Despite what the odds may indicate, the 2016 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel Park this weekend is a wide open contest. The chosen favorite is Force the Pass, a Speighstown colt who is 4-4-2 in 12 starts with $1.2 million in career earnings. The safest play with this 3/1 option is to take a place bet, as he’s still searching for his first victory. He was last out finishing 5th at the Fourstardave.
The curious sleeper in the bunch is Blacktype, who has matured in to a reliable five-year old gelding. Beginning the year with a 5th place finish at the Fort Marcy in May, Blacktype has since shown well in a pair of allowances before winning the Oceanport. Trained by Christopher Clemente, this dark horse is getting noticed by the oddsmakers in the Pennsylvania Derby as the second choice and should absolutely grab your attention as well.
The spaces behind Blacktype are filled with some reasonable outside shots. Chad Brown’s March is a big dubious as a 5/1 third choice after debuting this year with a 3rd place finish at an allowance. The rest for the now four-year old colt was needed after a busy season in 2015 saw him earn wins at the Woody Stephens and the Bayshore. I’m not sure what he’s capable of because nobody really is. So much time off can either lead to a fresh start, or some rust.
Flatlined is coming in after a 6th place finish at the Wise Dan, while Macagone is one of the few coming off a victory in their last outing having won an allowance. The inside post at the Pennsylvania Derby will be occupied by Farhaan, who isn’t worth touching at 6/1 despite the quality of the field. He last placed 4th at the Bernard Baruch Handicap.
Reporting Star is getting some undue attention as a 15/1 longshot in the Commonwealth Derby. After placing 2nd at the Sunshine Millions and topping the Appleton, the Merribelle Stables product has gone 8th, 6th and 6th in his last three races. He shares the same odds as Mister Brightside, and is just a few notches above El Jefe Grande, Top of Mind and Heiko who have the longest odds on the board for this one.
My money is on Blacktype for the win, paired with Phlash Phelps who is listed at 12/1. The latter is a homegrown talent who has run extremely well at Laurel Park and won his last two races.
2016 Commonwealth Derby – Saturday, September 24th at Laurel Park (3:40pm EST)
1 Mile Turf — 3+ Year Olds — $200,000
|1||Farhaan (KY)||Feargal Lynch||118||Carlos F. Martin||6/1|
|2||Heiko (KY)||Edwin Gonzalez||118||Dimitrios K. Synnefias||30/1|
|3||Mister Brightside (IRE)||Sheldon Russell||118||Niall Saville||15/1|
|4||Top of Mind (KY)||Daniel Centeno||118||Rodney Jenkins||20/1|
|5||Macagone (NY)||Forest Boyce||118||Michelle Nihei||8/1|
|6||Flatlined (KY)||Miguel Mena||120||Charles L. Dickey||12/1|
|7||Blacktype (FR)||Trevor McCarthy||120||Christophe Clement||4/1|
|8||El Jefe Grande (KY)||Jevian Toledo||118||Niall Saville||20/1|
|9||Reporting Star (FL)||Angel Cruz||122||Elizabeth Voss||15/1|
|10||Phlash Phelps (MD)||Victor R. Carrasco||118||Rodney Jenkins||12/1|
|11||March (KY)||Manuel Franco||118||Chad C. Brown||5/1|
|12||Force the Pass (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||118||Alan E. Goldberg||3/1|