Thursday, June 6, 2013
Mr. Commons faces 11 in Jaipur
By Esther Marr
St. George Farm Racing's homebred and dual graded stakes winner Mr. Commons will attempt to overcome the rail post and snap an eight-race losing streak when he faces at least eight others in the June 7 Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park.
The $150,000, seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up will be contested over Belmont Park's turf course June 7. The race was named for the 1962 champion 3-year-old colt, who ran one of the most memorable Travers Stakes on record when he won by a fraction of a nose in track-record time.
Mr. Commons, a 5-year-old son of Artie Schiller -- Joustabout, by Apalchee, will enter the Jaipur off a third-place effort behind Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the April 12 Makers 46 Mile at Keeneland.
The bay horse, who is accustomed to racing at a mile, will attempt the seven-furlong distance as well as the Belmont Park surface for the first time.
Trained by John Shirreffs, Mr. Commons holds a career record of 5-5-3 from 19 starts, for earnings of $837,660. The horse, whose biggest scores came in the 2011 Sir Beaufort and 2012 Arcadia, will be piloted by new rider Luis Saez.
Some of Mr. Commons' biggest competition in the Jaipur appears to be Beau Choix, Night Officer, and Spring to the Sky, who have previously fared well at Belmont.
Beau Choix campaigned this winter at Gulfstream Park, where the 6-year-old son of Elusive Quality won a one-mile optional claimer in February. While racing a Belmont last October, however, the Barclay Tagg-trained horse captured the Rob 'n Gin Stakes at the Jaipur distance for the second consecutive year. Among his other stakes efforts is a third in the 2010 Jamaica at the New York track.
Night Officer, a 5-year-old son of Officer, enters the Jaipur off a neck victory in the May 16 six-furlong Around the Cape Stakes at Belmont. He is trained by Bruce Brown, who claimed him for $50,000 on behalf of Chalk Racing out of a six-furlong allowance optional claiming event at Belmont last summer, where he prevailed by a half length. Night Officer conquered the seven-furlong distance at Laurel Park in November 2011, but has not tried the distance since.
Brown's other entrant Spring to the Sky has made just one start this year, a second in the May 17 Jim McKay Turf Sprint over five furlongs at Pimlico. Owned by Anthony Mccarthy, the 4-year-old colt won the six-furlong Groovy Stakes on the Belmont turf last September and also broke his maiden there by 9 ¾ lengths on dirt as a juvenile.
Other threats are Summer Breezing, winner of the seven-furlong Tiller Stakes at Belmont last spring; 2012 Nearctic winner and Belmont allowance optional claiming victor Next Question; Saratoga Race Course stakes winner Artest; and other Belmont victor Joes Blazing Aaron.
With rain in the forecast, a trio of main-track-only entrants will look for a surface switch -- Belmont allowance rompers Souper Speedy and Reload as well as stakes winner Politicallycorrect.