10/14/2013 7:50PM

Hastings: Commander repeats in Premiers


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Commander won the Grade 3, $100,000 Premiers for the second straight year Monday at Hastings.

With Aaron Gryder aboard, Commander broke on top and cruised through moderate fractions in the 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. He got the first half-mile in a leisurely 48.26 seconds, and Gryder had him comfortably in front after six furlongs in 1:13.73. He took a one-length lead over Title Contender into the stretch and never looked threatened while increasing his margin to 1 1/4 lengths.

British Columbia Derby winner Title Contender was sent off as a slight favorite over Commander. He sat in second the whole way and couldn’t make an impact when Rico Walcott asked him to take a run at Commander on the stretch turn. Wilo Kat finished a distant third.

“He’s a big horse with a long stride, and if you can keep him happy early, he’ll make you happy later,” Gryder said.

Commander is trained by Troy Taylor and owned by Glen Todd who races under the stable name of North American Thoroughbred Horse Co.  He paid $5.80 to win.

The final time was 2:16.15.

A nice crowd turned out for a beautiful fall afternoon, which was the final day of the 2013 Hastings meet.