Notes & Quotes From the G3 Commonwealth Turf: Mr Dumas

(Mr Dumas wins the G3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Mr Dumas ranged into contention on the final turn, grabbed the lead in the stretch and turned back a late challenge from 7-2 favorite Tracksmith to win Saturday’s 16th running of the $175,000 Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) at Churchill Downs by a half-length.

The victory gave jockey Joe Rocco Jr. his first graded stakes win in the last three years.

Joe Rocco Jr., jockey of MR DUMAS (winner): “This horse has really developed into a special horse. I was fortunate enough to get a really good trip and was able to tuck in behind the speed and it came back my way. He really has taken well to the turf and I think there are some bigger things down the road for him.”

John Ortiz, trainer of MR DUMAS (winner): “At the beginning of his career I thought he was a two-turn dirt horse. I was originally thinking a Kentucky Derby-type horse but then with the turf in his pedigree we tried him on the grass. When he ran at Kentucky Downs sprinting I never saw a horse with that fast of a closing kick. It’s been a very special journey so far and I’m very thankful for everyone involved.”

Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey of TRACKSMITH (runner-up): “He did everything right today except win. We sat in a great spot in the inside of the course with the better ground. I’m very proud of his effort and he was just second best to a nice horse.”

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

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