04/13/2013 3:29PM

Keeneland: Handsome Mike takes Grade 3 Commonwealth

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Handsome Mike ended a five-race losing streak by winning the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The team that made history last May in Kentucky returned nearly a year later to wow another big crowd, this time taking the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes on the Blue Grass Stakes undercard Saturday at Keeneland.

Owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez – the same combination that won the 2012 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs with I’ll Have Another – were the winning connections when Handsome Mike got a terrific outside trip to capture the 27th running of the $175,000 Commonwealth Stakes.

Always prominent and in the clear after breaking from the outside post in a field of five older horses, Handsome Mike edged away from Gantry in the final furlong of the Commonwealth, winning by 1 1/4 lengths and breaking a five-race losing streak in the process. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt returned $9.40 as the fourth choice after finishing seven furlongs in 1:23.14 over Polytrack.

“It was a perfect trip,” Gutierrez said. “He broke really good. He was running comfortable the whole way. I waited as much as I could. He responded, and we got the win.”

Neither Reddam nor O’Neill was on hand.

Gantry, ridden by Richard Eramia, finished another 1 1/2 lengths in front of Candyman E. Completing the order of finish were Bind and Bernie the Maestro, the 2-1 favorite. Big Blue Spirit was an early scratch.

Handsome Mike, by Scat Daddy, had been unproductive since winning the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby last September, finishing no better than fourth in his five subsequent tries, all of them at a distance. He now has won 3 of 16 career starts and earned $880,530.

The $2 exacta (6-1) paid $38.40, the $1 trifecta (6-1-2) returned $58.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (6-1-2-3) was worth $13.37.