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.
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.