“I was very impressed,” jockey Manoel Cruz said. “The trainer told me to keep the horse busy and make sure he was closer than usual. So when he broke, I gave him a couple of kisses and asked him to go, and he took his position perfectly.”
With one powerful move to the front, Field Commission overpowered Bull Dozer on the turn, and the son of Service Stripe was never presented with a challenge down the stretch, continuing to draw clear of his vanquished rivals with a winning margin of 3 ¼ lengths at the wire.
“My horse kept his position and held it the right way until I asked him again,” Cruz said. “And then he just took off.”
“The doors are wide open now that he’s taken to dirt,” winning conditioner Curtis Garrison said. “It’s anywhere we decide to go with him now.”
Overlooked by the majority of the wagering public, Field Commission was sent from the gate at odds of 18.50-1 and returned a generous $39.00, $13.20, and $13.60 for the win. Bull Dozer paid $7.40 and $6.60 when hanging around to finish second, while Close It Out returned $6.60 when a well-beaten third.
Determinato, Tell Tale Friend, Apriority, Hear Ye Hear Ye, Western Prospector, Asset Exchange, Black Diamond Cat, and Jackfrost Ofcourse completed the order of finish.
Bred in Ontario by Minshall Farms, Field Commission is now an eight-time winner in 29 starts, including victories in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes on turf and the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on a synthetic track. With his win in the Ponche Handicap, Field Commission has lifetime earnings of $1,026,266.
The Ponche Handicap is positioned as the final local prep in advance of the Grade 2 Smile Sprint on July 7. Big Drama and Giant Ryan, winners of the last two editions of the Ponche, both returned to achieve Smile Sprint glory.