05/15/2005 11:00PM

Golden Commander sets course mark


Perhaps now trainer Phil Serpe won't have to hear how much Golden Commander doesn't like Belmont Park. After losing his first eight starts here, Golden Commander set an inner turf course record Sunday, when he won the $113,100 Kingston Handicap for New York breds by four lengths.

After stalking the pace from the inside for about seven furlongs, jockey Edgar Prado guided Golden Commander off the rail turning for home and the 5-year-old Deputy Commander gelding exploded through the stretch. He covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.35, eclipsing Artie Schiller's mark of 1:45.50 set last Sept. 26. Golden Commander returned $13.60 as the fourth choice in the field of 10.

Sicilian Boy was second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Save the Profit. Pa Pa Da, the 7-2 favorite who beat Golden Commander at Aqueduct last month, finished ninth.

"When he's right he runs huge races,'' said Serpe, who trains Golden Commander. "He gives you like five good starts a year and you got to make good use of them. When he's done, he's done."

Serpe said he may try Golden Commander in open company and would like to run him once more before the Saratoga meet. Golden Commander won the West Point Handicap last summer at Saratoga.

Prado rode three winners on Sunday's card and has 13 at Belmont since returning from Kentucky on May 8.