Updated on 09/18/2011 12:03AM

Master Command all the way

Master Command wins the Grade 3, $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico.

BALTIMORE - The future outran the past Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 at Pimlico.

Even with nary a previous stakes victory, the up-and-coming Master Command was bet down to 13-10 favoritism in the Schaefer, which had the grizzled 6-year-old Funny Cide as the 8-5 second choice. Ridden by red-hot Garrett Gomez, Master Command turned back a sustained challenge from Andromeda's Hero for his first stakes victory. Funny Cide labored home a well-beaten third.

Master Command, a Pennsylvania-bred 4-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher, returned $4.60 after finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.42 over a fast track. Andromeda's Hero, ridden by Edgar Prado, finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Master Command. It was another 4 3/4 lengths to Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

Master Command took the early lead after breaking sharply from his rail post, then loped along on a solo lead through fractions of 23.80 and 47.63 seconds, before Andromeda's Hero looped up on the far turn to momentarily pull even with Master Command.

"When that happened, [Master Command] got real game," said Gomez.

Andromeda's Hero, said Prado, "made a big move and was game down the stretch, but we hooked a horse that had an answer."

Master Command, by A.P. Indy, has won 4 of 8 starts. He was coming off a fourth-place finish in his stakes debut, the April 8 Oaklawn Handicap.

Ginny DePasquale saddled Master Command for Pletcher, who was at Belmont Park to saddle Sunriver for a victory in the Peter Pan.

Play Bingo, Summer Book, and Water Cannon rounded out the Schaefer order of finish. Reckless Ways, one of the probable favorites, was an early scratch, leaving a field of six.