Handsome Mike is the co-second choice in the field at 4-1. The beaten favorite who finished third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby in February, will try again to grab the graded stakes earnings he needs to give him a spot in the Kentucky Derby. In four attempts, Handsome Mike has not been able to do better than his second place finish in last November’s Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park. Time is running out for this son of Scat Daddy.
An early Derby prep wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of a lightly-raced maiden winner. The Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes won’t disappoint as trainer Todd Pletcher sends out Heavy Breathing. Installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite, this son of Giant’s Causeway is two-for-two in as many starts and will make his first attempt on the synthetic track. Owner Starlight Racing, who campaigns the injured Algorithms, must be hoping that Heavy Breathing will be a formidable replacement and take the group to the Derby. A classic pedigree for the surface and distance plus impressive wins by a combined total of 12 lengths, indicates Heavy Breathing may leave his connections breathless.
Rounding out the field are Russian Greek, Red Jack, Holiday Promise, All Squared Away, Ill Conceived, Coach Royal, Tizanexpense, and Mr. Prankster.
The race is the 10th on Turfway’s Saturday card with a scheduled post time of 5:45 p.m. The race can be seen as part of “The Road to the Derby” series on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). The one-hour broadcast begins at 5:00 p.m. and will include Turfway’s Bourbonette Stakes for three-year-old fillies.
Only 90 minutes from Louisville, Turfway Park offers Louisvillians their first chance to see a Kentucky Derby contender up close and personal. For directions to Turfway Park and more information about the track, visit their website.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby