Florence, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Turfway Park is in full Spiral Stakes mode as the track makes plans for the 43rd running of the $550,000 prep for the Kentucky Derby.
Although the track has had to cancel some race cards this winter due to cold and snow, the 1 1/8-mile Spiral Stakes is set to be run on Saturday, March 22.
"We've run the Spiral Stakes in 70 degrees and we've run it in snow," said Turfway Park general manager Chip Bach. "After dealing with the polar vortex during our racing season this year, we think Mother Nature owes us one of those 70 degree days. If she cooperates, we'll open the sides of the tent and let the party spill out right up to the rail. Watching horses thunder around the final turn is one of the most exciting moments of any race, and that's especially true for a race that sends a starter to the Derby."
Turfway's Spiral Stakes is part of the Kentucky Derby points system that awards points to the first four 3-year-olds across the wire. The winning horse will receive 50 points followed by 20 to the runner-up, 10 to the third-place finisher and five to the horse that finishes fourth.
"Spiral Stakes day has been a tradition in Northern Kentucky for 43 years," Bach continued. "People get together with friends and reserve the same seats year after year. The race is Turfway's day on the national racing stage, and we look forward to renewing the tradition with longtime fans and introducing new fans to the excitement of first class thoroughbred racing."
Black Onyx won last year's Spiral Stakes in what proved to be his last start of 2013.