Conquest Typhoon, third in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) ships from California and is the one to beat in Saturday’s $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral (G3) at Turfway Park.
The Spiral is one of two Road to the Derby points races this weekend, with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs for the top four finishers in each race.
On Sunday, a field of eight will line up in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) at Sunland Park with Derby points up for grabs.
A dozen were entered in the Spiral, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin announced that 4-1 co-second choice Imperia, who was fifth in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds in his last outing, will scratch, reducing the field to 11.
The Todd Pletcher trained Royal Son is the 7-2 morning line favorite. The son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Tiznow took to polytrack, winning the John Battaglia Memorial on Feb. 28 by 5 ¼ lengths.
Metaboss is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line and is coming in off a win in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields over the Tapeta surface.
California shippers have not fared well since Turfway Park went from dirt to polytrack in 2006. The last five Spiral winners made their previous start at Gulfstream Park.
While Conquest Typhoon is one of two California shippers, the colt has shown he can run well over polytrack. He ran second in the Clarendon Stakes in his debut and ran a good second behind International Star in the Grey Stakes (G3) on poly last fall.
Let’s head out to Turfway Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Turfway Park Race 11 The Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral G3 Post time 6:28 CT
9 Conquest Typhoon 5-1
1 Royal Son 7-2
5 Another Lemon Drop 6-1
11 Metaboss 4-1
Conquest Typhoon is one of two in here shipping in from California and Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith is along for the ride as well. Last out in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) on Tapeta the colt dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish third, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by the winner Metaboss. The colt landed in the exacta in five of his six starts last year, wining on turf and running second in a pair of stakes at Woodbine over polytrack.
He won the Cecil B. Demille (G3) two back on grass at Del Mar and did it from off the pace, a strategy he may be suited to go back to here in this spot. With the scratch of Imperia, we will not see the 5-1 morning line, we will have to settle for shorter, but this colt looks capable of moving forward off his last effort.
Royal Son earned the top last out speed fig when he trounced the field in the John Battaglia Memorial, which was his first start on polytrack. The colt broke inward coming out of the gate, set the early fractions and drew away to win by 5 ¼ lengths.
He bounced back off a seventh place finish in the Sam F. Davis (G3) two back at Tampa Bay Downs in his stakes debut. The colt added blinkers last out and with the surface switch he ran a speed fig that was 22 points higher than his previous best. The question is whether he regresses off his big effort and his price is going to end up on the light side.
Another Lemon Drop made a good late rally and came up just a half-length short of winning the Black Gold last out going 7 ½ furlongs on turf at Fair Grounds. Two back in his stakes debut in the Lecomte (G3) he came up the inside with a good move and then did not have enough punch left late in a fourth place finish. The winner International Star returned to win the Risen Star (G2) in his next outing on Feb. 21. He has handled turf, slop and dirt, and he could be a threat here if he takes to the fake stuff.
WIN: Conquest Typhoon to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 1,9 / 1,5,9,11
TRIFECTA: 1,9 / 1,5,9,11 / 1,4,5,9,11
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