INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 22, 2012)—Second as the odds-on favorite in his last pair, Mr. Commons is among 13 nominees to the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile.
A Grade I on turf, the Shoemaker Mile will be run for the 69th time Saturday, June 30 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Named in honor of the legendary jockey who won 2,416 races – including 280 stakes – at Hollywood Park, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’’ event.
The BC nominated winner of the race will earn automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be run Nov. 3 at Santa Anita. Additionally, both pre-entry and entry fees will be waived and the owner will receive a $10,000 travel stipend.
Owned by breeder St. George Farm Racing LLC and trained by John Shirreffs, Mr. Commons was defeated a neck by Willyconker in the Grade I Kilroe Mile March 3 at Santa Anita prior to a 1 ½ length loss to Wilkinson in the Grade II American Handicap May 26 in his initial try over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass.
A 4-year-old son of Artie Schiller and the Apalachee mare Joustabout, Mr. Commons has won five of 13 and earned $653,660. He is without a Grade I victory.
The nominations include a pair of Grade I winners – Comma to the Top and Little Mike.
The Horse of the Meet during the 2010 Autumn season at Betfair Hollywood Park, Comma to the Top earned his most significant win as a 2-year-old in the CashCall Futurity.
Owned by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara and trained by Peter Miller, the 4-year-old gelded son of Bwana Charlie and the Stormy Atlantic mare Maggies Storm has won eight of 18 and banked $835,300.
The Florida bred made his 2012 debut June 9 at Golden Gate, winning a five furlong allowance on turf by 1 ¼ lengths. In his only local grass start, Comma to the Top won the Grade III Generous in 2010.
Trained by Dale Romans for owner Priscilla Vaccarezza, Little Mike went gate-to-wire in the Grade I Turf Classic May 5 at Churchill Downs. The win was the 10th in 17 starts for the Spanish Steps gelding out of the Wavering Monarch mare Hay Jude. The 5-year-old has earned $830,412.
The rest of the Shoemaker Mile nominees are Camp Victory, Compari, who was seventh in the 2010 renewal, Corporate Jungle, Dubai You X Y Z, Hudson Landing, Jeranimo, Liberian Freighter, who finished sixth in the race in 2011, Slim Shadey, Suggestive Boy and Venomous.
The Shoemaker Mile is the more lucrative of two Grade I races that will be offered June 30.
The $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, which is at seven furlongs over Cushion Track, also had 13 nominations, including the aforementioned Comma to the Top, Rail Trip, defending champion Smiling Tiger and the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Los Angeles Handicap winner Roman Threat and The Factor.
Winless in his first two starts of 2012, Smiling Tiger is undefeated in three races over the Betfair Hollywood Park main for owners Alan Klein and Phil Lebherz and trainer Jeff Bonde.
A 5-year-old Hold That Tiger horse out of the Cahill Road mare Shandra Smiles, Smiling Tiger is 8-for-20 with earnings of $1,267,204.
If Smiling Tiger were to repeat in the Triple Bend, he would be only the second horse to do so. Porterhouse won in 1955 and 1956 for Llangollen Farm and trainer Charlie Whittingham.
Owned by Fog City Stable and George Bolton, The Factor, who is 4-for-4 at seven furlongs, has been idle since finishing sixth in the $2 million. Group I Dubai Golden Shaheen March 31 at Meydan Race Course in the United Arab Emirates.
Others nominated to the Triple Bend are Calimonco, Camp Victory, Centralinteligence, Don Tito, Italian Rules, Mobilized, Racing Aptitude and Tres Borrachos.
Entries for the Shoemaker Mile and the Triple Bend Handicap will be taken Wednesday, June 27.
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