Despite not getting an ideal trip, Mr. Commons showed his class in the final furlong of the $150,000 Arcadia S. (G2) to give the 4-year-old son of Artie Schiller his second straight stakes victory and a win in his first start of 2012. Artie Schiller is a top-10 third-crop sire, continuing his momentum of 2011, when he finished eighth on the second-crop sire list.
Mr. Commons came into the Arcadia off a 3 1/4-length win in the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort (G2), which set him up as the 2-5 favorite for Saturday. Settling near the back of the seven horse field, the bay colt moved off the rail going into the second turn and was sitting behind a wall of horses coming into the stretch. When his jockey Mike Smith saw an opening on the inside, Mr. Commons moved through with authority to surge to the front. At the wire, Mr. Commons was a length in front and got the one mile on the turf in 1:33.41.
“He’s just incredible. He makes me feel like a kid again,” said Smith. “When I ride him he gives me a whole lot of guts because I believe in him so much. I know that he’s going to go anywhere I ask him to go, and he does it with extreme acceleration. He just makes my job really easy.”
Trainer John Shirreffs had an eye on the future after the win. “We’re hoping (that he runs in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita in Nov.). Last year he was a little immature and had a little trouble in the race (finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) in Nov.). Now he’s handling tight spots very well. There’s so much difference between him now and when he ran in the Santa Anita Derby (G1, last year), you cannot imagine. Totally different. Experience is a great teacher.”
Mr. Commons is owned and bred by Ian Banwell of Versailles, Ky., who races as St. George Farm Racing, LLC. With the $90,000 payday, Mr. Commons has now earned $563,660 and is 5-2-1 in 11 career outings.