11/12/2016 6:25PM

Hay Dakota pays $60.20 for surprise win in Commonwealth Turf

Coady Photography
Hay Dakota gives 22-year-old jockey Danny Velazquez and trainer Joel Berndt their first graded stakes victory in the Commonwealth Turf.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hay Dakota wheeled out into the middle of the Churchill Downs turf course and went on to a 29-1 upset Saturday in the 13th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Commonwealth Turf.

Ridden by Denny Velazquez and trained by Joel Berndt, Hay Dakota rallied outside of Bondurant, the 3-1 favorite in a field of 11 3-year-olds, to prevail by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile race. The Chicago shipper returned $60.20 after finishing in 1:43.60 over firm going.

For horse, trainer, and jockey, it was their first graded stakes victory.

“It’s one of those boxes I’ve wanted to check,” said Berndt, who has trained since 1991 and oversees a medium-sized stable that competes in Chicago and Minnesota.

Hay Dakota lagged back until the field straightened for home. Both he and Bondurant angled out to launch big runs leaving the quarter pole, with Hay Dakota proving narrowly best when farthest outside. Scholar Athlete, the leader for much of the way, finished another half-length back in third.

“I wanted to wait to make my move, and it worked out,” said Velazquez, a 22-year-old Oklahoma native who will ride regularly at the upcoming Fair Grounds meet.

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Hay Dakota, a Kentucky-bred by Haynesfield, came to hand during the summer at Canterbury Park and was coming off a second-level allowance win last month over the Hawthorne turf. Berndt said the Dec. 3 Claiming Crown series at Gulfstream Park is the likely next start.

The $2 exacta (4-8) paid $296.20, the $1 trifecta (4-8-6) returned $825.30, and the 10-cent superfecta (4-8-6-1) was worth $968.59.

In earlier Saturday action:

December Seven ($3) lowered the track record for the infrequently run distance of 1 3/16 miles when easily winning a first-level allowance in 1:56.60 over a fast track. Corey Lanerie was aboard the 3-year-old December Seven for owner Jay Em Ess Stable and trainer Paul McGee.

Also, Curlins Vow ($12.60) won for the first time in seven career starts when edging away in a one-mile maiden race. The 3-year-old Curlins Vow is by Curlin out of Bella Jolie, which makes him a half-brother to the recently retired Runhappy.