves

Tom Amoss

Paul Van Doren



Channing Hill

Richard Baltas

Bloom Racing Stable and Head of Plains Partners

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