The lone graded Kentucky Derby 2012 prep at Turfway Park was run on Saturday and Went The Day Well emerged as a contender on the first Saturday in May after cruising home in the G3 Spiral Stakes for Graham Motion and Team Valor.
G3 Spiral (3-24-12): 92 BSF (Went The Day Well)
Heavy Breathing carved out the early splits for Todd Pletcher, with Went The Day Well positioned perfectly behind the speed along the rail under John Velazquez.
Pletcher’s other colt Holiday Promise was sitting midpack at almost 26-1 and expected early runner Handsome Mike broke 12th and last after losing his footing and getting bumped at the start.
Heavy Breathing put away overmatched pace rivals Ill Conceived and Coach Royal but Went The Day Well was always traveling smoothly and passed the front runner after six furlongs.
Holiday Promise made a wide move and tried to gain on the new leader but got a bit weary in late stretch while settling for runner-up honors.
Heavy Breathing was a comfortable 3rd and was followed across the line by Handsome Mike, Stealcase, All Squared Away, Ill Conceived, Russian Greek, Tizanexpense, Red Jack, Mr. Prankster, and Coach Royal.
Went The Day Well picked up $282,000 in graded earnings on March 24, which should be more than enough to make the Derby gate. The promising son of Proud Citizen handles dirt, turf, and synthetic, and Motion/Team Valor have plenty of options with the versatile sort this year. He was green in the Turfway stretch before kicking away to win by 3-1/2 lengths. He has some catching up to do and seems a cut or two below the best at this stage. The G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 21 could be next.
It should be noted that Animal Kingdom won the Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby for Graham Motion, Team Valor, and John Velazquez last year…deja vu all over again?
Spiral Stakes Grade: C+ (78 out of 100)