Saturday, September 20, 2008
COMMENTATOR WINS 66TH MASSCAP IN RECORD-SETTING FASHION
EAST BOSTON, MA – Commentator and jockey John Velazquez sat patiently in second position before taking the lead entering the far turn and driving home to a record-setting 14-length victory in the 66th running of the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs on Saturday before an exuberant crowd of 17,712.
Commentator, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito for owner Tracy Farmer, was sent off at odds of 1-to-10, joining Cigar (1996) as the heaviest-favorite in the history of the race. The seven-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor covered the mile-and-an-eighth in 1:48.97 and returned $2.20 across the board. Won Awesome Dude (4.60 and 3.00) was second, a length ahead of Cuba (2.80).
This year’s MassCap is one of five races in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” Classic Division, with the winner automatically qualifying for the Breeders’ Cup Classic to be held October 25 at Oak Tree at Santa Anita in Arcadia, CA. Commentator had already qualified for the Classic by virtue of his win in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on July 26.
“If he goes to the Breeders’ Cup, it would be the Classic,” said Farmer. “I would enjoy seeing Big Brown and Curlin take him on. We’ll have to see what Nick says.”
Commentator’s 14-length margin of victory easily surpassed the MassCap record set in 1938 by Menow, who won by eight lengths over a field that included the heavily-favored War Admiral, who finished fourth.
“He relaxed very well,” said Velazquez, who won his second MassCap. “I really didn’t want to be in a speed duel, so I was very content with the way we were going up the backside. I eased him away and he moved very confidently.”
Riversrunrylee and jockey Pedro Gonzalez set fast fractions of 23.04 for the first quarter and 46.11 for the half mile before relinquishing the lead to Commentator and fading to the back of the pack.
Dr. Pleasure, third in last year’s MassCap and the second choice this year, was fourth.
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