08/17/2013 7:38PM

Northlands: Commander continues to roll along by taking Westerner

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Ryan Haynes
Aaron Gryder collects his second stakes win on Saturday's card in the Westerner Handicap aboard heavy favorite Commander.

Once again, Commander dominated his rivals at Northlands Park, this time scoring a convincing win in the $50,000 Westerner Handicap on Saturday. It was the 5-year-old Commander’s seventh win from eight starts at Northlands the past two years. Last year he won the Westerner by eight lengths.

Westerner ($4) also gave trainer Dennis Terry, jockey Aaron Gryder, and owner Glen Todd their second stakes win on the 13-race Canadian Derby card. Earlier, Gryder guided Saturday Nite Ride to a front-running win in the $75,000 City of Edmonton Distaff for fillies and mares.

Breaking sharply from the rail, Commander controlled the 1 1/16-mile race from start to finish. He held a four-length lead after six furlongs in 1:12.20 and never looked threatened while posting a 1 1/2-length decision over Senor Rojo. Toccetive rallied from last to finish third.

“For such a big horse he really handles the turns well here,” said Gryder. “He just loves doing what he’s doing.”

Saturday Nite Ride won the Distaff over a fast track but due to a severe thunder and lightning storm that included heavy rain, Commander accomplished his win over a track rated sloppy. He posted a final time of 1:44.