Thursday, September 18, 2008
COMMENTATOR HEADLINES FIELD FOR SATURDAY’S MASSCAP AT SUFFOLK DOWNS
EAST BOSTON, MA – Commentator, a two-time Grade I winner for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, leads a field of seven for this Saturday’s $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs.
Commentator, the morning-line favorite at 3-to-5, is coming off of an impressive gate-to-wire score in the Whitney Handicap (Grade I) at Saratoga. He won the Whitney in 2005 as well. Overall this year, the seven-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor has three wins from four starts, including a dominant victory in the Richter Scale Handicap (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park, which he won by over 13 lengths. Commentator starts from post two and will be ridden by John Velazquez for owner Tracy Farmer.
Dr. Pleasure, third in last year’s MassCap, returns as the 7-2 second choice for owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward. The five-year-old son of Thunder Gulch out of the champion mare Beautiful Pleasure returned from nearly a five-month layoff due to a breathing problem to post an impressive 8 ¼ length win in an optional claiming race at Saratoga on August 10. Dr. Pleasure placed third in the Travers Stakes (Grade I) at age three. Cornelio Velasquez is named to ride. Dr. Pleasure will break from the six post.
“The breathing problem was an entrapped epiglottis,” said Ward, who conditioned 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. “I think it affected his two races previous to the one at Saratoga. It was odd to find this type of problem on a five-year-old horse. He had the procedure and he came back very well. He seems to have found himself a new level to compete.”
Cuba is the third choice at odds of 6-1. Since being claimed for $18,000 earlier this year, trainer Bobby Dibona has saddled the seven-year-old for five victories. He finished a close fifth in his most recent start in the Iselin Handicap (Grade III) at Monmouth Park.
“It made sense to take him but never really thought he’d develop like he has,” said Dibona, who grew up in Weymouth, MA. “I have a lot of confidence in him but he will have to step up his game to take on Commentator.”
Won Awesome Dude, winner of the Claiming Crown Jewel at Canterbury Park in his last start, is the 8-1 fourth choice. Rounding out the field are Riversrunrylee (15-1), Beck and Call (20-1) and Volcanic Force (20-1).
The 66th running of the MassCap is one of five Classic Division races in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge, a series of automatic qualifiers for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. In the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” format, the winner of the MassCap will automatically qualify for entry in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run October 25 at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA.
Entries for the $100,000 James B. Moseley Sprint Handicap were also drawn. Suave Jazz is the 3-1 favorite in the nine-horse field.
The MassCap is race 10 on Saturday's special 11-race program. First post time is 12:45 p.m. The card will feature an all stakes Pick Four consisting of the MassCap, the Moseley Sprint and a pair of $50,000 stakes races, the inaugural Robert M. O’Malley and the Drumtop.
$500,000 Massachusetts Handicap (66th running)
1 1/8 Miles
Post Position - Horse Jockey Odds
1 - Beck and Call Tammi Piermarini 20-1
2 - Commentator John Velazquez 3-5
3 - Won Awesome Dude Casey Lambert 8-1
4 - Cuba Pedro Cotto Jr. 6-1
5 - Volcanic Force Clifford Dooley 20-1
6 - Dr. Pleasure Cornelio Velasquez 7-2
7 - Riversrunrylee Pedro Gonzalez 15-1
$100,000 James B. Moseley Sprint Handicap
Post Position - Horse Jockey Odds
1 - Suave Jazz Cornelio Velasquez 3-1
2 - Southern Rainbow Yamil Rosario 8-1
3 - Real Estate John Velazquez 4-1
4 - Gold and Roses Pedro Cotto Jr. 6-1
5 - Cavallo Pazzo Cornelio Velasquez 4-1
6 - Fairly Crafty No Rider 20-1
7 - Joey Carson No Rider 5-1
8 - Connections No Rider 6-1
9 - My Privileged Alfredo Clemente 15-1
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