With two contenders riding 3-race winning streaks joining the defending champion, the 2015 edition of the six furlong $25,000 Orphan Kist Stakes looks to feature a competitive, if compact, field of fillies and mares at Fonner Park Saturday.
Returning champion Spice Swirl, who scored at odds-on in 2014, was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
The 8-year old is coming off of a banner season which saw her hit the board in 5 of 8 starts including 2 wins and a place in stakes races. Her flexibility to be on the lead or rate a bit should give Jake Olesiak some options as the race unfolds. Spice Swirl finished a closing 3rd in the Bold Accent last out. The extra two furlongs will be a welcome addition.
A trio of possible early speed should ensure honest fractions. Sookie’s Cookies, winner of 6 of her last 8 spanning 2 seasons and 4 race tracks, will be looking to cut the pace under Luis Ranilla but she won’t be alone. Precious Affair prefers to do her running up front while Artificial Diamond’s best efforts have also been on the engine.
The other mare riding a winning streak into the race is 10-1 Tax Scratch Fever. She was life and death to get up to nose out a field of $2500 claimers in her seasonal debut but her season ending races last year were both allowance level victories. More importantly, she notched those victories coming off the pace. If the favorite gets drawn in with the speed, it’s possible the race could fall apart in front of her and she will pick up the pieces at a price.