Archive for May 18th, 2011

2011 Preakness Profile: Mr. Commons

John Shirreffs will always be best known as the trainer of Zenyatta but he has also captured the Kentucky Derby with Giacomo and has conditioned numerous other stakes winners including Bertrando, Harmonious, Life Is Sweet, and Tiago. This year, he will attempt to win the Preakness Stakes with late bloomer Mr. Commons.

John Shirreffs

Don't underestimate sharp trainer John Shirreffs in Preakness - photo by Eclipse sportswire

The Artie Schiller colt owns a solid grass pedigree and after a schooling run in his synthetic sprint bow he dusted promising Julio Canani trainee Akkadian in a downhill turf event at Santa Anita on January 15.

Mr. Commons moved to the Santa Anita main track in his first start versus winners and a victory in that flat mile affair was enough to earn him a shot in the Santa Anita Derby. He rallied from 6th to land the show in the latter event and was briefly considered for the Kentucky Derby but did not have the graded earnings to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

All of his workouts have occurred at his Hollywood Park home base and his last three seven furlong moves have been geared toward building his stamina. His future probably lies on turf and the 2011 Santa Anita Derby was not the strongest renewal but John Shirreffs is a patient trainer and realistically spots  his horses so it might be wise to use Mr. Commons on your Preakness tickets.

2011 Preakness Profile: Dance City

Todd Pletcher has a new shooter for the 2011 Preakness and his name is Dance City.

The 3-year-old son of City Zip probably gets much of his stamina from dam sire Pleasant Colony. He landed the place behind subsequent Wood Memorial runner-up Arthur’s Tale in his December bow at Aqueduct and proceeded to win two straight at Gulfstream Park over the winter, beating the likes of stablemate Cal Nation and Bowman’s Causeway.

Dance City shipped to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby and gamely finished 3rd after attending the pace throughout. He showed the ability to come again when passed by Cal Nation and Sway Away in his last pair and that tenacity should serve him well in Baltimore.

The Arkansas Derby has already produced Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro and Peter Pan winner Alternation and Dance City will try to add to the legacy of the Oaklawn Park showcase at Pimlico on Saturday.