Change of plans yet again for Alpha and Hansen// Spiral gets a dozen Derby hopefuls// Bourbon Courage most likely not pointing to Derby

Twelve colts and geldings were entered in Saturday’s Vinery Spiral (G3), a race where the winner is guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate. However, none are considered serious Derby contenders.  Of course, neither was Animal Kingdom last year and we know what came of that theory.  There is no clear-cut favorite in this year’s field.  Todd Pletcher’s Heavy Breathing is the morning line favorite at 3-1, followed closely by Handsome Mike and Went the Day Well at 4-1.  Full stories, entries, and PPs can be found below// Of all the reasons Kiaran McLaughlin gave Wednesday for sending Alpha to the Louisiana Derby (G2) instead of the Wood Memorial (G1), he never mentioned avoiding Hansen.  However, when it was announced Thursday that Hansen would surprisingly go next in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1), just moments later McLaughlin announced Alpha would now point again to the Wood.  There is the fact that Alpha’s connections could retain the services of jockey Ramon Dominguez with the new plan, however it is not certain he will be recovered from injury.  Make no mistake about it, they are trying to find the easiest spot for Alpha.  However, the same can be said with Hansen.  Although owner Kendall Hansen and trainer Mike Maker never called the Bluegrass “easier”, you have to believe that reason is stronger than “staying in Kentucky” and enjoying the “romantic atmosphere” of Keeneland. By going to the Blue Grass, Hansen avoids facing Gemologist and Alpha who were threats to put pressure on the front end// Another domino fell with these recent decisions when it was stated Cozzetti, 3rd in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) last out, could go to the Wood instead of the Arkansas Derby (G1)// In Wednesday’s post I mentioned Bourbon Courage, a 103 Beyer earner, who was entered in an allowance at the Fair Grounds Saturday.  I wasn’t sure of his connections’ Derby aspirations, but Thursday brought the answers through a nice feature on ESPN.  If Bourbon Courage does well Saturday he will most likely go to the Derby Trial (G3) with a following start in the Preakness...

Vinery Spiral Stakes (G3)
Preview Articles: DRF / DRF 2 / Bloodhorse / TTimes / Brisnet
Picks: That Handicapping Show (Bloodhorse) / Time to get Ill (Thorofan)


Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
“Defection of Hansen from Wood Memorial could prompt Romans to send Cozzetti there instead of Arkansas”- DerbyContenders via Twitter