Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes Roundup

Heavy Breathing is not nominated to the Kentucky Derby but a win today in the $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) could, perhaps, put Starlight Stable back on the trail after their Derby hopes were dashed earlier this year when their 3-year-old star Algorithms was sidelined with an injury.

Installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite, the undefeated Heavy Breathing has never run in a stakes race but he comes into the Vinery off two victories with a combined 12-length win margin.

A son of Giant’s Causeway, Heavy Breathing has a nice pedigree and his Brisnet Speed Figure’s - 91 and 90 - are in the high range I like to see in a young colt that may have potential.

As a 2-year-old, Giant’s Causeway was undefeated in three starts (all at 7-furlongs) winning the Group 3 Futurity Stakes and the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre Stakes. As a 3-year-old, Giant’s Causeway was 6-4-0 in 10 starts, winning from 7- to 10-furlongs and he was the 2000 Cartier Racing Awards European Horse of the Year.

In his last race, Heavy Breathing drew away to a 4¼-length win but finished the 9-furlongs in slow 1:51.23. However, Heavy Breathing appears to be improving with each race and another move forward will make him competitive with this group.

Went The Day Well (4-1) is owned trained by the same connections that won last year’s Vinery with Animal Kingdom (my pick to win the Kentucky Derby), however, another horse owned and trained by those same connections – Howe Great – may have classic potential. His performance in winning the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) put him at the top of my Derby list and I’ll have more on that later in a future blog.

Went The Day Well is an improving young colt that started his racing career in England where he had two back-to-back second-place finishes. In his American debut, Went The Day Well finished off the board with a fourth-place finish and earned a 92 speed figure for that effort. He followed that race with a first-place finish and earned a 93 speed figure for his maiden win.

With the influence of Proud Citizen as the sire and Tiznow as the damsire, Went The Day Well has a pretty good pedigree for route racing and if he continues to improve and move forward he should be competitive in today’s race.

A long shot I like in this race is the maiden Coach Royal (15-1) who struggled as a 2-year-old but finished nicely in his last two races and could be ready to run a good race. And his pedigree is pretty awesome, too, with Lemon Drop Kid as his sire and A. P. Indy as the damsire.

Coach Royal narrowly missed breaking his maiden in his last two races by half a length and if he repeats that form he’ll be competitive.

Russian Greek is young colt I’ve liked in previous races and he looks like an appealing long shot at 10-1 morning line odds. He finished off the board in his last race with a fifth-place finish in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer adds blinkers for today’s race.

Russian Greek was also sired by Giant’s Causeway and his damsire is the Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone. If Russian Greek returns to the form he showed in winning the California Derby, he’ll be competitive in today’s race.

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