Rain Keeps Spiral Hopefuls Off the Track

Three days of heavy rain in Kentucky forced Turfway Park to close the track to training Wednesday morning, keeping two local contenders for the Lane's End Spiral Stakes (gr. II) under the shedrow.

Turfway Park's marquee race for 3-year-olds prepping for the Kentucky Derby, will be run at 1 1/8-miles on Saturday. The $500,000 race will be shown on tape delay from 6:30-7:30 EST on ESPN2.

Jeri and Sam Knighton's Request for Parole, winner of the WEBN Frog Stakes and John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway, walked the shedrow of trainer Steve Margolis. The Judge T C colt jogged over the waterlogged surface Tuesday morning. "I'll be able to train him Thursday and Friday," Margolis said. "This shouldn't make any difference. Once they're fit, it doesn't matter if you miss a day of training. You want to keep them fit and sound."

Request for Parole will be the likely second choice in what is anticipated as an eight-horse field for the Lane's End Spiral. Post positions will be drawn Thursday at a special luncheon. "I'd rather have a middle hole, five or six," Margolis said. Margolis has enlisted the services of Hall of Fame trainer Pat Day to ride Request for Parole. "There's not too much you have to tell Pat Day," he said. "This colt has tactical speed. If there is not much pace, he can be closer to the lead."

Perfect Drift, second to Request for Parole in the Battaglia, stayed dry at his Louisville base Wednesday morning, walking the shedrow at the Trackside training center. Trainer Murray Johnson said he plans to give the son of Dynaformer a light gallop Thursday morning. "He has great speed, but he has gotten to the front end quicker than we had wanted him to," Johnson said. "He's learning to hang back farther and stay there longer."

Another local hopeful, Benny the Hawk, walked under tack for an hour Wednesday morning for trainer Philip Marino. Marino said missed days of training will be of no concern, as Marino gallops the son of Benny the Dip three miles a day. In his last start, Benny the Hawk was fourth in the Battaglia.

Likely race favorite Saratoga Blues galloped over a sloppy track at Laurel Park Wednesday morning. The Whirlaway Stakes winner will get on a van Thursday morning for the nine-hour trip to Turfway. Kim Dutrow, wife and assistant to trainer Anthony Dutrow, will arrive Thursday afternoon to oversee the Twining colt's final preparations. Mario Pino has the mount.

Other Spiral aspirants are My Man Ryan, who galloped 1 5/8 miles at Aqueduct; Straight Gin, who jogged at Keeneland for trainer Nick Zito; Gold Dollar and Azillion were scheduled to fly out of California on Thursday.