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Mar 20, 2015

Wide open field of 12 for Spiral Stakes


Florence, KY ( - Saturday's $550,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park offers an evenly matched and wide open field of 12 3-year-olds.

The 1 1/8-mile Spiral is an important race on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Winning the stakes is worth 50 points for a start in the Run for the Roses on May 2.

Getting the nod as the 7-2 morning line favorite is Royal Son, winner of Turfway's John Battaglia Memorial three weeks ago. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Royal Son will leave from the inside post with Rodney Prescott again riding.

Royal Son, owned by WinStar Farm, won the Battaglia Memorial by 5 1/4 lengths as an overlooked 9-1 front runner. The colt finished second in each of his first three career starts, but was elevated to winner in his 2015 debut effort at Gulfstream Park. He finished seventh in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 31.

Royal Son has earned $133,825 in five career starts.

Imperia and Metaboss are the 4-1 co-second selections for the Spiral. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Imperia will start from post 6 with jockey Joel Rosario and Metaboss, trained by Jeff Bonde, will be ridden by Alex Solis from post 11.

Owned by Godolphin Racing, Imperia is coming off a disappointing fifth as the 3-2 favorite in last month's Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. The colt broke his maiden in last September's Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park on the turf. He was 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on Oct. 31 and second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes over Churchill Downs' main track on Nov. 29.

Imperia has banked $191,404 in five starts.

Metaboss has won his last two starts, including the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 14 over Golden Gate Fields' synthetic main track. The colt's bankroll sits at $177,520 with two wins from five starts. He has 10 points in the Kentucky Derby points system.

Metaboss notched his maiden victory on Jan. 4 over Santa Anita's turf course. He finished third in his debut race at Santa Anita last October and three weeks later was fourth to Ocho Ocho Ocho in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. At Del Mar on Nov. 29 he was second in a maiden race on the Jimmy Durante Turf course.

"In the sprints he was in with tough horses with a lot of speed but when we stretched him out you could see the difference," said Bonde. "When you've got a 3-year-old, you're hoping you can make it to the Kentucky Derby. There are a lot of steppingstones on the way, and you have to make sure you're at your best on that given day."

Here is the field for the Spiral Stakes in post position order: Royal Son, Rodney Prescott, 7-2; Big Family, Albin Jimenez, 30-1; Watchyourownbobber, Rajiv Maragh, 20-1; Wireless Future, Florent Geroux, 12-1; Another Lemon Drop, Calvin Borel, 6-1; Imperia, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Magic of Believing, Shane Laviolette, 20-1; Task Force Glory, Rafael Hernandez, 30-1; Conquest Typhoon, Mike Smith, 5-1; Firespike, Miguel Mena, 20-1; Metaboss, Alex Solis, 4-1 and Dubai Sky, Jose Lezcano, 8-1. All starters will carry 123 pounds.

Post time for the Spiral Stakes will be approximately 6:28 p.m. ET.

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