10/08/2012 9:23PM

Hastings: Commander handles the pressure in Premiers; Breeders’ Cup Marathon up next


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – In what turned into a match race at the quarter pole, Commander  held off Jebrica to win the Grade 3, $100,000 B.C. Premiers at Hastings on Monday. Commander, who was winning his sixth straight stakes, was sent off as the overwhelming favorite and paid $2.90.

With Mario Gutierrez aboard, Commander was under pressure from Northern Causeway while posting sprint-like fractional times of 23.84 seconds, 46.50, and 1:11.53 in the 1 3/8-mile feature for 3-year-olds and up. After disposing of Northern Causeway following a mile in 1:37.35,

Commander wasn’t allowed a breather as Jebrica, with Russell Baze aboard, immediately took up the chase. They hooked up at the quarter pole and, despite dueling through the quick fractions, Commander was able to hang on to win by a head. It was another 13 1/4 lengths back to Northern Causeway who finished third.

The final time was 2:16.92.

“I thought we were in trouble right from the start,” a relieved Gutierrez said. “I tried to slow him down, but he was pretty eager. He showed a lot of class by being able to hold on and win.”

Trained by Troy Taylor and owned by Glen Todd, Commander could make his next start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

“If he comes out of the race in good shape, we’re heading to Santa Anita,” Todd said.