Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

Can Mr. Commons Become Mr. Extraordinary?

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 28

Premier Pegasus is clearly the horse to beat in the Santa Anita Derby. What’s that? He is out four months with a hairline fracture; OK, no problem. Jaycito will finally step up to center stage and take the one million dollar race in style. Huh? Jaycito has been scratched with a foot bruise. Well that is certainly a fine how do you do. Who is left? Anthony’s Cross. He won the Sham Stakes at the distance in his last start and has been working great. Or maybe Silver Medallion, the winner of the El Camino Real Derby up at Golden Gate Fields in February. Good horses, but they’re not exactly going to scare anyone off. What about Comma to the Top, he looked good last year, or Bench Points who has won four of five lifetime? Maybe, but I see some weaknesses there. Clearly the defections of the two favorites have left this big race wide open for a relative unknown to become a big name themselves. Mr. Commons may be just such a horse ready to elevate to the big time.

Mr. Commons is a bay son of first-year sire, and terrific turf horse Artie Schiller. The Santa Anita Derby will mark his first try in stakes company, but in his last two races he has shown enough potential to believe the jump up in class may not be outside his ability. After breaking slow and running a little dull in his first start on Hollywood’s synthetic main track in December, Mr. Commons came back gangbusters for his second start, a 6 ½ furlong turf maiden over Santa Anita’s Downhill course. The John Shirreffs trained colt showed much more interest from the get go and powered home by more than five lengths over a well-regarded field. Final time of 1:12 flat was impressive no matter how fast the course was playing that day. Off the sparkling maiden win Mr. Commons was given the opportunity to prove that he could do more than turf.

[Does Mr. Commons deserve his high ranking of #15 in the Horse Racing Nation 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders list?]

In a one mile race over Santa Anita’s new dirt track, Mr. Commons, with Mike Smith in the irons, used a prolonged stretch drive to win a hard fought decision in a three horse photo by a head. It wasn’t with the same flare that he flashed in his turf victory, but it displayed the courage and heart of a good horse. Since that win in his first dirt race on February 26, Mr. Commons, from the same trainer-jockey tandem that had Zenyatta, has been turning heads and convincing onlookers that he is indeed a very good horse. Three consecutive workouts at five, six, and seven furlongs each produced the fastest time of the morning over the main strip at Hollywood Park. Each work was faster than the previous, and I was told in none of them did he look like he was the least bit extended. This is the time of the year when sophomores can make a sharp upturn in performance as they mature.

No Premier Pegasus, and then no Jaycito, has left the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby ripe for the picking. With two solid wins in a row, and now the excellence he is displaying in the mornings, Mr. Commons may be the right one to announce himself as a new player on the road to the Kentucky Derby.



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Older Comments about Can Mr. Commons Become Mr. Extraordinary?...

I thought for sure it was going to be Comma to the Top wire to wire and thought it would be very unlikely for a allowance winner to win the SA derby boy was i wrong turned out to be the maiden winner! lol
Would love to see the duo of Shirreffs and Smith make the trip to Churchill and win big! I've been a Dialed In fan, and would be torn if they both wind up in the Ky Derby. I really hope I have that problem, though.
Not sure if he is good enough, but I'd love to see Shirreffs and Smith have a real shot in the Derby!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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