The billing for the latest Juvenile Stayers Qualifier Colts would have you believe the race would be another grudge match showdown between virtual equine giants Dakota Celery and Rule The Air. The result would tell a different story. There is a new boy in town and he goes by the name of Commander Legend.
Dakota Celery and Rule The Air need little introduction. Inx’s Dakota Celery is the winner of eight of his twenty-five graded race starts including no less than five qualifier events over both classic and stayer distances although his very best form has been shown on the dirt and this was a turf event today. Karl Khoder’s Rule The Air has won three of his eighteen starts, two of them classic qualifiers and has also finished either second or third in each of his last three runs – all qualifiers over both classic and stayers distances. These would be tough nuts to crack.
Sunny Future‘s Commander Legend by contrast had relatively little form in the book, at least in this grade, his only win to date from ten career graded starts coming in a Jump Starter Maiden Juvenile. This would be his first attempt in a qualifier. This would not stop the bay colt from a determined winning performance, though it might be unwise to take this form literally at face value. There was a lot to like about the style of Commander Legend’s victory but there is no doubt that jockey Jack Ford played a large part in getting the colt home with his head in front. Rule The Air this time managed to get the better of his old adversary Dakota Celery in a tussle for second and third.
The latest standings still show a healthy twelve point lead for Dakota Celery ahead of Rule The Air who in turn is twelve points ahead of the chasing pack. Sunny Future’s $121 auction bargain buy, Commander Legend scores nine points for his win here.
The fillies’ equivalent of this race saw Filante Stables’ Big Samantha achieve a narrow success over Cepat Kaya’s My Little Diva. The well-supported Tasered owned by Mudflaps edged Dakota Princess for third spot. This allowed My Little Diva to take over at the top of the current standings on twenty points, just one ahead of Tasered. Big Samantha edges closer to the lead, well in touch in fifth.
One day earlier and we were presented with an opportunity to see how the juvenile sprinters have been progressing. The colts’ event currently appears to have two standout contenders for the Championship Series crown in the shape of Pokerstars‘ Sultan Of Swings and Paris House’s Mischief Managed and they were set to clash here. Mischief Managed has proved very consistant at the highest level, placing in three of his last four efforts in qualifiers. Sultan Of Swings had even stronger claims and was coming into the race having won both his most recent starts in sprint qualifiers. True to form, it was Pokerstars’ bay who completed a hat-trick, muscling out his chief rival into second by a half length. Karl Khoder’s Diamond Crown took third.
Filante Stables’ Pool Party had started to look a touch overpriced when she could manage only a fifth of six behind Bank Note but since then the filly had gone from strength to strength winning three of her last four starts, including two qualifiers and finishing second in the other. She comfortably dismissed Caballo De Oro here who up until now was the most likely favorite for the final of this event in November. Tuna Stables’ previously unbeaten Zarzuela finished third and may yet be capable of better.
The standings now have Sultan Of Swings leading Mischief Managed by a single point in the colts’ event while in the fillies equivalent, Pool Party moves into fifth place behind current clear leader, Caballo De Oro.