Mr. Commons Looks Tough in American 'Cap

Mr. Commons Looks Tough in American 'Cap
Photo: Charles Pravata/Eclipse Sportswire
Mr. Commons, who has been 1-2 in seven of his eight races on turf, will make his debut on the Betfair Hollywood Park course in the $150,000 American Handicap Saturday.
A Grade II at one mile, the American is the eighth of nine races. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates at Betfair Hollywood Park will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
Before the Saturday program begins, Doug O’Neill, the trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, will be Kurt Hoover’s guest on the Inside Scoop. The session will begin at 12 Noon at the Paddock Tote Board.
Trained by John Shirreffs for owner-breeder St. George Farm Racing LLC, Mr. Commons will be making his first start since missing by a neck to Willyconker in the Grade I Frank Kilroe Mile March 3 at Santa Anita.
A 4-year-old son of Artie Schiller and the Apalachee mare Joustabout, Mr. Commons has five wins in 12 races and earnings of $623,660.
The distance of the American has been Mr. Commons’ preferred trip. All three of his stakes wins have come at eight furlongs, including the restricted Oceanside last summer at Del Mar and a pair of Grade II’s  at Santa Anita – the Sir Beaufort last Dec. 26 and the Arcadia Feb. 4.
Owned by breeders Harris Farms, Inc. John Nicoletti and Don Valpredo and trained by Marty Jones, Compari will stretch to his a distance at which he has earned half of his eight wins.
The 2009 Snow Chief Stakes winner is a 6-year-old gelded son of Redattore and the Dixieland Band mare Southern Charm has started 16 times and banked $618,430.
Trainer John Sadler, who won the 2008 American with longshot Whatsthescript, is scheduled to run a pair – Calimonco and Tigah.
Owned by breeders Pam and Marty Wygod and Ballena Vista Farms, Inc., Calimonco is a 6-year-old Storm Cat horse out of the Kris S. mare Sweet Life who has won five of 30 and earned $358,546. Three of his wins have come at the American distance.
An English bred son of Dalakhani and the Platini mare Macina, Tigah will be making his graded stakes debut. He’s won once in three starts in the United States for owner Kamel Jawl after going 2-for-6 in France. He’s earned $96,280.
Soul Candy, Liberian Freighter and Venomous will all be making their 2012 debut Saturday.
Away since finishing last in the California Cup Classic last Oct. 29, a race he won in 2010, Soul Candy has won four of 18 while earning $314,300. The 6-year-old Birdonthewire gelding out of the Lil Tyler mare Just Satisfaction is owned by E Z Eight Racing Stable and breeder Madera Thoroughbreds and trained by Paddy Gallagher.
Like Soul Candy, Liberian Freighter is a California bred. The 7-year-old Bertrando gelding out of the Slewpy mare Anachristina has won 10 of 29 and banked $736,740.
Owned by a partnership that includes Shawn Dugan, Charles Winner and the Estate of Ed Nahem, who bred the dark bay, and trained by Neil Drysdale, Liberian Freighter is a five time winner over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf course.
The most recent local win for Liberian Freighter came in the 2011 Inglewood Handicap. He has been away since trailing in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile last July 2.
A victory in the American would be a fourth for Hall of Famer Drysdale. He’s won the race previously with Man From Eldorado (1992), Silver Wizard (1995) and Labeeb (1996).
Venmous has been on the sidelines since finishing fifth in the Sir Beaufort. Owned by Magalen O. Bryant and trained by Leonard Powell, the 4-year-old Red Ransom colt out of the Golden Snake mare Snake Dancer has won three of 15 and earned $226,711. He is winless in three races in this country, his best finish was a second in the Grade II Oak Tree Derby last Oct. 15.
Trainer Dan Blacker will be aiming for his first graded win when he sends out Barney Rebel.
A winner once in two starts in the U.S., Barney Rebel is a 4-year-old Irish bred son of Holy Roman Emperor and the Indian Ridge mare Opera Ridge. He’s 3-for-11 overall with a bankroll of $68,569. Blacker trains the colt for owner Daniel Capen.
Great Warrior returns to turf after finishing eighth – via disqualification – in the Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 5 on Cushion Track.
Owned by breeder Coudelaria Jessica and trained by A.C. Avila, the 4-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Leroidesanimaux colt out of the Seeking the Gold mare Esther Rose has won three of14 and earned $136,706.
Avila is trying for his second American win in three years with a horse bred in South America as the trainer scored with Global Hunter, who was bred in Argentina, in 2010.
Mobilized goes synthetic to turf and stretches out in search of his third win in a row for Double JH Stables, Inc. and the Estate of breeder Robert Reseigne.
A 6-year-old Soul of the Matter horse out of the Red Ransom mare Valleyofthebells, Mobilized won the Tiznow Stakes by 7 ¼ lengths on the California Gold Rush program April 28. Trained by Gary Mandella, Mobilized has won six of 22 and earned $360,080.
The well-traveled Wilkinson will be making his initial start for owner E.K. Gaylord II and trainer Jeff Mullins.
The 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid out of the Afternoon Deelites mare Tasha’s Delight has won four of 17 and earned $246,994. He arrives in California after finishing sixth of eight in the Grade II Elkhorn April 27 at Keeneland for former trainer Neil Howard.
Betfair Hollywood Park will be the seventh different track at which Wilkinson will have competed. In addition to Keeneland, the dark bay colt has run at Churchill Downs, Thistledown, Fair Grounds, Saratoga and Belmont Park.
From inside out, the field for the 73rd American Handicap: Compari, Rafael Bejarano rides, 118 pounds; Wilkinson, Martin Pedroza, 114; Calimonco, Alonso Quinonez, 116; Great Warrior, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 113; Tigah, Joel Rosario, 113; Soul Candy, Victor Espinoza, 113; Barney Rebel, Eswan Flores, 114; Mobilized, Garrett Gomez, 116; Liberian Freighter, Martin Garcia, 117; Mr. Commons, Mike Smith, 122 and Venomous, Joe Talamo, 116.

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