02/19/2006 12:00AM

Esprit du Roi victorious in Dust Commander

Pat Lang
Esprit du Roi wins the $43,500 Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday.

Esprit du Roi, easily the longest shot in a scratch-laden field of six older horses, put away favored Storm Surge leaving the half-mile pole when bounding away to a 3 1/2-length victory Saturday in the $43,500 Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

A 7-year-old Chilean-bred, Esprit du Roi returned $44.20 after finishing one mile in 1:39.86 under Godofredo Laurente. King of Speed, the second-longest shot at 11-1, finished second, another 4 1/4 lengths before Storm Surge.

Esprit du Roi, the champion sprinter in Chile in the South American racing season that ended in June 2005, is owned and trained by Horacio Parisi. The gelding now has won 2 of 9 starts in North America.

The early scratches were Ask the Lord, G P Fleet, and Barnard Man.

The winner's trophy was presented by Mike Manganello, who rode Dust Commander to victory in the 1970 Kentucky Derby. Manganello won riding titles at Turfway (then Latonia) in 1964, 1969, and 1970.