09/17/2008 12:00AM

Commentator the big gun in Mass Cap


By winning the Whitney Handicap in July, Commentator secured his spot in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic next month at Santa Anita if his connections so desire. But before thinking about that, owner Tracy Farmer and trainer Nick Zito are focused on Saturday's $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap, a race in which Commentator will be heavily favored against six opponents.

Commentator, a two-time winner of the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga, is the only graded stakes winner in the field set to run 1 1/8 miles in the 66th renewal of the Mass Cap at Suffolk Downs. As part of the Win and You're In initiative, the winner of the Mass Cap earns an automatic spot into the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25. Commentator already earned a berth in that race by winning the Whitney at Saratoga on July 26.

"We haven't really ruled anything out or in," Farmer said. "We'll take it one race at a time."

Commentator, a 7-year-old New York-bred son of Distorted Humor, drew post 2 and was installed as the 3-5 morning-line favorite for the Mass Cap. The discrepancy in accomplishments among the field is evident by the fact Commentator was assigned 122 pounds, while his six rivals carry either 112 or 110.

Commentator won the Whitney by 4 3/4 lengths and in the process earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 120, the highest by any horse in training this year. The next highest is 119, also earned by Commentator in winning an allowance race at Gulfstream to begin his 2008 campaign.

Since the Whitney, Commentator has been training steadily at Saratoga, where last Friday he worked four furlongs in 47.80 seconds.

"I would say at this time he feels the best, looks the best, and has worked the best of his entire career," Farmer said.

The royally-bred Dr. Pleasure looms the main threat to Commentator. He is coming off a first-level allowance win at Saratoga, his first start since having throat surgery. He is the first foal out of the champion mare Beautiful Pleasure.

The New Jersey-bred Cuba has won 11 of 37 starts, mostly against New Jersey-breds. Beck and Call, Won Awesome Dude, Volcanic Force, and Riversrunrylee complete the field.

The Mass Cap is race 10 on an 11-race card that will begin at 12:45 p.m. The card also includes the $100,000 James B. Moseley at six furlongs. Either half of trainer Tony Dutrow's uncoupled entry of Suave Jazz and Cavallo Pazzo figures to go favored.

$500,000 Massachusetts Handicap

Post Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 Beck and Call James Taglianetti Tammi Piermarini 20-1
2 Commentator Nick Zito John Velazquez 3-5
3 Won Awesome Dude Dalton Nedrick Casey Lambert 8-1
4 Cuba Bobby Dibona Pedro Cotto Jr. 6-1
5 Volcanic Force Osvaldo Rivera Clifford Dooley 20-1
6 Dr. Pleasure John T. Ward Jr. Cornelio Velasquez 7-2
7 Riversrunrylee Juan Camilo Pedro Gonzalez 15-1

Track odds