The Poker Stakes (Grade 3)- $250.000 Purse
BEL- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
June 14, 2020
The right cards came up for Spiral in the 16th running of the Poker Stakes, as the gelding would end up running the third quickest winning time of any other previous winner en route to his impressive triumph. He had been in a little bit of a funk, but got a good result he needed in an open allowance six weeks ago en route to heading here. Again, it is good example of his trainer, Mb Stables, using the open allowance to correct the form of a horse that had been stagnant for a little bit. For Mb, it is his third win in the last five years, keeping his even year tradition going. He has also won the race with Jovan River (2016) and Sports Car (2018). Jockey M Tunon is a first time winner. Congratulations to them! The winning time of 1:32.48, as mentioned, is the third fastest in the history of the race. Let’s take a look at it!
(1/4 Mile- :23.11)- From his outside post, Charleys Glance breaks the quickest of them all for Maxmillion Farm, and leads the field by just half a length at the quarter mile, keeping him running on the outside. Captain Cook also broke sharply, doing so for Nakamura Stables, and he is able to move over all the way to the rail. There are two more at the front early on, with one of them being Threshold’s Decibel, who was also starting on the outside. Apocalypse Rising, from Gdp Inc, was within half a length of the lead as well. A group of three stalkers were right behind them, and one of them was our eventual winner, Spiral, from Mb Stables, who was tucked in nicely between Apocalypse Rising and Decibel. The filly, Rules Are Madness was right there part of this group for Angelos Stable, and Koda kept pace on the rail for Estero Farms. Nowhere Man, from Mb Stables, was nearby as well. After about two lengths came a three wide group consisting of Solow (Chili King Stables), Unbridled Envy (Nolespan Racing), and City Of Bones (John Henry). Trailing, is Vouch (D J C Racing Stables).
(½ Mile-: 45.57)- In the backstretch, Charleys Glance notable picks it up, possibly hoping to be able to clear the field to move over to the rail, but the presence of Decibel just to his inside keeps this from happening. At the top of the turn, it seemed like Charleys Glance could have moved over immediately, but did not. Decibel still holds second, running in the third lane, ahead of both Apocalypse Rising and Captain Cook. Spiral does not chase Charleys Glare, and is content to settle into a midpack position running to the outside of Koda and Rules Are Madness, and is four lengths back. Solow, City Of Bones, and Nowhere Man are right behind them. At the back are Unbridled Envy and Vouch.
(Top Of Stretch, 1.5F To Go)- Finally, about a quarter of the way into the turn, Charleys Glance moves over from the fourth lane to the rail. His length and a half lead holds strong until the midway point of the turn as new challengers emerge. One of them was not Decibel, who had packed it in. Using the money lane, Spiral made considerable progress to advance, and by the top of the stretch, he was in a position to be less then a length of Charleys Glance. Apocalypse Rising had also been making a move, and was in the third position here while both Captain Cook and Koda seemed poised to strike. For the moment, Rules Are Madness was boxed in, but that would soon rectify itself. City Of Bones began to advance, and Vouch also started making some progress.
(Finish- 1:32.48)- Initially in the stretch, it looked like Spiral and Apocalypse Rising would have a battle to the wire, but Spiral had plenty more left in the tank, drawing every from everyone in an impressive manner to win this race going away by two lengths! Apocalypse Rising prevails over the late running Rules Are Madness for second, and the fourth place check goes to Captain Cook, narrowly beating City Of Bones. Very close to them would be Nowhere Man, Vouch, Koda, and Charleys Glance. Being soundly beaten were Solow, Decibel, and Unbridled Envy.
About the Winner- Spiral, trained by Mb Stables and ridden to victory by M Tunon, is a four year old gelding by Dumbell Press, and is out of Michael Blackson. He was bred in Florida by Team 7 Illusions as a third quarter two year old, and acquired by Mb Stables in a September 2018 private sale for just $12.000 when he was still unraced. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his fourth in nine starts, his third stake win, and first official graded win (he’s also won the ungraded, $1,000.000 JC Derby). His career earnings are now $820.980.
Time: :23 :452 1:083 1:322
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 9 – 8 Paid 166.40
$1 Trifecta: 9 – 8 – 5 Paid 1,283.60
Scratched: War Dance
Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES