Mr. Commons, a 3-year-old who lost the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap
by a nose bob to Caracortado, will be aiming for better luck among nine
entrants in the Oak Tree Mile, which goes as the ninth race.
St. George Farm Racing’s homebred son of Artie Schiller got
nipped in the final jump of his first meeting with elders in the Aug. 27
Del Mar Mile Handicap following a 1 ½ length victory in Del Mar’s
Oceanside Stakes, also at one mile on grass.
Hall of Famer Smith will be back aboard the bay colt trained by
John Shirreffs who returned to action in the Oceanside after two months
of down time that followed a dull eighth in the Preakness Stakes.
With a 3-1-1 record in seven starts including a third in April’s
Santa Anita Derby, Mr. Commons will take earnings of $293,660 into the
Oak Tree Mile. His only setback in three starts on turf was the nose
loss to Caracortado.
His opposition includes hard-hitting turfer Jeranimo and Crown
of Thorns, most recently third to The Factor in the Pat O’Brien and a
winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in May. Crown
of Thorns will be making his turf debut in the Oak Tree Mile under high
weight of 124 pounds.
An earner of $570,400 from a 5-4-4 record in 21 starts for owner
B. J. Wright and trainer Michael Pender, Jeranimo will be ridden by
Martin Garcia, whose only previous experience aboard the Congaree
offspring resulted in a victory in Santa Anita’s Grade II Strub Stakes
Jeranimo is coming off a dull eighth behind Acclamation in Del
Mar’s $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 28. But in his previous out, he
ran second to soaring star Acclamation in the Grade I Eddie Read Stakes
on turf while Caracortado finished third.
Trained by Richard Mandella, Crown of Thorns has banked $812,693
for Spendthrift Farm with a 3-4-2 showing in 12 career starts.
Relatively lightly raced at the age of six, Crown of Thorns was nosed
out by Dancing in Silks when second in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at
Santa Anita. Alonso Quinonez will be aboard Crown of Thorns for the
first time on Saturday.
The complete field for the Oak Tree Mile, with jockeys and
weights in post position order: Victory Pete, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 119;
El Gato Malo, David Flores, 119; John Johny Jak, Bejarano, 119; Blue
Chagall, no rider, 119; Jeranimo, Garcia, 121; Mr. Commons, Smith, 116;
Crown of Thorns, Alonso Quinonez, 124; Calimonco, Espinoza, 119, and
Monterey Jazz, Talamo, 119.