Updated on 09/17/2011 11:17AM

Crafty C.T. can justify reputation

Crafty C.T. goes for his second career stakes win in Sunday's $250,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - For a horse who has bankrolled nearly $765,000 and earned a glowing reputation in the process, it may come as a major surprise even to knowledgeable racing fans that Crafty C.T. owns a grand total of one lifetime stakes win.

Granted, except for the occasional dip into the allowance ranks, Crafty C.T. has kept extremely tough company, having campaigned primarily in Southern California for trainer Howie Zucker. In fact, Crafty C.T. was good enough to finish third, beaten just one length, in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last October.

Nonetheless, the stakes drought for Crafty C.T. has endured for more than two years now, with the 2001 San Rafael Stakes being his lone stakes score.

That streak could come to a screeching halt Sunday at Keeneland when Crafty C.T. faces six other older horses in the 17th running of the $250,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes.

Jerry Bailey will ride Crafty C.T. in the Grade 2 Commonwealth, which, at seven furlongs, seems ideally suited to the 5-year-old horse's stalking style. In his last start, also at seven furlongs, Crafty C.T. was a major factor to deep stretch before finishing second to Aldebaran in the Grade 1 San Carlos at Santa Anita.

On the strength of his overall record, Crafty C.T. figures as a solid favorite in the Commonwealth. But if he can't uphold the faith of his many fans, then the winner could come from any number of rivals. Perhaps the most notable of the opposition is Roman Dancer, a 4-year-old who last spring won the San Pedro and Bay Shore for trainer Chris Paasch before being sidelined by a minor injury.

Other logical contenders include Najran, whose most impressive career effort came here last fall in winning the Perryville Stakes, and Speed Hunter, whose runner-up finish in his last start at Fair Grounds enticed the services of Pat Day.

Rounding out the field are Smooth Jazz, Multiple Choice, and Binthebest.

The Commonwealth, which typically serves as a lead-in to the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap on the Kentucky Derby undercard, has been captured by a number of top sprinters since its 1987 inception. Orientate, the eventual Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, won the 2002 running over Aldebaran.

The $100,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes goes as the sixth race on an outstanding Sunday program. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.