11/16/2013 8:20PM

Churchill Downs: River Seven proves last big figure no fluke by taking Commonwealth

Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
River Seven, with Shaun Bridgmohan riding, captures the Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – River Seven had run a 105 Beyer Speed Figure in his last race over his home turf course at Woodbine, something of an outlier in an 11-race career.

But that number was validated Saturday night when River Seven, the 5-2 favorite in a field of 12 3-year-olds, got a textbook ride from Shaun Bridgmohan in capturing the Grade 3, $115,400 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs for the Tucci Stables.

Frac Daddy, prominent throughout after breaking sharply from the outside post, finished a game second, a half-length behind the winner and another length before 25-1 shot Kaigun in the 1 1/16-mile race. Moro Tap rallied from well back for fourth.

River Seven returned $7.40 after finishing in 1:44.11 over a course rated good.

Trainer Nick Gonzalez, a Woodbine mainstay who had never run a horse at Churchill, was thrilled with the victory.

“I’ve been here twice before for the Breeders’ Cup, but only as a fan,” said Gonzalez. “As a trainer, to win a stakes race at such a prestigious place as this … I’m very happy.”

Under the lights on the lone Downs After Dark card of the Churchill fall meet, Frac Daddy chased Ruler of Love to the head of the stretch, where he seized the lead after straightening away. But River Seven, always in prime position while saving ground from just behind the front-runners, never had to break stride when finding a seam, and he finally ran down Frac Daddy after being tipped just to his outside.

“Shaun said he was pretty confident the whole way,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said River Seven will be part of his 12-horse string at Gulfstream Park in Florida this winter. An Ontario-bred gelding by Johannesburg, he now has won 3 of 12 starts, with all of his wins coming in stakes: the Grade 3 Grey in his final start at 2, and the ungraded Labeeb last month, when he earned that gaudy 105 Beyer in a 10-length score.

“He’s run well over synthetics and turf, but actually I wouldn’t mind trying him on the dirt this winter,” said Gonzalez.

The $2 exacta (4-12) paid $46.80; the $1 trifecta (4-12-9) returned $227.80; and the 10-cent superfecta (4-12-9-5) was worth $253.18.