Hot Springs Could Be A Hot Commodity in Churchill Downs’ G3 Commonwealth Turf This Saturday

(Hot Springs winning the Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Woodford Racing’s Jefferson Cup winner Hot Springs tops a competitive field of seven 3-year-olds that were entered for Saturday’s 15th running of the $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

The Commonwealth, run at 1 1/16 on the Matt Winn Turf Course, is carded as Race 10 with a post time of 5:36 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post on Saturday is 1 p.m.

Hot Springs, a Kentucky-bred son of Uncle Mo, is perfect on the Matt Winn Turf Course with three victories to his résumé, which includes a 4 ¼-length maiden-breaking score on June 9 and a 1 ½-length allowance win on June 29 prior to his one-length win in the $100,000 Jefferson Cup on Sept. 29.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s go-to rider Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount on Hot Springs and will break from post position No. 7.

Among Hot Spring’s main Commonwealth Turf competitors is Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Mystic Lake Derby winner Sniper Kitten for trainer Mike Maker. The son of Ramsey’s prized stallion Kitten’s Joy has three wins through six lifetime starts including his lone stakes victory in the one-mile Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury on June 29. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Sniper Kitten and drew post 3.

Also entered in the Commonwealth Turf is Live Oak Plantation’s ultra-consistent March to the Arch for trainer Mark Casse and jockey Julien Leparoux. March to the Arch, who sports a record of 9-3-2-1—$196,374, won Woodbine’s Toronto Cup by 1 ¾ lengths in July. The gelded-son of Arch was most recently fourth in the Hill Prince (GII) at Belmont on Oct. 6. March to the Arch drew post 4.

The complete Commonwealth Turf field from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Reride(Florent Geroux, Asmussen); Marzo (Albin Jiminez, Ben Colebrook); Sniper Kitten (Gaffalione, Maker); March to the Arch (Leparoux, Casse); Year of the Kitten (Corey Lanerie, Maker); Zero Gravity (Adam Beschizza, Joe Sharp); and Hot Springs (Santana, Asmussen).

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

More From The Pressbox Staff