08/22/2012 4:01PM

Del Mar: Mr. Commons, Tale of a Champion on different paths heading into Del Mar Mile

Coady Photography
Tale of a Champion will be making his graded stakes and California debut in Sunday’s Grade 2 Del Mar Mile.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The 4-year-old colts Mr. Commons and Tale of a Champion meet for the first time in Sunday’s $200,000 Del Mar Mile on turf, a race that may determine how aggressively they will be campaigned this fall.

The colts will arrive at the start of the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on different career paths.

Mr. Commons has a dented reputation – a multiple stakes winner who has lost his last three starts. Tale of a Champion makes his graded stakes debut, and first start in California, after winning four of his first five starts at Calder.

Mr. Commons, fifth in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs, is being pointed to the same race this year, at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. He has not shown his best form in recent starts. After runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile in March and Grade 2 American Handicap in May, Mr. Commons was fourth behind Del Mar Mile entrant Jeranimo in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 30.

The losing streak has not diminished trainer John Shirreffs’s enthusiasm for the colt, but has led to changes.

“We’ll add blinkers and change things up a bit,” Shirreffs said.

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Owned by Ian Banwell of Charlotte, N.C., Mr. Commons will have a different rider Sunday. With regular jockey Mike Smith at Saratoga, Brice Blanc will have the mount. Blanc will ride a colt best as a closer and reliant on a quick pace. “I think the horse is very talented,” Shirreffs said. “One of these days, everything will align for him.”

Tale of a Champion was purchased by Rustin and Juliana Kretz after winning the Calder Turf Sprint on July 7. He arrived at trainer Kristin Mulhall’s stable earlier this month and has had three works at Del Mar, including three furlongs in 35.40 on Wednesday.

“I blew him out this morning, and he couldn’t go any slower,” Mulhall said.

At Calder, Tale of a Champion won three races around two turns and won the five-furlong Turf Sprint in his first start around one turn.

“He’d never run one turn, and he went out and won the stakes,” Mulhall said. “He’s pretty versatile.”

The long-term goal is the BC Turf Sprint over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, Mulhall said. A big result in the Del Mar Mile against runners such as Jeramino and Mr. Commons could solidify those plans.

Del Mar plans bigger weekend cards

Del Mar plans to have a 10-race program on Saturday, and an 11-race program for the Pacific Classic on Sunday. First post time on Sunday is 1 p.m.

Aside from the Pacific Classic and Del Mar Mile, Sunday’s program also includes the $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes over seven furlongs. Camp Victory, the winner of the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park in June, is a leading contender.

Saturday’s program is led by the $200,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1  3/8 miles on turf. Dhaamer, a two-time stakes winner at Hollywood Park, is likely to go favored.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman

Jordan More than 1 year ago
I think Mr. Commons needs to be more forwardly placed, and I hope that's what the blinkers are for. Because even if the pace scenario is perfect, I don't see him outkicking Jeranimo most races. The way he beats Jeranimo is to get the jump on him; when Jeranimo is on, he simply has a much more explosive kick. Jeranimo is the best turf miler in California right now, and he's been one of the best for about 3 years. The knock on Jeranimo is that he struggles to pair up winning efforts. A lot of the times he is compromised by pace or questionable rides. He has a versatile style, winning as a stalker and as a deep closer, but he has also found ways to get beat multiple ways, like running on the lead in this year's San Gabriel, or being way too far behind a slow pace in the San Fran Mile or last year's Kilroe Mile and Arcadia Stakes. We'll see if a new shooter can make a dent in the Jeranimo-Mr. Commons stanglehold over the turf mile division out here. With Shoemaker Mile runner-up Suggestive Boy and 3rd place runner Little Mike going on to bigger things(both in terms of purse money and distance), Jeranimo and Mr. Commons are the clear leaders in this division out West, like they were heading into last year's Breeder's Cup.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
Jordan wrote a comment longer than gone with the wind and war and peace describing a bad horse...blinkers wont move him up just like blinkers wont move up a plodder who has no inherhent speed,, if blinkers were the answer,, then why didnt they use them long before this?
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Insightful analysis, Jordan. Keep on posting. Much more informative than the usual negative comments, particularly trainer and jockey bashing, that we are "treated" to here.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
mr.commons is named right,, a common horse at best and a true hanger and one run artist who never gets there,,,
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Yes, Mr. Very Common.