07/03/2006 12:00AM

Commander Buck takes Independence Handicap

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Bossier City, La - Commander Buck set a quick pace and stayed on well down the stretch to win Monday's $75,000 Independence Handicap at Louisiana Downs. The race, originally scheduled to be run at a mile and a sixteenth over the John Franks Turf Course, was moved to the main track following an intense rainstorm earlier in the program. Erroneous I D finished second, a length and a quarter behind the winner and five and a half-lengths in front of third place finisher Slade. Turf specialists Northern Scene, Tromp and Waupaca were scratched.

Commander Buck ($4.60) bounded clear early under Cody Bourque and set early fractions of :23.28 and :46.89. Under pressure from Slade into the far turn, the winner narrowly set a three quarter split of 1:10.95 before shaking loose turning for home. He then held the runner up safe in the waning strides and finished the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42.74 over a track labeled as wet fast.

The winner is trained by W. T. Howard for Lewis Matthews, Jr. and won for the fifth time in 21 starts and for the first time in stakes company. The 5-year-old Deputy Commander gelding has now bankrolled over $157,000.