FLORENCE, KY – Bettors sent Fast and Accurate off at 24-1 in the Grade 3, $500,000 JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday, and the colt obliged with a confident, 3/4-length win, giving owner Kendall Hansen another shot at the Run for the Roses.
A designated points race for the Kentucky Derby, the 1 1/18-mile Spiral offered 50 points to the winner. Fast and Accurate is not nominated to the Triple Crown, but Hansen indicated that his intention is to pay the $200,000 supplement for late nomination.
Hansen, a northern Kentucky physician, went to the 2012 Kentucky Derby with Hansen the horse, who finished ninth. The Eclipse champion 2-year-old for 2011, he stood at stud in the United States only one season before being sent to South Korea. Hansen the man has worked diligently to gain winners for Hansen the sire from his single U.S. crop.
Mike Maker, who trains Fast and Accurate, also trained Hansen.
“We had so many [Hansen foals] that we were just trying to fill in the blanks,” Maker said, explaining the winner’s entry in a maiden claiming race in December, which he won. “We were trying to get some more winners for Hansen. We had a lot of confidence [coming in to the Spiral].”
Kendall Hansen was also represented in the Spiral Stakes by En Hanse, owned in partnership with Olympic skier Bode Miller. Also by Hansen, En Hanse shot out of post 12 to set a hot pace for the distance, clocking the quarters in :23.22, :46.36, and 1:10.22, before giving way to the winner approaching the stretch. Fast and Accurate’s final time was 1:50.96.
“The race set up beautifully,” said winning rider Tyler Gaffalione. “My horse broke well. I looked to the outside and I saw Mike’s other horse [En Hanse] going to the lead, and he [Maker] had told me if the other one broke better, to just sit behind him. We had a beautiful trip going into the far turn. I put him on the outside, and he just hit another gear. Down the lane, he just kept lengthening in stride.”
Blueridge Traveler finished second after riding the rail and closing hard.
“He’s still a bit green,” said Blueridge Traveler’s jockey, Channing Hill. “He tried all the way to the wire. I really thought I was going to run fourth, then I thought third, then all of a sudden, I thought we might win it. He kept digging, kept grinding. He’s got a long, bright future.”
Blueridge Traveler earned 20 points towards the Kentucky Derby. Just 1/2 length farther back in third, Convict Pike earned 10 points. Kitten’s Cat, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth to earn five points.
Finishing fifth and following were Bronson, Giant Payday, Soglio, Parlor, En Hanse, King and His Court, and Colonel Samsen. Shiraz was a race-day scratch.
Out of the Green Dancer mare It’s Heidi’s Dance, Fast and Accurate was bred in Pennsylvania by John R. Penn. He now has three wins and one second in six starts, with purse earnings of $340,362.
Fast and Accurate returned $15, $22, and $13. Blueridge Traveler brought back $26.60 and $11.60, while Convict Pike paid $8.20 to show.
Quotes for G3 Spiral Stakes
Trainer Michael J. Maker, Fast and Accurate – “We had a lot of confidence. He’s kind of a thin-looking horse, but he had put on some weight (after breaking his maiden).”
(Regarding the decision to run him in a maiden claiming race in December, which he won) “We were trying to get some more winners for (sire) Hansen, and we had so many of them that we were just trying to fill in the blanks.”
Jockey Channing Hill, Blueridge Traveler – “I did my best Calvin Borel impression; I just didn’t get up. He ran good. I was super happy with him. First time Polytrack kind of got him, but otherwise, he was good.”
Trainer Michael Kleier (assistant to Ken McPeek), Blueridge Traveler – “I was very pleased with his effort. He took a lot of sand in his face in the first turn and he still came through very courageously.”
Owner Ross Whipple, Blueridge Traveler – “We were looking for something that had some test to it, and I think this had it. Now, we’ll have to have the wait-and-see approach on what’s next. Could be the Arkansas Derby, could be the Illinois Derby.”
Jockey Angel Cruz, Convict Pike – “I thought he was a winner. He was coming. He waited a little bit, and when he heard horses behind him, he came again. Then he waited again.”