Heavily favored Mr. Commons burst between rivals in midstretch
to dismantle his opposition while going on to a 3 ¼ -length triumph in
the Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile
“Since I got through, it was great,” said Hall of Fame jockey
Mike Smith following his third victory of the afternoon. “But I’ve
learned you could point this horse at a wall and he’ll run through it if
you ask him to.”
Irish Art, who defeated Ultimate Eagle by three-quarters of a
length for the place, was no match for the winner who was clocked in
1:33.84 for the mile.
Mr. Commons, a son of Artie Schiller trained by John Shirreffs,
was making his first start since finishing a creditable fifth in the
Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.
“It was good to have Mike Smith back in the saddle like that,”
Shirreffs said. “Whatever Mike wants to do, I’m just fine with that.
It’s better to have a win on Opening Day than to have your first one on
Smith had one horse beaten during the early going of the
eight-horse Sir Beaufort. Rallying into the stretch, Mr. Commons nearly
ran up onto the heels of a rival before Smith’s maneuver that allowed
the winner to surge through a slim opening and win under a hand ride.
The bay colt, owned by St. George Farm Racing of Ian Banwell,
earned $90,000 for the victory to elevate his career earnings to
$483,660 from a 3-3-1 record in 10 starts.
After fading badly while going one mile on turf in Hollywood
Park’s Generous Stakes last month, Got Even ran away from his opposition
over seven furlongs in the $100,000 California Breeders’ Champion
Stakes which was run as race seven.
With Garrett Gomez at the controls, Got Even took command at the
start and was never headed to defeat runner-up Exotic Slew by 4 ¼
lengths. Passing Game finished third, another nose back in the field of
nine. The final time was 1:21.39.
“I really didn’t expect him to show that much speed, but he was
doing it well, with his ears up,” Gomez said after dismounting from the
12-1 winner. “I knew he was shortening up and I really didn’t know what
to expect, but he was able to clear them and stretch them out pretty
good. The way it worked out, he took most of the run out of them.”
Stoney Fleece, the 2-1 favorite, never threatened while checking
in fifth. Motown Men, the 5-2 second choice, finished seventh after
stumbling badly at the start.
“He likes this racetrack,” said Peter Miller, who trains Got
Even. “He’s gotten better and better since we gelded him at the Del Mar
meet, and that’s the only thing I can really point to that turned him
around. I was watching the race and I kept saying, ‘When’s he going to
stop?’ and he never did.”
Got Even rewarded his backers at $27.20 while securing his
third win in eight starts for the partnership of Bruce Chandler, Jeff
Fink and Marc Umeda. The winning purse of $60,000 increased his earnings
The fillies division of the $100,000 California Breeders’
Champion Stakes went to odds-on favorite Ismene, who dominated five
opposing 2-year-old fillies by 2 ¾ lengths under Smith’s hand ride while
leading from start to finish.
Ismene, thus, remained unbeaten in three career starts for owner
Stephen Ferraro and trainer Bill Spawr while traversing seven furlongs
in 1:21.61. Willa B Awesome finished second, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of
Warren’s Amber. “We ran into a monster,” commented Martin Pedroza, who
rode the runner-up.
“She’s really talented, to say the least,” Smith said in the
winner’s circle. “What’s exciting about her is there’s room to improve.”
Spawr, who also conditions 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion
Amazombie, acknowledged that the homebred daughter of Tribal Rule has as
much potential as any horse he’s ever trained.
“Bill’s done a magnificent job,” said Ferraro. “I’ve definitely
had thoughts about her 3-year-old year, but in the end, it’ll be Bill’s
decision. Hopefully, she’ll be an Oaks-type filly.”
Ismene, who paid $3.20 for her victory, ran her earnings to
$150,630. “We’ll give her a week off and see what we have,” Spawr said.
“Then we’ll decide what to do with her next.”