11/18/2010 12:48PM

Field Commission as good as new following throat surgery

Michael Burns
Trainer Danny Vella says his star sprinter Field Commission is much improved since undergoing minor throat surgery.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Field Commission and Fatal Bullet, the last two Canadian champion sprinters, will meet over six furlongs Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack in the $150,000 Kennedy Road Stakes.

Field Commission captured the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes last fall, before ending up second in the Grade 3 Kennedy Road, efforts that helped him to ice the Sovereign Award.

Field Commission was competitive in a host of stakes on turf and Polytrack during the first half of this year, without finding the mark. He got a break after trailing in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes on Aug. 29, and is coming off a victory in the allowance prep for the Kennedy Road.

Trainer Danny Vella said Field Commission’s performance in the Play the King was the worst of his career, and he had a valid excuse.

“We scoped him afterwards, and he was flipping his palate,” Vella said. “I noticed that he was running with his head cocked a little all year, but he was running well. We did throat surgery on him after that race, and it’s almost like he’s a new horse. He’s showing more speed, and is more willing to breeze in the morning. He’s training as good or better than he ever has.”

Fatal Bullet garnered the awards for 2008 champion sprinter and Canadian Horse of the Year on the strength of his solid record that included a runner-up placing in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Fatal Bullet is winless in five outings this year, but he earned a 107 Beyer Figure for finishing second to Hollywood Hit in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes in May. He ran third in each of his two most recent races on the grass, in the Nearctic and Play the King.

Trainer Reade Baker said he believes that Fatal Bullet can handle any surface, as long as it’s firm.

“He tries hard on anything he can get a hold of,” Baker explained. “He couldn’t get a hold of the deep, cuppy tracks at Saratoga and Belmont. I think he could run good over a hard dirt track.”

Fatal Bullet could set the pace in the Kennedy Road, with Paso Doble in close proximity. Paso Doble recently changed trainers, going from Sid Attard to Don MacRae.

The American Shipper Ravalo is coming off a fifth in the Grade 3 Woodford at Keeneland, from which Chamberlain Bridge exited to capture the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill.