Player Quick Pick: G3 Spiral Stakes 3/22/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

March 22nd, 2014

Turfway Park race 11 | 6:28 pm ET G3 Spiral Stakes for 3yo going 1-1/8 mi. (A)

1-Big Bazinga: big effort sprinting on the turf last out 2-Asserting Bear: stepped up with good effort against open stakes company 3-Poker Player: will be rolling late 4-Tamarando: CA shipper has yet to run a bad race 5-Coastline: has to get back to his precocious self 6-Smart Cover: forgettable effort off the layoff on the turf last out 7-All Tied Up: steps up in first non-turf start 8-Solitary Ranger: consistent speed in off dominating win 9-Almost Famous: when he's right, he's really right 10-Harry's Holiday: talented sprinter tries routing again 11-We Miss Artie: last out was the exception to Always Runs His Race 12-Arctic Slope: given time off lackluster efforts

One of my favorite moments as a handicapper came in the 2011 Spiral: I'd been an Animal Kingdom fan since just after his debut and to see him run a monster effort (find traffic three times, duel down the lane, pull clear) in this race made him my instant Derby Horse. 

In this year's 1-1/8 mi. (A) edition, a solid field of twelve will go postward. Shipping in from California is Tamarando, a very consistent Cal-bred son of Bertrando trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and piloted by the winningest jockey in history: Russel Baze. The local favorite is We Miss Artie, winner of the G1 Breeders Futurity last fall at Keeneland who is in off a forgiveable effort after not getting the lead in the G2 Fountain of Youth.

Solitary Ranger won the local prep in wire-to-wire fashion and really caught my eye. Florent Geroux really seems to understhis this son of U S Ranger and the pair are looking for their third straight victory. I'm not quite sure what to make of Poker Player, but he deserves a look.

As a longshot, All Tied Up deserves to be looked at: Pletcher ships this gray colt up from Palm Meadows off a series of really good races ~ like Animal Kingdom, All Tied Up has never raced on dirt and that might work to his advantage on Turfway's synthetic. And Poker Player is just too consistent to ignore.

Molly Jo's wagering selections: 7 - 3 - 4 - 8