Per­fect turf record on the line

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Marty McGee

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Brad Cox knew be­fore he left the Churchill Downs win­ner’s cir­cle with Mr. Mis­un­der­stood on Sept. 30 where they both would be six weeks later.

“We’ll try to be right back in this same spot,” said Cox.

Af­ter his 2 3/4-length vic­tory in the Jef­fer­son Cup at Churchill, Cox left the Grade 3 Com­mon­wealth Turf as the last box for Mr. Mis­un­der­stood to check this year. The dark bay geld­ing has won all six of his ca­reer starts on turf.

Satur­day at Churchill, Mr. Mis­un­der­stood will put that pris­tine record on the line as a heavy favorite ver­sus seven other 3-year-olds in the 14th run­ning of the $100,000 Com­mon­wealth Turf at 1 1/16 miles.

“It’s pretty re­mark­able he’s stayed un­de­feated on turf, al­though we have been care­ful with the way we’ve spot­ted him,” said Cox, who trains Mr. Mis­un­der­stood for the

Flurry Rac­ing Sta­bles of Staton Flurry. “Since the Jef­fer­son Cup, he has trained very well, so we’re ex­cited about run­ning him back.”

Mr. Mis­un­der­stood, us­ing the same stalk-and-pounce run­ning style, has won all six of those turf races by at least two lengths, with the three most re­cent com­ing in un­graded stakes: the Pre­lude and Su­per Derby at Louisiana Downs, fol­lowed by the Jef­fer­son Cup. The Com­mon­wealth Turf marks his first start in a graded turf stakes.

Florent Ger­oux, fresh from the great­est win of his rid­ing ca­reer one week ago with Gun Run­ner in the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic, has the call on Mr. Mis­un­der­stood, who will break from post 6.

If Mr. Mis­un­der­stood hap­pens to stub his toe, per­haps the most likely up­set­ters are My Bar­i­ley (post 2, Fer­nando De La Cruz), a 13-1 win­ner of the un­graded Hawthorne Derby over soft go­ing two weeks ago, or Par­lor (post 4, Julien Leparoux), sec­ond as the favorite two starts back in the Du­el­ing Grounds Derby.

Com­plet­ing the lineup are Sharm El Sheikh, Mr Cub, Gor­geous Kit­ten, Tiz a Slam, and Giant Pay­day. Most ac­com­plished among them is the Roger At­tfield-trained Tiz a Slam, al­though the colt’s best ef­forts have come over the Wood­bine syn­thetic as run­nerup in the pres­ti­gious Queen’s Plate and win­ner of the Grade 3 On­tario Derby.

The Com­mon­wealth Turf will be run un­der the lights as the 10th of 11 Satur­day races. First post is 1 p.m. East­ern, with the fea­ture go­ing at 5:35 and the last race at 6:06. On­track fans should know that the Vir­ginia-Louisville foot­ball game at nearby Papa John’s Car­di­nal Sta­dium kicks off at 3:30.

KEY CON­TENDERS

Mr. Mis­un­der­stood, by Ar­char­charch Last 3 Bey­ers: 89-89-88

◗ Cox has de­lib­er­ately picked out less-am­bi­tious spots for him be­cause “he’s a geld­ing, and hope­fully we’ll have plenty of op­por­tu­nity later on if he proves he be­longs in the big­ger races.”

My Bar­i­ley, by Mizzen Mast Last 3 Bey­ers: 82-79-81

◗ Sixth at 25-1 in the Jef­fer­son Cup, his two sur­round­ing races were a solid run­ner-up fin­ish in the Mys­tic Lake Derby and that last-out score in the Hawthorne Derby.

Par­lor, by Lonhro Last 3 Bey­ers: 82-85-87

◗ Long re­garded as a stakes-wor­thy grass per­former, this colt has a late kick that would be well-served here by Leparoux’s shrewd tim­ing.

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