Turfway Park will be host to the Vinery Spiral Stakes tomorrow live on NBC Sports Network at 5pm ET. All 12 of the horses running are in need of Graded Stakes Earnings to try and qualify for the Kentucky Derby on May 5th at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, presented by Yum! Brands.
Any time there is horse racing that is nationally televised I tend to get excited, mostly just because anyone can watch! The sport needs to get back in the public eye, even the NHL after it’s lockout recovered by offering it’s broadcasts to Versus which is now NBCSN. If NBC can bring hockey back from the dead then why can’t it do the same, if not more for horse racing? The Vinery Spiral stakes is the start four consecutive weeks of LIVE Kentucky Derby Prep races that will be brought to us by the NBC networks and I can’t thank them enough! Who would rather watch a race streaming on their laptop or PC when they can watch it on their big screen and home theater with a bunch of friends while having some cold beverages? Nobody!
Here is the complete 4 week Kentucky Derby Prep schedule on NBC:
March 24th – Vinery Stakes at Turfway Park on NBC Sports Network
March 31st – Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on NBC Sports Network
April 7th – Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park on NBC
April 14th – Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on CNBC
If you would like to see the current odds you can click here for Kentucky Derby Betting
Turfway Park will be offering a loaded card tomorrow with the Vinery Spiral Stakes post time set for 5:45pm ET for this $500,000 purse on the Polytrack surface. Most of you will remember Animal Kingdom from last year but very few of you will recall it was the Spiral Stakes win that got him into the Kentucky Derby.
With this year’s 12 relatively unknown horses it is said that it’s anyone’s race but I think we can cut it down to four or five serious contenders
- Mr. Prankster
- Russian Greek
- Heavy Breathing
- Went The Day Well
- Holiday Promise
Holiday Promise could be the one that nobody is looking at but could run really well tomorrow. Holiday Promise tends to favor the synthetic surface over dirt and I think the extra distance running 1 1/8th miles is also in his favor as this is the time of year when stretching out is tough for most horses looking to get into the Kentucky Derby. When Todd Pletcher was asked about Holidays Promise he said “We purchased him last year at OBS in the 2-year-olds in training sale, so he performed there on the synthetic and worked well. Then they got back to WinStar and they thought he handled that [all-weather] surface well also, so that’s sort of the angle there, and we think that the mile and an eighth should help him out also.”
If you are a fan of Graham Motion and Animal Kingdom last year then you will definitely want to take a look at Went The Day Well who made his first starts in England on the turf before being shipped over to the United States. “I’m very comfortable with where he’s at,” said Motion. “He’s benefited from his races in this country. I’ve seen improvement in him, and significant improvement after his fourth-place finish [Feb. 4]. In some ways, he’s been similar to Animal Kingdom, who was still very green going into the Spiral. I never could have imagined he’d be a Derby winner.”
My Picks for the Vinery Spiral Stakes are:
Win: Russian Greek
Place: Mr. Prankster
Show: Holiday Promise