A full field of 12 is expected when Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) winner Uncaptured makes his 2013 debut March 23 in the $550,000 Horseshoe Cincinnati Casino Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park.
A winner of three stakes on the Polytrack at Woodbine last season, John Oxley's Uncaptured will try the Polytrack at Turfway in the 42nd edition of the Spiral where he will break from post 3 as the 3-1 morning-line favorite.
"We hoped to have had a race by now," said trainer Mark Casse. "I had him training at Palm Meadows (Training Center in Boyton Beach, Florida) on the dirt. The main track at Ocala is all-weather (SafeTrack), so we moved him up there, so it would be easier on his feet. He's been training on the synthetic for the last couple of months, so the Spiral seemed the best place to bring him back. He's already won twice at Churchill on the dirt, so we know he likes it."
Bred in Ontario by William Graham, Uncaptured, by Lion Heart—Captivating, by Arch closed his juvenile season with an easy win in the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, followed by a narrow victory there in the Kentucky Jockey Club.
The 1 1/8-mile Spiral is worth 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) system used to determine the field for the Louisville classic if more than 20 horses are entered.
Awaiting Uncaptured will be grade II winner Balance the Books. Trained by Chad Brown, Balance the Books also enters the Spiral off a layoff. The Lemon Drop Kid colt will be making his first start since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.
Also shipping in will be Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Capo Bastone, who finished third in last year's Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and enters off an allowance win at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Todd Pletcher, jockey John Velazquez will have to guide the son of Street Boss from the outside post.
Local horses Mac the Man and General Election will enter off of stakes wins at Turfway Park.
Trainer Jeff Greenhill will try to secure the biggest victory of his career with Mac the Man, a son of El Corredor he owns with his wife Sherri and several other partners. Mac the Man has won three straight races at Turfway including back-to-back stakes victories.
"He's training great," Jeff Greenhill said. "I put another horse in front of him the other day and he galloped by him at the three-sixteenth pole. He galloped out great. Of course I told the exercise rider on the other horse that if he beat him, he should just keep on going and don't come back to the barn.
"We'll find out, we'll find out in this race. If you believe the speed figures, he's very good."
WinStar Farm's General Election enters off a narrow victory in the March 2 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes. The close runner-up from that Spiral prep, Giant Finish also will enter the Spiral.
Thanks in part to a new sponsor, the Spiral carries its largest purse in a decade. For a look back at a particularly memorable edition of Turfway's Derby prep, click here.
$550,000 Horseshoe Cincinnati Casino Stakes (gr. III, race 10, approximate post time 5:48 p.m. EDT) 3YO, 1 1/8 miles, Polytrack
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Odds
1. Balance the Books (KY), J. Leparoux, C. Brown, 7-2
2. Channel Isle (KY), J. Court. D. Lukas, 15-1
3. Uncaptured (ON), M. Mena, M. Casse, 3-1
4. Fear the Kitten (IL), R. Napravnik, M. Maker, 15-1
5. My Name Is Michael (KY), J. Rosario, W. Mott, 10-1
6. For Greater Glory (KY), R. Albarado, S. Hobby, 20-1
7. Mac the Man (KY), N. Arroyo Jr., J. Greenhill, 5-1
8. General Election (KY), A. Jimenez, K. Gorder, 12-1
9. Black Onyx KY), J. Bravo, K. Breen, 10-1
10. Giant Finish (KY), V. Espinoza, A. Dutrow, 15-1
11. Taken by the Storm (KY), A. Garcia, K. McPeek, 12-1
12. Capo Bastone (KY), J. Velazquez, T. Pletcher, 9-2
All runners carry 123 pounds