Saturday, February 9, 2013
Updated: April 13, 4:43 PM ET
Handsome Mike looks sharp
By Claire Novak
Reddam Racing's 2012 Pennsylvania Derby winner Handsome Mike earned his first victory since that upset score at Parx Racing last September when he took the $175,000 Commonwealth Stakes April 13 at Keeneland .
Cutting back to a sprint distance for the first time since breaking his maiden in October of 2011, the 4-year-old son of Scat Daddy finished seven furlongs in 1:23.14 after trading places for the lead wtih Gantry through a quarter in :23.22 and a half in :46.31.
The Doug O'Neill trainee angled out for the drive and was actually headed by Gantry again in early stretch, but edged clear late under urging from jockey Mario Gutierrez. Following the top two were Candyman E, Bind, and 2-1 favorite Bernie the Maestro.
Off at odds of 7-2, Handsome Mike returned $9.40, $4.40, and $2.80. Gantry, 3-1 under jockey Richard Eramia, paid $4.20 and $2.80. Candyman E brought $2.80 at 5-2.
Handsome Mike came off a dismal seventh in the March 2 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. In fact, since winning the Pennsylvania Derby by two lengths at odds of 19-1, he had not finished on the board in five starts in stakes company.
The Commonwealth was the dark bay or brown colt's first start on Polytrack since a fourth-place finish in the 2012 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park behind Went the Day Well, and his first victory on a synthetic surface. Bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis out of the Smart Strike mare Classic Strike, he improved his record to 3-1-1 from 16 starts, with earnings of $880,530.