08/03/2013 5:55PM

Northlands: Commander takes control of Fred Jones Stakes


Heavily favored Commander scored a front-running win over Silver Baubles in the inaugural running of the $50,000 Fred Jones at Northlands Park on Saturday. 

With Aaron Gryder aboard, Commander ($3.50) broke sharply in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up and appeared very comfortable while posting fractions of 23.80 and 47.80 seconds for the first half-mile. He was in complete control of the race after six furlongs in 1:11.80 and never looked threatened while holding off Silver Baubles to win by 1 1/2  lengths.  Senor Rojo finished third.

The final time was 1:43.80.

“It was the first time I had a chance to ride him going long and he ran like I thought he would,” said Gryder. “He was just having fun out there. “

Trainer Dennis Terry, a former jockey, was a bit choked up following Commander’s impressive performance.

“Fred Jones put me on my first Canadian Derby winner (Western Morn) 51 years ago,” said Terry.

Terry also won the Canadian Derby as a trainer in 1989 with Haveigotadealforu.

Due to Commander’s overwhelming presence there was no show wagering in the five-horse field.

Terry and Gryder also teamed up to win the $50,000 Madamoiselle with Saturday Nite Ride on Friday night. Gryder put Saturday Nite Ride on the lead, and with her stablemate Awesome Plan running interference,  she never looked back while posting a two-length decision over Madeira Park in the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares. Awesome Plan held on to finish third.

Saturday Nite Ride paid $7.20 as the lukewarm favorite over Terlani, who finished fourth.

The final time was 1:45.40.