06/28/2012 3:03PM

Hollywood Park: Mr. Commons should get pace help in Shoemaker Mile

Shigeki Kikkawa
Mr. Commons should get a lively pace to chase in Saturday's Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Mr. Commons and Little Mike are set in their ways.

Mr. Commons is a closer, reliant on a quick pace to help his chances in the stretch of one-mile turf races. Little Mike races from the front and is dangerous with that style.

They will play their customary roles when they meet for the first time in Saturday’s $300,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park. Mr. Commons, the expected favorite, will be seeking his first stakes win since the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes at Santa Anita in February.

Little Mike, making his California debut, can win his third stakes of the year.

The Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile has significant importance for the turf mile division. The winner receives a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge program, provided the winner is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup.

Mr. Commons, owned by Ian Banwell, was fifth in the BC Mile at Churchill Downs last fall. A victory Saturday is part of the buildup to that race.

[HOLLYWOOD PARK: Get PPs and watch Saturday’s full card live]

Trainer John Shirreffs said two recent losses by Mr. Commons – runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 3, by a neck, and the Grade 2 American Handicap here May 26, by 1 1/4 lengths – have not affected his opinion of the 4-year-old colt.

“I haven’t lost any faith,” Shirreffs said. “When they finish so close, you know he will get there sometime.”

The faster Little Mike goes on the front, perhaps facing pressure from the 7-year-old gelding Liberian Freighter, the more it helps Mr. Commons’s chances.

“That’s a lot of speed,” Shirreffs said of the race scenario.

“He’s been such a nice horse and so honest all along. He acts like he’s a little sharper for this race.”

Little Mike, owned by Priscilla Vaccarezza and trained by Dale Romans, won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 5, his first win at that level. A 5-year-old gelding, Little Mike has won five stakes.

Romans said that Little Mike’s style is a major asset.

“He’s a rare horse that has speed and endurance,” he said.

Aside from Little Mike and Mr. Commons, the Shoemaker Mile has drawn a strong field.

There is one other shipper from the East Coast in Corporate Jungle, winner of turf stakes at Gulfstream Park (Grade 3 Appleton Stakes) and Monmouth Park (Elkwood Stakes) earlier this year.

Suggestive Boy, winner of four Group 1 races in Argentina in 2011, makes his American debut for trainer Ron McAnally. A 4-year-old colt by the Storm Cat sire Easing Along, Suggestive Boy’s 2011 stakes wins came at distances from seven furlongs to about 1 1/4 miles on turf.

The field of eight also includes the first two finishers of the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile – Hudson Landing and Jeranimo. Jeranimo has shown an affinity for the Hollywood Park turf course, having won the Grade 2 Citation Handicap last fall.

Steve Hanna More than 1 year ago
For the last few days it has been impossible to catch front runners on Hollywood turf course, does not bode well for Mr. Common. Little Mike will have a course that plays to his running style. Thought Corporate Jungle should be in right spot if speed backs up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Corporate Jungle! Little Mike isn't getting the credit he deseves for his last win. I'd like the Argentine horse if it wasn't his first start in 7 months.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Joe Talamo is a total disaster on turf. A huge discrepancy in a jockey's winning percentage on turf and the main track is the best statistics to spot the overrated jockey (usually means very little riding skills, this kind of riders win mainly because they get speed horses). Suggestive Boy is a complete throw-out. There is no way Talamo can get him to beat Little Mike, Corporate Jungle, Mr. Commons and Jeranimo all at the same time.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
There's no way to get around the fact that in open(unrestricted) company, Mr. Commons is 1 for 6. And in all grade 1 races he is 0 for 4. HMr. Commons is a very good horse, and maybe he can become something more. But if you actually evaluate him on what he's done, it's hard to see him competing with the world elite, and it's hard to rank him North America's #1 turf miler. The Shoemaker is a very important race for Mr. Commons. He really needs a grade 1 on his resume. And he needs a big performance to reaffirm his connections' opinion that he truly is a world-class horse capable of winning a race like the BC Turf Mile. Mr. Commons already squandered a golden chance at grade 1 glory against moderate foes in the Kilroe when, despite having the length of the stretch, he couldn't catch the unheralded Willyconcker. The field for the Shoemaker is better than the Kilroe, but it will undoubtedly be softer than the field for the BC Turf Mile. And with the Del Mar Mile and Oak Tree Mile grade 2s, unless they wheel him back in 3 weeks for the grade 1 Eddie Read at 9 furlongs(and against Acclamation), the Shoemaker just might be the last legit chance this year for Mr. Commons to get that grade 1.
Perl More than 1 year ago
There are some interesting outsiders in this spot. The McAnally horse is supposed to be legit, though who knows about these South American shippers. The Chad Brown horse looks like he could be evolving into a monster. Perfect set up here, second off a layoff and he won his comebacker without running too fast. He has been running well on hard-baked surfaces and it might be the last time to get a square price on him.
Keith Strouhal More than 1 year ago
Mr. Commons = overrated
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
you got that right. Sadler is overrated too.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Talamo on turf = disaster
Chris Szabo More than 1 year ago
Mr. Commons is one of those many horses that fit into the "exotics only" category. I used to have high hopes for this boy, detecting loads of potential and talent just waiting to be discovered and harnessed. However, after backing this horse several times and studying why he failed to win or even get 2nd on those occasions I wagered with him as a key horse, the rational bettor has no little choice but to cut loose of such emotional attachments and use him as an exotics horse. If he shows up, great. If not, that's fine too. He'll put in some sort of effort, he can be counted on for that, but it would be foolish to expect him to suddenly now become that marvellous creature on whom you can rely for more.
Dean More than 1 year ago
He is the best turf miler out east and will win for fun. Smith has been overconfident or has had him little to far back in paceless races..He has more tactical speed then he has shown of late and will win for fun! SINGLE!!!!
Dean More than 1 year ago
meant west
Joe Tartaglia More than 1 year ago
No, you were right, Little Mike is the best horse in the East and will win for fun.
Joe Tartaglia More than 1 year ago
best miler in the East.
ECarlos727 More than 1 year ago
Sorry guys to burst bubbles but east coast shipper horse with east coast shipper jock means the west coast guys are going to set the race up for Smith. Anyone with west coast connections will try to ruin little mikes run. Commons wins by at least a length. Let me know who wants action????
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Little Mike runs even better when pushed in the early stages. Quality speed horses on turf always clean up out west. Even an above average filly like Summer Soiree came and won a prestigious G1 quite stylishly.