Road to the Kentucky Derby makes its way to Kentucky with Saturday’s Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park


Jeff Greenhill’s 10-1 Mac the Man is the local favorite. He’s undefeated at Turfway Park and won the one mile 96 Rocks Stakes in his last start, his first attempt at a route. He’s shown a versatility to run on the lead or rate just off the leaders and will retain Turfway’s leading rider, Norberto Arroyo, Jr., as his pilot. Whether he’ll become a Kentucky Derby contender or not, this may be a horse for the course with the potential to take down his more experienced rivals.

“His races at Turfway have been visually impressive,” said Greenhill in a national conference call earlier this week.  “He's laid down some pretty impressive speed figures. The big question is what has he beaten, and the other thing is he's won—I think he won the two six-and-a-half furlong races without ever essentially being hit, and then Norberto said he essentially tapped him on the shoulder twice in the long race to remind him he was going two turns.  So what I would say about the Turfway races are they looked good and he came out of them great; not really spent, bounced around the shed row the next day. And so I'm like everybody else, ‘Is Mac the Man for real, or has he just managed to win three at Turfway Park and just be another three-year-old?’ And I'm anxious to find out the answer to that question.”

The deep Spiral field offers plenty of longshots worthy of consideration, including My Name Is Michael and Black Onyx. My Name Is Michael, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, was third behind Falling Sky and Dynamic Sky in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 2. He earned a Brisnet speed figure of 89 for that race, which doesn’t sound too impressive. However, that race was over the dirt and in his prior two synthetic starts he earned numbers in the high 90s. Going back to a synthetic surface may be what this Macho Uno colt needs to get a win.