Grade 2 Commonwealth Derby Headlines Saturday’s Virginia Stakes Day At Laurel

American Patriot Brings Strong Credentials into $200,000 Commonwealth Derby

Grade 1 Stakes-Placed Colt among 10 Entered in Grade 2 Turf Event
LAUREL, MD– WinStar Farm LLC’s American Patriot was among 10 3-year-olds entered Wednesday in Saturday’s $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G2), bringing Grade 1 stakes-placed credentials into the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance at Laurel Park.
Todd Pletcher-trained American Patriot is coming off a third-place finish in the Aug. 13 Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park. The son of War Front offered a strong stretch rally to finish just three-quarters of a length behind victorious Beach Patrol. The son of War Front previously added graded-stakes status to his resume by winning the Kent (G3) at Delaware Park.
Breeder Albert Coppola's One Go All Go captured the Grade 2 Commonwealth Derby last fall at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.
Breeder Albert Coppola’s One Go All Go captured the Grade 2 Commonwealth Derby last fall at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.
The WinStar homebred launched his career at Gulfstream last winter with a pair of fast-closing third-place finishes, losing by three-quarters of a length and a neck, respectively. He graduated in his third start, surging from 12th and last to score by a neck at Keeneland in April, before an off-the-board finish following a slow start in the American Turf (G2) at Churchill on May 7.
American Patriot returned to winning form with a three-length victory in an optional claiming allowance at Belmont in June prior to his victory in the Kent.
Trevor McCarthy has the mount aboard American Patriot in the Commonwealth Derby, in which graded-stakes winner Isotherm is slated to seek his first victory of the 2016 season.
Matthew Schera’s colt made his sophomore debut at Gulfstream in January, losing a photo to Life Imitates Art by a head in the Dania Beach (G3). On the sidelines for seven months, Isotherm was compromised by crowding at the start of the Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga, finishing an even fifth. In his most recent start he pressed the pace between horses before finishing third, beaten by a length, in the Saranac (G3) at Saratoga Sept. 3.
After debuting with a fourth-place finish over the main track at Saratoga in August 2015, the George Weaver-trained colt held off next-out winner Life Imitates Art by a neck to graduate at the Spa three weeks later. Isotherm established himself as a graded-stakes winner in his next start, capturing the Pilgrim (G3) over Grade 2 stakes-winner Azar by a neck. His connections opted to try him back on dirt at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), in which he encountered early bumping, as well as traffic, while never being a factor.
Feargal Lynch has been named to ride the Kentucky-bred colt.
Trainer Shug McGaughey, who won the 2015 Commonwealth Turf Cup (G2) with Mr. Speaker, entered late-developing Revved Up in the Commonwealth Derby. The son of Candy Ride is slated to make his stakes debut Saturday under jockey Jose Ortiz after registering back-to-back victories.
Revved Up was winless in three starts as a juvenile, finishing seventh in his debut on turf and fifth on dirt in his second start, both at Saratoga, before finishing fifth on a sloppy Belmont track. In his first 2015 start, he rallied from 10th to finish third over the Aqueduct turf course in April. A month later, he again rallied from far off the pace to miss graduating by a head at Belmont at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
In his back-to-back triumphs, the Phipps Stable homebred colt demonstrated considerably more early interest. He stalked the pace before taking over in the stretch to graduate by 1 ¾ lengths at 1 ¼ miles at Belmont in July. He attended the pace and took command with nearly six furlongs remaining in a 1 3/8-mile optional claiming allowance to prevail by a neck at Saratoga in August.
The Kentucky-bred colt is a son of champion Storm Flag Flying, the winner of the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the daughter of My Flag, the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Fillies winner and a daughter of undefeated champion Personal Flag.
Trainer Chad Brown, whose horses have scored a North America-leading 28 graded-stakes victories, entered Klaravich Stables & William Lawrence’s Deeply Undervalued in the Commonwealth Derby. The son of Kitten’s Joy finished a neck behind Revved Up at Saratoga Aug. 27 following a maiden-breaking victory at the Spa in July.
Brereton Jones’ He’ll Pay, who set the pace before finishing second behind American Patriot in the Kent, is set to make his second straight start at Laurel in the Commonwealth Derby. The Larry Jones-trained son of Haynesfield finished second in an off-the-turf optional claiming allowance last time out.
Other contenders include: Gary Barber’s Whatawonderflworld, a stakes-winning colt who fell a nose short of winning the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Aug. 28; West Point Thoroughbreds’ Scholar Athlete, who finished fourth in the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine two starts back; and Clarke Ohrstrom’s  Franklin Towers, who won the Lamplighter at Monmouth in his next to last race.
Artie Thriller and Stevie Q round out the field.