09/21/2016 5:39PM

American Patriot, Isotherm top Commonwealth Derby field

Hoofprints, Inc.
American Patriot, winner of the Kent Stakes, will be among the favorites in Saturday's Grade 2 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel Park.

It’s getting late in the season for age-restricted racing, and there are plenty of horsemen willing to take their chance Saturday at Laurel Park in the Commonwealth Derby for 3-year-olds and the Commonwealth Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

A field of 10, headed by American Patriot and Isotherm, was entered Wednesday in the Grade 2, $200,000 Commonwealth Derby over 1 1/8 miles on grass. Eleven fillies were entered in the $150,000 Oaks over the same trip, with the Chad Brown-trained Noble Beauty the possible favorite in a competitive-looking group.

The card includes a third graded turf stakes, the Grade 2, $200,000 Commonwealth Cup for older milers. This race, especially appealing from a wagering standpoint, drew 12 entrants, with the most accomplished horse, Force the Pass, marooned in post 12. Just inside him in post 11 is March, who also figures among the shorter-priced entrants along with Blacktype and Reporting Star.

:: COMMONWEALTH DERBY: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

The Oaks, race 5 (post time 3:10 p.m. Eastern) starts the string of graded races, which will be run consecutively. The 11-race card begins at 1:10 p.m. and includes five $60,000 stakes for Virginia-breds. The major races on the program were held at Colonial Downs in Virginia before live racing there ceased, and the major races Saturday are “presented by” the Virginia Equine Alliance at Laurel Park.

The Laurel turf course, which can become speed-favoring this time of year, should be firm and fast with the forecast throughout the week calling for sun and a high temperature in the 80s.

American Patriot, trained by Todd Pletcher, will have Trevor McCarthy in the irons for the first time. Winner of the Kent Stakes two starts back, he drew post 2 and will be formidable Saturday off a close third in the Grade 1 Secretariat, a race in which American Patriot endured a claustrophobic trip nearly from start to finish. Isotherm, who breaks from post 10, races on Lasix for the first time. He finished third Sept. 3 at Saratoga in the Grade 3 Saranac.

Noble Beauty was beaten a nose last out in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington but was placed first via the disqualification of Try Your Luck, who came back to win impressively at Kentucky Downs. Noble Beauty breaks from post 5 on Saturday with Feargal Lynch named to ride. Brown trains a second starter in the Oaks, rail-drawn Pricedtoperfection. Stella Rose (post 9) and Involuntary (post 10) also should draw ample support from bettors.